WA Ballet Artistic Director Ivan Cavallari is calling it quits at the end of 2012 after overseeing five highly successful seasons which have seen Australia’s oldest ballet company reach unprecedented artistic heights. In 2013 he will take up the position of Artistic Director with Ballet du Rhin in Alcase, France.
"Seeing the growth of the company over the past six years has given me enormous pride and artistic satisfaction," said the Italian-born dancer and choreographer, who has danced major roles with both the Teatro alla Scala and Stuttgart ballets.
Cavallari cited wanting to be nearer to family and friends, including his partner who in November 2010 underwent a bone marrow transplant in Germany, as a primary reason for the move.
"I will certainly miss the company and have valued my time in Perth and Australia, but you never know what life will throw at you, and you have to be in a position to respond," he said.
His announcement comes as the WA Ballet celebrates its 60th anniversary and the move into its new home, the $12 million WA Ballet Centre in the heritage-listed former Blind Institute in Whatley Crescent, Maylands.
"[The 60th anniversary] is a significant milestone for the company and provides us with a chance not only to reflect on the past but also to look forward to the future," Cavallari said.
"We are also happy to be moving the company into our new home in Maylands, a place which will allow the company to grow not only in size but continue to grow in stature."
WA Ballet chairman Bret Mattes said Cavallari's standing internationally and his wide network of creative artists, choreographers and associates had enabled the company to broaden its repertoire and challenge its dancers artistically and technically.
"He has championed young and emerging artists, as well as established Australian choreographers, which has ensured that WA Ballet has provided leadership in the creation of new Australian dance over the past five years, and has built a significant portfolio of works," Mattes said.
WA Ballet's 60th anniversary season begins with Ballet at the Quarry, which opens February. An international search for a new artistic director will commence over the following months.