The Australian Ballet School celebrated the unveiling of the Foundation Stone at Marilyn Rowe House by Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AM, Governor of Victoria last Saturday.

Hon Dessau’s opening speech honoured the Australian Ballet School’s decision to purchase an eight million dollar residence in Parkville. The home program is for the current and potential interstate dance students without a home in Melbourne.

“Through this fine ballet school, soon to be greatly enhanced by the addition of the boarding program that will be made possible here, young dancers and their families are assured of the optimal care and optimal health to develop them into professional dancers.”

Hon Dessau continued to say that she was satisfied with the nurturing and guidance that the school offers to all its students.

“A professional life for me dealing with families and young people has certainly taught me that confidence, fortitude and resilience are developed when the whole person—the mind, the body, and spirit is nurtured. It is this school’s devotion to nurturing the whole person that impresses me most.”

Hon Dessau addressed the current students, stating that they will flourish in a safe space with the addition of the house. She admitted that all the talent cannot be claimed to Victoria alone. A huge 78 per cent of all dance students are from interstate.

“This wonderful house will add a new dimension to the training and the nurturing that goes into helping to build the magnificent artists that you will become.”

The Senator, Hon Concetta Feirravanti-Wells, Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney- General also attended the celebration. She acknowledged the Commonwealth Government’s one million dollar contribution to augment the fundraising efforts by the ballet school.

“The Commonwealth Government is committed to creating a sustainable Australian arts and cultural sector and sees private sector support as a vital part of the arts funding ecology.”

Hon Feirravanti-Wells stated that the Government’s priority is to provide access to high quality arts and cultural experiences.

“In particular, the new students’ residence will ensure the talented students from across Australia including our regional cities and towns will have the opportunity to attend this world class dance training institute while supported by appropriate away from home care arrangements.”

The Deputy Chair of The Australian Ballet School, Betty Amsden stated her financial support of $250,000 to the residential program.

“It is a change now to what it was to what it will be. This home will need a lot of help and support from everyone, not just me,” she said with a laugh.

Lisa Pavane, the artistic director of the Australian Ballet School said the residential program has been a dream come true, and one that will enhance the school’s international reputation.

“Australian Ballet School will now sit equally with all international ballet schools in being able to provide 24 hour care to our students.”

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Lily Eastbrook, a potential student resident of the new Marilyn Rowe House stated her excitement to the opening of the home program.

“My whole family are from Brisbane but I am living in an apartment with a guardian. It would make things a lot easier for me and I would like to experience living in the boarding house and meet new friends.”

Another student Lachlan Mair said, “I think its going to make a huge difference for the younger people who live interstate and internationally. It helps their families knowing they are safe with the security”.

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