Australia's longest serving ballerina announces retirement

Lucinda DunnRight – Lucinda Dunn in Cinderella. Photography Lynette Wills

Australia’s longest serving ballerina Lucinda Dunn OAM will take her final bow at the end of the Manon season following an unprecedented 23-year career with The Australian Ballet.

One of Australia’s most loved and respected ballerinas, the principal artist and mother of two today announced that she will retire following her final performance in Sydney on Wednesday 23 April.

Melbourne and Sydney audiences will have the opportunity to see Lucinda dance the lead role in Manon in selected shows, which opens in Melbourne tomorrow and Sydney on 3 April. The public will also have the opportunity to meet Lucinda in Melbourne on Saturday 15 March during the McAllister in Conversation public program.

The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, said that Lucinda’s legacy will live on long into the future.

“One of my proudest moments as a new Artistic Director in 2001 was announcing that Lucinda would be promoted to principal artist. Since that time she has been a shining beacon of The Australian Ballet – a true ballerina.

“Lucinda’s dancing has captivated audiences across Australia and around the world. She has inspired generations of young dancers to follow in her stellar footsteps.

“As the longest serving ballerina of our company, her dynamic stage presence will be missed but the treasure of her wonderful performances will live on in all of our memories long into the future,” said McAllister.

In announcing her decision to retire, Lucinda said that she will be finishing her career on a high.

“After spending more than half my life with The Australian Ballet, it feels like a lifetime ago that I joined the company as a 17-year-old.

“My journey through the ranks of this special career has been marked by many memorable and unforgettable experiences, performances, partners, tours and coaches – but it is a fitting time to retire.

“I’m extremely fortunate to have had a lasting career and been a part of history within The Australian Ballet, and am privileged to have had such a satisfying and inspiring career,” said Dunn.

Born and raised in Sydney, Lucinda won the prestigious Prix de Lausanne scholarship to study at The Royal Ballet School in London before joining The Australian Ballet in 1991.

Her sparkling career has included roles in all of the major classical ballets including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet, as well as leading roles in contemporary works by Christopher Wheeldon, Jiří Kylián and George Balanchine to name a few.

In 2008, Lucinda welcomed the birth of daughter Claudia, returning to the stage five months later before taking another break in late 2011 for the birth of second daughter, Ava.

Throughout her career Lucinda has been awarded several scholarships to study overseas, and has partnered many international guests. In 2011 Lucinda celebrated 20 years with The Australian Ballet, making her the first woman to have danced 20 years consecutively with the company. In January this year, Lucinda was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the performing arts through ballet.

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