Nearly two years of lockdowns, trying to dance at home and multiple show cancellations on the brink of opening nights: the effects of Covid-19 pushed the Australian Ballet to the limit of its resilience.

Up until just a month ago, performances had been ruled out entirely until 2022 – very difficult news to process for anyone working in performing arts.

The surprise announcement of an end-of-2021 gala program in Sydney and Melbourne was met with excitement and relief – we’re back! Then it was straight to work, a diverse and demanding schedule of mixed repertoire curated by our artistic director David Hallberg.

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Being in the studio, both dancing and taking photographs, it’s been truly inspiring to see the determination and passion of the dancers and our rehearsal team. In between practice, it’s Pilates, gym maintenance, ice baths and, perhaps most importantly, breaks to refuel. Inevitable aches and pains of pushing ourselves to the limit are salved by the catharsis of dancing again with purpose, knowing that the stage, live orchestra and the energy of the audience await.

Beyond the studio, our medical team is keeping us healthy, and company management, administrators, production team and rapid testing staff have worked tirelessly to bring together all the moving parts together that contribute to our performances.

It’s been a remarkable effort across the whole organisation – one that’s brought us closer together, supporting each other through a tough work time, and further, a tough time in our personal lives, as we all navigate the existential challenges of a pandemic.

We are in a privileged position to have so much support in retuning to the stage, something we won’t be taking for granted. We hope audiences will enjoy what we have to offer, and that the dancing, music and storytelling, even if for a couple of hours, will be a tonic to the challenges of these past two years.

Christopher Rodgers-Wilson is a senior dancer at the Australian Ballet.

The dancers of The Australian Ballet return to the stage this month for the first of two special Celebration Gala seasons. They'll appear at the Sydney Opera House, Thurs 25 November – Fri 3 December, and then at Arts Centre Melbourne, Thurs 9 December – Sat 18 December. Buy tickets.

See more of Christopher Rodgers-Wilson’s photos here.

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