Francois Klaus resigns from Queensland Ballet

In 51 years the Queensland Ballet has been led by only four artistic directors – Charles Lisner, Harry Haythorne, Harold Collins and Francois Klaus.

But now, there will be a fifth, with the announcement this week that Klaus has resigned.

He will remain at the helm for two and a half years, quitting in December 2013.

That’s a long farewell for all concerned, and particularly the 17 dancers (and six trainee dancers).

The announcement by the Queensland Ballet sent slightly mixed messages.

The chair of the company, Joan Sheldon, said it was time for the organisation to ‚Äúrejuvenate‚ÄĚ.

But she said that although “Mr Klaus’ decision was final”, he had “agreed to extend his contract until December 13, 2013, before departing to pursue his creative interests elsewhere”.

Professor Sheldon, former Deputy Premier and Treasurer of Queensland, said Klaus had made a ‚Äúremarkable‚ÄĚ contribution to the company and would leave behind a ‚Äútremendous legacy‚ÄĚ.

She then added that “all arts companies constantly need to rejuvenate in order to remain relevant for their audiences”.

Klaus, born in France, danced with the Geneva Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Munich Ballet and Hamburg Ballet before becoming artistic director of the of the Bern Theatre in 1991. He took up the position of artistic director of Queensland Ballet in 1998.

Klaus is a director/choreographer whose works dominate the company’s repertoire. This year, the rep includes three of his ballets, The Little Mermaid, Carmen and King Arthur and the Tales of Camelot.

In another farewell this week, the Australian Ballet has announced that Kirsty Martin will retire as a principal following her performance in The Merry Widow on 4 July.