No fuss, no fanfare – yet – to mark Danny Radojevic’s departure from the Australian Ballet

Danilo Radojevic is to leave the Australian Ballet after 17 years on the ballet staff and close to 13 years as associate artistic director.

His association with the company goes back further than that, to 1975, when he became a dancer with the Australian Ballet aged about 17. Two years later he won a Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow and then left the company to join American Ballet Theatre as a soloist.

Radojevic is such a fixture of the Australian Ballet that it came as a surprise – but not a major surprise – to see his departure next August confirmed today in a report in The Australian. He will relocate from Melbourne to Sydney to be with his wife, Lucinda Dunn and their young children.

Dunn is retiring from the Australian Ballet next month and next year will become the artistic director of the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy in Sydney.

The departure of Radojevic is a significant moment in the history of the Australian Ballet, one that is deserving of a formal announcement and recognition of his many years of loyalty, not least the time when Ross Stretton wanted him to join the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden when Stretton became the artistic director there. The two men had worked together in New York and then in Australia from 1997, when Stretton asked Rodojevic to join the Australian Ballet staff.

Radojevic preferred to remain in Australia and was elevated to the role of associate artistic director in 2001, the year David McAllister became artistic director.

I asked the Australia Ballet today when the company would make a formal announcement of the planned departure of one of its most admired staff members.

A spokeswoman replied: “Danny did not want to make a fuss of his departure, and as such we will not be writing a formal press release. Danny would prefer not to be interviewed”.

Instead, both Dunn and McAllister spoke on his behalf in The Australian article. The report noted that Radojevic told McAllister of his decision to leave “early this year”.

Today’s article was written by Jane Albert, who, in 2012 wrote an article, also for The Australian, detailing Tanya Pearson’s life and her 50-year-old teaching career. That article mentioned that Mrs Pearson’s former pupils included Radojevic and Dunn.

After his retirement from the Australian Ballet, Radojevic will retain his links with the company as a guest teacher and repetiteur when the company is in Sydney. But it would be surprising if he does not take a role with his wife at the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy.

Radojevic deserves his new downtime with his family after all the years of commitment, but his departure leads to the question: Will he have a successor and if he does, what will the process be for the succession?

The Australian Ballet’s spokeswoman had no answer. She wrote: “As Danny doesn’t leave us until the second part of the year, that is yet to be worked out”.

August is only four months away so there are only three scenarios: a search is underway, someone has already been chosen from within the company, or there will be no new associate artistic director. It would be good on know the answer, especially as at least two months have gone by since the decision was made and presumably passed on to the board.

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