Joiners and Leavers at the Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and West Australian Ballet

Three Australian dance companies have announced their arrivals and departures at the start of their working year.

One of the most interesting moves is the appointment of Natasha Kusch, as a senior artist of the Australian Ballet. The Ukrainian dancer has joined the AB after only 17 months as a principal with the Queensland Ballet. Previously she had spent eight years at the Vienna State Opera where she was a soloist.

With Li Cunxin as artistic director of the Queensland Ballet there has been a more competitive edge between the QB and the Australian Ballet and this speedy switching of companies by Kusch is only going to add to speculation of more competition to come.

Also joining the Australian Ballet as a coryphée is former American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet member, Nicola Curry. In July last year she married the Australian, Nicholas Cooper in Colorado, and moved with him to Australia,

The American magazine Dance Spirit revealed last September that Nicola Curry “plans to join the Australian Ballet”.

Two other dancers are joining the AB corps de ballet, Shaun Andrews and Callum Linnane, both graduates of the Australian Ballet School.

Two coryphées are leaving the AB, John-Paul Idazak and Garry Stocks.

There’s a significant change at Sydney Dance Company with the departure of the last of the dancers who were part of the troupe when Graeme Murphy was artistic director. The company has announced that Chen Wen (Kevin) is leaving.

Born in China, he studied at the Peoples Liberation Army Arts Academy Dance School and danced with three companies in China before joining Sydney Dance Company in 2007, the same year that Murphy and Janet Vernon left.

Also departing SDC are Tom Bradley, Jessica Thompson and Paul Knobloch who was on a short term contract. Chris Aubrey has begun a 12 month sabbatical.

The good news is that Richard Cilli is returning to the company after two years as an independent dancer in Australia and Europe.

Newcomers to SDC are Daniel Roberts, Chloe Leong, Sam Young-Wright, trainee Josephine Weise and rehearsal director Lee Johnston.

Roberts has moved to the company from the West Australian Ballet where he has been since 2011.

The West Australian Ballet has announced the promotion of Florence Leroux-Coleno and Andre Santos to soloist and the promotion of Meg Parry to demi-soloist.

Joining the company as a soloist is Luisa Diaz who has performed with Bejart Ballet Lausanne, the National Dance Company of Mexico and Bayerisches Staatsballett.

Three of WAB’s Young Artists in 2014, Liam Green, Andrew Radak and Phebe Sleeman have joined the corps de ballet, and five new Young Artists are Ashleigh Bennett, Jessica Allison-Walker, Benjamin Obst, Jesse Homes, and Carina Roberts.

Apart from Daniel Roberts, two others departing WAB are Robert Mills and Benjamin Kirkman.

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Richard Cilli, Chen Wen and Juliette Barton, LANDforms, Sydney Dance Company, photographer unknown

Nicola Curry in Company B, American Ballet Theatre, photo © Rosalie O’Connor

Luisa Diaz, photographer unknown

Natasha Kusch, photo © Ronnie Boehm