WA Ballet targets growth trajectory

02/12/2021 - 21:30

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The West Australian Ballet has excelled during a turbulent period for the arts industry.

WA Ballet targets growth trajectory
WA Ballet performing Giselle earlier this year. Photo: Bradbury Photography

The West Australian Ballet has overcome the challenges of COVID-19 to grow its group of dancers for the first time in at least a decade and cement its financial sustainability.

It is this resilience during a time of hardship that has earned the state ballet company the Not For Profit/Charity of the Year award at the 2021 RISE Business Awards.

One of WA Ballet’s initial moves at the beginning of the pandemic was to retain its artists.

While performances were cancelled and many artists were left without work, dancers at the company adapted to training at home.

The company launched digital activities including, CoVid Lab and Genesis Online, to entertain audiences while keeping its dancers fit and ready to perform when shows could resume.

These activities and the establishment of a digital platform led the company to engage with more than 97,000 people in 2020.

The state ballet company attracted $1.4 million in private giving in the 2020 financial year, as 12 per cent increase from 2019.

More than 400 people donated the cost of their ticket for cancelled performances.

The company worked to secure its financial future by growing its endowment fund to surpass its goal of $7.75 million.

The fund was launched in November 2019 with a $500,000 donation from the Wright Burt Foundation and a commitment to match donations from others to the value of $2 million.

The financial strength it built through the endowment, increased philanthropic support and strong demand from audiences means the company’s leadership can strive for further growth in 2022.

For the first time in at least a decade, WA Ballet was able to expand its team of dancers by offering the seven people in its Young Artists program full-time positions, starting at the beginning of next year.

The company is hoping this expansion, and its growing performance and touring schedules, will help meet the audience demand for the artform, demand for which is currently strong.

Digital engagement would continue to be part of its community strategy, building on the platform it created during the pandemic.

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