Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin hosted a special private studio experience as part of the Brisbane Open House After Dark events, in partnership with multidisciplinary design practice Conrad Gargett and engineering firm Bligh Tanner.

The dance rehearsal took place in Queensland Ballet’s Thomas Dixon Centre studios in West End in Brisbane. “Most people get a chance to watch performances on stage when everything is ready … but today’s experience is different. It is a ‘money can’t buy’ experience. The ‘theatre behind the scenes’. Here is where the magic starts,” Li said.

The heritage-listed Thomas Dixon Centre was originally constructed as a shoe factory in 1908. It was purchased by the Queensland Government and was refurbished as a centre for dance and arts in 1991. It is presently being redeveloped as the home of Queensland Ballet. “This whole building with the help of the wonderful work of Conrad Gargett, the Architects, is going to be totally transformed in two years’ time. So by around this time 2020 we hope, when you see this building again, it will be a complete different building. It will be a world-class building. I think it is going to be one of the best dance facilities in this region,” Li said.

The redevelopment will enable Queensland Ballet to accommodate a larger ensemble of dancers, expand dancer training programs and enhance community initiatives. Their visionary development strategy is strongly underpinned by their pillars of art, people, home and wellness. Li humbly shared, “This all started with a simple dream. And actually Conrad Gargett people are the start of that dream,” said Li. “When I came over here … I presented to them [the Ian Potter Foundation] a bold vision to transform this building,” he said. We [Queensland Ballet] are not afraid by bold dreams. We are not afraid by ambitions. We are truly excited about it. And partners such as Conrad Gargett has enabled us to dream even bigger, to become even bolder, more courageous.

“So I think the future for this company [Queensland Ballet] is incredible. And not only in the last six years since I came on board. We are the fastest growing performing arts company in Australia, perhaps in this region. I can tell you by the time I leave here, we will be in a much stronger and better position. And establish a much stronger global brand name in the market.”

Queensland Ballet’s overarching vision is to deliver world-class productions, become a leader on the international stage and enrich lives through ballet.

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