The Victorian State Ballet was established in 2003 and re-launched in 2015 to reflect a new mission and vision for the company. The Victorian State Ballet is Victoria's unique ballet company, boasting a rich and diverse repertoire from full length grand classical ballets and innovative contemporary dance works. As Artistic Director, together with Co-director Michelle Sierra, I am honoured and excited to be heading this wonderful and unique Victorian ballet company. The company is grounded on high quality ballets which focus on reaching local and regional communities, expanding to interstate Australia and internationally. The Victorian State Ballet is very pleased to be based in Melbourne and to be part of Australia's finest arts city and home town of diverse classical arts. I am so proud to be the director of a company that has some of Australia's finest dancers in the country that with hard work have earned recognition around the world. The Victorian State Ballet's mission is to connect people and dance nationwide by offering outstanding classical repertoire ballets, exhilarating neo-classical and contemporary dance works plus a rich community engagement program of educational workshops. My desire is that this year you will be able to enjoy with your family and friends the wonderful seasons at VSB.
MESSAGE FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Victorian State Ballet
Martin is a growing authority in Australia’s dance industry. His pioneering choreographic brilliance embraces a blend of European artistry and his personal innovation. Martin learned his craft, as both choreographer and instructor, from leading exponents of the Russian Vaganova method like Martin Puttke, receiving his own training at the world class Staatliche Ballet Schule Berlin. His corrections and technical mastery have resulted in the transformation of dance students into highly proficient professionals. Inspired by his Mexican roots and desire to improve his movement vocabulary, Martin went back to New York where he learnt with members of the Limon Company the "Limon Technique" at the Purchase College.
Martin’s unbridled creative talent is backed by a master of Arts in Dance Studies from the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, London. There he learnt from Valerie Preston-Dunlop Laban's approach to choreography. As part of this degree Martin also learnt costume design, lighting design, and stage management and design.
Martin also had the opportunity to learn and study directly from William Forsythe during Forsythe's time as director of the Frankfurt Ballet. William Forsythe has been one of his mentors and has influenced his ways to view movement and spatial approach in modern choreography. Forsythe's words of encouragement motivated Martin to go and start his works without reserve and following his intuitive inspiration.
Apart from working alongside some of Europe’s leading dancers, including principal artists from the Royal Ballet and Netherlands Dance Theatre, Martin has an impressive resume: Choreographer of Saarlandisches Staatstheater Saarbrucken and Komische Oper Berlin, Germany; Director, Sierra Dance Company, Germany; principal of the Saarlandisches Staatstheater Saarbrucken, member of Komische Oper Berlin and Compania Nacional de Danza, Mexico.
Martin's vision for sharing dance to a wider range of audiences impulsed his desire to create a state company to reach out regional Victoria. In 2015 he became a founder and Director of the Victorian State Ballet which until now has reached over 40,000 audiences around Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales.
Michelle Cassar de Sierra
Victorian State Ballet
Michelle has a widely recognised gift for crafting choreography that infuses the most loved classical ballets with a creative freshness and flair that accentuates the beauty of the original masterpiece, rather that detracting from it. This unique ability to balance the tension between innovation and tradition has earned Michelle wide respect within Australia’s dance community.
Michelle’s passion for classical ballet was fuelled whilst on a dance study tour of Moscow in 1984 during which she spent considerable time at the renowned Moiseyev School which specialises in character dance. Her classical dance and teaching skills were subsequently honed at the highly regarded Victorian College of the Arts. She was winner of the prestigious Pratt Scholarship in 1986. Her progress was rapid under the tutelage of Anne Woolliams.
Michelle’s resume reflects an enviable breadth of experience: Apprentice, Kolobok Dance Company; Member, National Ballet of Israel; Soloist, Saarlandisches Staatsheater Saarbrucken; Guest Artist, Klagenfurt Opera House, Austria, Principal Dancer, Martin Sierra Dance Company, Germany; Co-founder of VSB Youth Ballet, and Melbourne Dance Theatre; Principal, Melbourne Dance Theatre Classical Ballet Department; Co creator, International System of Character Dance, Private Coach in classical ballet preparation and training for competitions, productions and major school and company auditions both nationally and internationally.