The National Goes International – A celebration of dance for Melbourne dance lovers

Following a year where dance studios across the world have been closed and audiences have been deprived of enjoying live performances, the National Theatre has invited dancers from across Melbourne to share their stage and love for dance, in The National Goes International on Saturday 26 June.

Led by the National Theatre Ballet School’s Artistic Director Damian Smith, this celebratory performance also includes the Benjo Academy of Serbian Dance and Culture, Karma Dance, Lehenda Ukranian Dance Company, Lowicz Polish Vocal-Dance Ensemble and the Melbourne Academy of Irish Dance.

One of Australia’s oldest working theatres, the iconic National Theatre Melbourne has been a vital part of the Melbourne arts and cultural landscape for almost 100 years, hosting hundreds of performances and community events each year. It houses both the National Theatre Ballet School, one of Australia’s preeminent dance training institutions for over 80 years, and the National Theatre Drama School, Australia’s original actor training institution. Both schools were founded by Gertrude Johnson OBE, a dynamic figure in the performing arts in both London and Melbourne.

Artistic Director Damian Smith said:

We shouldn’t wait until we find a reason to collaborate, celebrate and dance together. When times are great, we dance. When times are tough, we dance harder, when times of need, we come together and dance together. Through this collaboration with our local cultural dance groups, we represent the international dance industry coming together to celebrate the return of dance to our stages, theatres, community and audiences.

A proud Wonnarua man of the Upper Hunter Valley, Damian Smith is one of Australia’s most accomplished dancers with an international career spanning 25 years, including 18 as a beloved Principal Dancer with the prestigious San Francisco Ballet.

After leaving Australia at age 16 to study at the School of American Ballet in New York, he continued to dance with some of the world’s best ballet companies, including Ballet Du Nord, New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Hamburg Ballet and Boston Ballet.

He has performed in over 110 ballets from traditional to contemporary and has collaborated with globally renowned choreographers, dancers, musicians and technical artisans including Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Wayne McGregor, Natcho Duato and Alexi Ratmansky to create new ballets.

His final pas de deux was as a guest artist with The Australian Ballet to dance Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux with Robyn Hendricks at the Sydney Opera House, the venue that kick-started his career three decades ago as a 16 year old Indigenous dancer from Newcastle.

Damian will also be leading a free Q&A on the day about the value and joy of dance in culture and community. Panel members for this event include David McAllister AM, former Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet, and the National Theatre Ballet School’s Alida Segal, one of Australia’s most respected dance lecturers and choreographers.


The National Theatre Ballet School presents
The National Goes International
Tickets on sale now – visit nationaltheatre.org.au

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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