Hello and goodbye at the Australian Ballet and Royal NZ Ballet

It’s that time of the year when companies announce the dancers who are joining and those who are leaving.

After a few years with limited changes at the Australian Ballet, the company has offered contracts to five graduates of the Australian Ballet School – Drew Hedditch, Corey Herbert, Emma McFarlane, Marcus Morelli and Simon Plant.

I don’t know if five dancers are leaving, but the principal, Olivia Bell, recently retired, the coryphée, Halaina Hills, is leaving to move to Hamburg with her partner, while the corps de ballet dancer, Jake Mangakahia is to quit the company due to his commitment to the Mormon religion, one that other members of his family have also embraced.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has also announced that five new dancers are joining the company and two are leaving.

The newcomers are Bryn Watkins (formerly with American Ballet Theatre), Lori Gilchrist (from Northern Ballet) Jiang Peng Fei (a graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance), and Alexander Idaszak (from the Queensland Ballet).

While she is snot mentioned in the RNZB media release, another joiner is reported to be Kirby Selchow, one of 20 graduates of the Australian Ballet School.

Also joining RNZB is Oscar Hoelscher who will be the 2014 Todd Scholar. The scholarship is awarded annually by the Todd Corporation to an outstanding graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance.

Matthew Slattery and Helio Lima are leaving the company to join the Boston Ballet while earlier this year. Lucy Balfour left to join Rambert Dance Company and Medhi Angot joined Ballet Nice.

Australian Ballet School graduate, Phebe Sleeman, has been offered a contract from the West Australian Ballet.

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