Robert Curran to retire from the Australian Ballet

The Australian Ballet announced today that Robert Curran is to retire as a principal artist of the company.

Curran will perform for the last time during this month’s season of The Merry Widow at the Sydney Opera House. His final show (as Count Danilo) will be on 26 November.

A graduate of The Australian Ballet School, Robert Curran joined the Australian Ballet in 1996 and was promoted to principal artist in 2002. Last August, he appeared in Swan Lake as a guest artist with the Hong Kong Ballet.

Commenting on his retirement, Curran said: “There was never going to be a good time for me to leave such a special place, only a right time. The time has arrived and I am looking forward to extending myself in order to continue to contribute to the arts in Australia beyond my dancing on the stage”.

He has been studying for both a Bachelor of Business and for the vocational graduate certificate in elite ballet instruction with the Australian Ballet School.

With Andrew Killian, Laura Tong (of the Australian Ballet) and Lucas Jervies, he has also established Jack Productions, a project-based dance company in Melbourne.

Curran is in his mid-30s, an age that some would say is too young for retirement as a dancer. In the United States, especially in New York, many male dancers do not retire until they are closer to 40.

As you can see from this photograph, taken to promote the Australian Ballet’s 2012 season, he is posing as Prince Gremin in Onegin, not as the romantic, younger hero, Onegin himself.

The time comes when dancers anticipate not being cast as the lover or prince – as Romeo, for example, or Siegfried, and this time may come sooner in the Australian Ballet – a young company.

It’s sad that the Australian Ballet is losing a principal such as Curran who is well known as an excellent partner.

He is also blessed with an intellectual curiosity that should see him succeed in the next stage of his career.

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Lucinda Dunn and Robert Curran, Onegin - photo © Georges Antoni

Lucinda Dunn and Robert Curran as Prince Gremin, Onegin – photo © Georges Antoni