The West

The WA Ballet today celebrates the biggest landmark in its 60-year history - a home of its own.

From cramped conditions at His Majesty's Theatre, the company has now moved into the $12 million heritage-listed State WA Ballet Centre in Maylands, which has been transformed to contain purpose-built studios, a ballet school, costume workshops and a cafe.

Although most of its performances will still be at His Majesty's, the revamped former Blind Institute building will house all aspects of dance, from performance, choreography and production design to an elite training school for aspiring dancers who otherwise would have to go interstate or overseas.

Outgoing WA Ballet artistic director Ivan Cavallari said the centre gave the ballet a physical body to its creative soul and allowed it to take its place among world-class ballet companies.

With tall windows and an exposed brick interior, the centre's main studio space is twice the size of the stage at His Majesty's and can seat 150 people for performances.

The centre is a major turning point for Australia's oldest ballet company. It was created as a result of funding partnerships between the Department of Culture and the Arts, Lotterywest, the private sector and the City of Bayswater, which bought the building and will lease it for a peppercorn rent.

Premier Colin Barnett, who will open the new facility, said it was an exciting period of growth for the ballet and its new home would be a "lasting asset for dance in WA".

City of Bayswater mayor Terence Kenyon said the centre, an integral part of the area's urban renewal project, would help forge stronger links with the community.

The West Australian

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