Proudly sponsored by multidisciplinary design practice Conrad Gargett and engineering firm Bligh Tanner, Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin hosted a special private studio experience as part of the Brisbane Open House After Dark events.
As Conrad Gargett’s Managing Director Lawrence Toaldo launched the event, he explained that the Brisbane Open House offers opportunities for private buildings to be opened to the public. “I am really excited to be here tonight.” … “If you’ve seen a performance of Li’s team at QPAC [Queensland Performing Arts Centre], then like me, you may wonder how the dancers can achieve the artistry that they do, so effortlessly. It all comes down to training. So tonight, we’ll get to see just how much effort is involved when they train.” … “Conrad Gargett and Queensland Ballet are great friends. And I would like to thank Li for his generosity in allowing us to take a sneak peek into what happens here.”
The dance rehearsal took place in Queensland Ballet’s Thomas Dixon Centre studios in West End in Brisbane. Cunxin highlighted, “Most people get a chance to watch performances on stage when everything is ready … but today’s experience is different. It is a ‘money can’t buy’ experience. The ‘theatre behind the scenes’. Here is where the magic starts.” “We don’t normally open up to the general public, that much, in fact very rarely. But we do for our special partners such as Conrad Gargett.”
The heritage-listed Thomas Dixon Centre was originally constructed as a shoe factory in 1908. It was purchased by the Queensland Government and was refurbished as a centre for dance and arts in 1991. It is presently being redeveloped as the home of Queensland Ballet.
Cunxin explained, “This whole building with the help of the wonderful work of Conrad Gargett, the Architects, is going to be totally transformed in two years’ time. So by around this time 2020 we hope, when you see this building again, it will be a complete different building. It will be a world-class building. I think it is going to be one of the best dance facilities in this region.”
The redevelopment will enable Queensland Ballet to accommodate a larger ensemble of dancers, expand dancer training programs and enhance community initiatives. Their visionary development strategy is strongly underpinned by their pillars of art, people, home and wellness.
Cunxin humbly shared, “This all started with a simple dream. And actually Conrad Gargett people are the start of that dream.” “When I came over here … I presented to them [the Ian Potter Foundation] a bold vision to transform this building.” “What a vision. What a dream.” … “We [Queensland Ballet] are not afraid by ambitions. We are truly excited about it. And partners such as Conrad Gargett has enabled us to dream even bigger, to become even bolder, more courageous.”
“So I think the future for this company [Queensland Ballet] is incredible. And not only in the last six years since I came on board. We are the fastest growing performing arts company in Australia, perhaps in this region. I can tell you by the time I leave here, we will be in a much stronger and better position. And establish a much stronger global brand name in the market,” stated Cunxin.
Queensland Ballet’s overarching vision is to deliver world-class productions, become a leader on the international stage and enrich lives through ballet. Since 2013 Conrad Gargett has been working with the company to help bring their vision to life.
Image credit: Conrad Gargett Pictured: Conrad Gargett’s Principal and Heritage Architect David Gole, Conrad Gargett’s Managing Director Lawrence Toaldo, Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin