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Australian Ballet welcomes its first Aboriginal dancer

Features - Stage | World

Australian Ballet welcomes its first Aboriginal dancer

by Melissa Lesnie on October 5, 2012 (October 5, 2012) filed under Stage | World | Comment Now
Ella Havelka leaves Bangarra to join the national company in its 50th year.

At age 23, Ella Havelka has become the first Aboriginal dancer to join The Australian Ballet.

A descendant of the Wiradjuri people, Havelka graduated from the Australian Ballet School in 2007, joining Indigenous troupe Bangarra Dance Theatre the following year. 

“I feel very humbled and excited to be given this opportunity to return to the Ballet world with fresh eyes and new inspirations through my experiences since graduating from the Australian Ballet School," she said.

“Although I’m sad to be leaving Bangarra, a community I will always call family, I find comfort in knowing I will always carry their spirit with me on my journey and development as an artist," she added. 

Bangarra artistic director Stephen Page praised Havelka's "exceptional technique, strength and agility, her natural warmth and ability to connect with the audience. We know she will thrive with The Australian Ballet when she trades knee-pads for pointe shoes!"

The Australian Ballet's new recruit will perform her final shows with Bangarra Dance Theatre this week, before commencing rehearsals with the national company in November.

"I can only hope to inspire others within the Indigenous community to pursue their own dreams and passions," she said.