A terpsichorean anniversary

“The meeting opened at 7 o’clock in the Auxiliary Room, (Box Hill) Town Hall, on the 11th May, 1951.”

So began the Minutes of the Formation Meeting of the Box Hill Ballet Association (formerly the Box Hill City Ballet Group).

Miss Margaret Earl, the first appointed Principal, “spoke of the aims … and methods to be adopted in the new classes in Box Hill. The fees for one term of 10 classes were to be one pound, 10 shillings for children under fourteen, and 2 pounds, 2 shillings for pupils over fourteen. There would also be a Business Girls Class and, if sufficient demand … a Housewives Class.”

Almost 70 years later, the Ballet School still prides itself on being a welcoming, family-friendly community organisation, where students return year after year, with some second and even third generation students attending classes. Annual performances have been staged almost continually from 1952, at first in the Town Hall, and then from 1986 in the newly opened Whitehorse Centre, with our last performance there being in December 2019. The Whitehorse Centre has since been demolished to make way for a new facility to be opened in late 2023.

Save the date!
Sunday, 20 June 2021

If you would like to be part of the 70th celebrations, please register your interest by emailing your details to: boxhillballet@gmail.com, or leave a message on 9723 4097
For more information visit boxhillballet.com.au

As with many other organisations and businesses, 2020 was a most challenging year, but with support from the State Government and the Whitehorse Council, the Committee and teachers of the Ballet School agreed to offer classes via “Zoom”. This was an entirely new concept for most families, but students and teachers soon adapted to a new way of teaching and being taught! Many students took advantage of these classes, which were offered for a voluntary fee, and spaces were set up at home in family rooms, lounge rooms or garages. Inquisitive family pets often starred during classes, wandering through the room, or just sitting and watching from a favourite vantage point!

The Annual Performance was unique, with students learning their dances via “Zoom” and filming themselves on mobile phones or other digital devices at home. Films were compiled into Part 1: The Rainbow Story, and Part 2: Various tap, jazz and contemporary dances. The performers produced amazing creative costumes, raiding their wardrobes, or making them themselves. The resultant compilation was viewed over a weekend, with “live” speeches and a fun video featuring students and teachers waving, cuddling their pets, or dancing with a parent or partner. It was great fun!