Daniel Gaudiello makes a no-fuss, no flowers exit from the Australian Ballet stage

Daniel Gaudiello gave his last performance with the Australian Ballet on 21 March in Melbourne.

When a principal artist leaves a company there’s usually a ritual farewell on stage.

At the curtain calls, photographers are ushered into the auditorium to capture the scene, the dancer has been interviewed beforehand for news stories in the media, the dancers of the company stand around the principal and applaud and flowers are presented.

None of these things happened on 21 March.

Three days later, the company announced his departure from the company to “focus on new artistic and personal pursuits”.

He won’t be going to London with the company in July to reprise his performance as the Prince in Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella. He won’t be dancing the role of the Prince in Swan Lake in the Australian Ballet’s season starting in Sydney on April 1.

And that’s sad. No chance to publicly show our gratitude for his performances with the company since 2004, especially those from 2010 when he was promoted to the rank of principal.

The quiet departure was, of course, his decision, the result I guess of much thought over many months if not a year or more and many discussions with his wife, the principal dancer, Lana Jones.

Gaudiello has not been front and centre stage in recent months but his less frequent appearances are likely to have been his call, or, at times, due to injury.

I wasn’t in Brisbane to see Cinderella earlier this year but I believe he danced twice in the short season there.

This month he danced in In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated in the triple bill, Vitesse.

In 2013 he was chosen by Alexei Ratmansky as the first cast prince in Cinderella, in 2014 he was a guest in the Queensland Ballet’s season of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet and in the same year, for the Australian Ballet, he was the first cast Solor in Stanton Welch’s production of La Bayadere.

Gaudiello was an accomplished actor as well as an outstanding dancer, with a charismatic presence on stage.

His departure means there are now five male principals in the Australian Ballet.

I would be surprised if the company’s artistic director, David McAllister, did not try to persuade Gaudiello to stay.

In the media release sent late on the 24th March, McAllister praised the dancer for his “indelible mark” on the company.

“It has been such a joy to watch Daniel grow from a young eager student to one of our company’s great leading men”, McAllister wrote.

“From having worked with many of the world’s greatest choreographers creating some of our most successful ballets to interpreting the major classical repertoire in his own unique way his performances have left an indelible mark on our company.

“While we will miss seeing him dancing on stage I am sure he will continue to explore his artistic talent in many new and exciting ways and I wish him every success in this new chapter of his career”.

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