Queensland Ballet, the state's premier dance company, is one of only three full-time professional ballet companies in Australia and one that has toured regularly overseas to international acclaim.
Formed in 1960 by French born Charles Lisner OBE, who trained at the Sadlers Wells Ballet Company and was a member of the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, Queensland Ballet was initially known as the Lisner Ballet company before adopting its current name in 1962.
Under Charles's artistic direction the company grew into one of Australia's most highly regarded arts companies and distinguished itself by performing uniquely Australian dance and being the first ballet ensemble to tour regionally.
During the Lisner years Queensland Ballet's home was in the grand but now gutted Richard Gailey designed St Francis House and Symons Building, with a gorgeous ballet theatre, the Academy Theatre, ensconced in the back. For two generations of young Brisbane ballerinas, the concrete encased facade of George Symons suits symbolized a gateway to their dreams -the ballet school and company above - but today all that remains of the studios, theatre and suit factory is a hollow shell.
1974 saw the departure of Charles Lisner as artistic director and CEO and Harry Haythorne step in. By 1978 the Queensland Ballet had another artistic director, this time one of its founding members and Principal Dancer Harold Collins. He remained with the company furthering Charles's vision until 1997. It was during this time, in 1991, that Queensland Ballet moved to the Thomas Dixon Centre (a historical boot factory c1908), that it went on to share for some years with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Queensland Dance School of Excellence.
In 1998 the Company was lucky to secure another French born visionary François Klaus, who earned his stripes with European ballet companies as a principal dancer, teacher and choreographer. He has taken the company from strength to strength and seen it tour Europe, China and Japan with ballets such as the evocative strictly Brisbane ballet Cloudland.
With a cast of 25 full-time dancers, over 100 performances a year ranging from classics to contemporary, as well as ballets for family and children, Queensland Ballet is a world class company not to miss, be it on one of its regional tours or its Brisbane performance home at QPAC.