INTRODUCTION TO THE SOCIETY BY THE PRESIDENT, JOSIE WOODGATE OAM
The 1960s was a decade of excitement for ballet and dance in Australia. Following the establishment of The Australian Ballet (1962) and The Australian Ballet School (1964), the Australian Ballet Society officially commenced its support of both organizations in February 1966 - and still continues 46 years later!
The late Dame Peggy Van Praagh, founding Artistic Director of the Company, and Dame Margaret Scott, founding Director of the School, needed financial and practical help. To meet those needs a group of ballet lovers from around Melbourne formed the Ballet Society and set about raising funds and initially providing the basic essentials such as washing machine and dryers. It also provided the first student scholarship to a young man named Graeme Murphy.
Since those early days the Ballet Society, encouraged by the support of the Directors and Staff of both the Company and the School, has donated directly over $4.60 million, has provided immeasurable hours of volunteer work and is responsible for the funding, staff and administration of The Dancers' Deli as a service to the students, dancers, support staff and other tenants of The Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre.
Donated funds have been used for a multitude of projects- from funding new works and supporting The Dancers Company, to financing dancers' exchange programmes and guest teachers, to assisting Education programmes and purchasing equipment, to providing student scholarships and supporting overseas study travel.
However, perhaps the most important result of the Ballet Society's work has been the engendering of the love of the art of ballet and the sense of being part of the 'family' of The Australian Ballet and School. Both the Company and the School are listed amongst the top dance organizations in the world and membership of the Ballet Society has assisted in its own special way to help them reach that level.
The Committee, Staff and Volunteers of The Australian Ballet Society are very proud of what it has accomplished since 1966 and look to the future with great positive anticipation. Our students and dancers meet new challenges with enthusiasm every day - and so does the Ballet Society!