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Subject: "Ross Stretton Announcement" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Bruceadmin

16-06-05, 08:44 AM (GMT)
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"Ross Stretton Announcement"
 
  
We've just heard from Australia that Ross Stretton, the former Director of Australian Ballet and the Royal Ballet, has died after a long illness. We extend our sympathy to his family and friends - his was a turbulant time in London but with single-minded and clear determination he always did what he thought was right to move ballet and his companies forward.

We will add obituaries and other links to this thread as they emerge.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Ross Stretton Announcement Bruceadmin 16-06-05 1
  RE: Ross Stretton Announcement Bruceadmin 16-06-05 2
  Australian Ballet Statement Bruceadmin 16-06-05 3
  RE: Ross Stretton Announcement AnnWilliams 16-06-05 4
     RE: Ross Stretton Announcement Kate_N 16-06-05 5
  Australian Ballet News Release in full Bruceadmin 16-06-05 6
  Royal Ballet News Release Bruceadmin 16-06-05 7
  RE: Ross Stretton Announcement Renee Renouf Hall 17-06-05 8
     RE: Ross Stretton Announcement AnnWilliams 17-06-05 9
         RE: Ross Stretton Announcement eugdog 17-06-05 10
             RE: Ross Stretton Announcement Bruceadmin 18-06-05 11
                 RE: Ross Stretton Announcement JULASH01 19-06-05 12

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Bruceadmin

16-06-05, 09:05 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #0
 
  
In October 2002, following Ross Stretton's departure from the Royal Ballet, Ballet.co ran a piece that recorded what had happened and Stretton’s instinct “to take the Royal Ballet to another place". The piece includes many useful links to interviews and other contemporary resources:
Cruel Garden - Ross Stretton and the Royal Ballet


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Bruceadmin

16-06-05, 09:18 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #0
 
  
Ross Stretton dies
Sydney
By Sharon Verghis
    "One of Australia's best known ballet figures, Ross Stretton, has died in Melbourne from complications following a long battle with cancer. He was 53."
Sydney Morning Herald

The Austrlian Dancing website has a short biography of Ross Stretton and includes the most wonderful phogtograph of him:
http://www.australiadancing.org/subjects/104.html


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Bruceadmin

16-06-05, 09:29 AM (GMT)
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3. "Australian Ballet Statement"
In response to message #0
 
  

Ross Stretton 1952 - 2005
Creativity, Energy and Passion

This is best viewed as a pdf file:
http://www.ballet.co.uk/pdf/ross_stretton.pdf



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AnnWilliams

16-06-05, 10:49 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 16-06-05 AT 09:20 PM (GMT) by Bruce (admin)
 

Australian Broadcasting's report:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200506/s1394032.htm


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Kate_N

16-06-05, 06:19 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #4
 
   Not an official obituary so I hope it's OK to post here, but this is such sad, sad news. I remember seeing Ross Stretton dance with the Australian Ballet in the 70s. I particularly have a vivid memory of him as an extraordinary, heroic dancer in their production of Spartacus. What a loss... 53 is too young for anyone to die.


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Bruceadmin

16-06-05, 09:14 PM (GMT)
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6. "Australian Ballet News Release in full"
In response to message #0
 
  
Here is todays Australian Ballet news release - it has some wonderful quotes. I hope it is all fine - breaking the text out of the original pdf has not been straightforward for some unknown reason.

Australian Ballet Press Release
16 June 2005

Ross Stretton 1952 - 2005
Creativity, Energy and Passion







One of the world's most important ballet figures, former Artistic Director and Principal Artist Ross Stretton passed away today in Melbourne after a long battle with the disease Melanoma. He was 53.

David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet said, "I was lucky enough to dance as a Principal Artist under Ross and had the most exciting and stimulating end to my career. Folowing him as Artistic Director I inherited a company that was talented, versatile and passionate about the art form. His time at The Australian Balet was a fertile and creative one as he brought the company and its dancers bounding into the 21st century. Thank you Ross."

Both Ross Stretton's directorships at The Royal Ballet (2001-02)and The Australian Ballet (1997-2001) were marked by his strong belief in ballet as an exciting contemporary art form. His uncompromising determination to present both classical and contemporary works with integrity and passionate commitment inspired his dancers to produce performances of outstanding physicality and artistry.

His distinctive style can be described in his own words about The Australian Ballet, in a desire to have the company show "creativity, energy and passion". He wanted audiences to have their hearts and minds touched, that they had been overwhelmed by the physicality of this wonderful art form. He wanted a company which centred on creativity - creativity in the choreography, the dancing, the music, and all the production elements.

Teacher, long-time friend and Assistant, Janet Karin said today, "Ross loved dance, he devoted his life to it. As a teenager he bounded across the studio, hair flying, intoxicated with the pleasure of moving. As a performer he was inspired by poetry, music and visual art and the achievements of those around him. As an Artistic Director Ross believed that dance should be passionate, exciting, challenging and inspiring; that it should make a difference to people's lives. He would fight for the best because he thought dance and dancers were worth it."

Ross Stretton was born in Canberra where he first developed his talent as a tap-dancer. After discovering ballet at the age of 17he trained with Janet Karin and Bryan Lawrence in Canberra, and later at The Australian Ballet School. On graduation he joined the Corps de Ballet of The Australian Ballet and two years later he was promoted to Soloist. In 1976, he became a Principal Artist, dancing the leading roles in all the classical ballets in the repertoire and also creating roles in many contemporary works.

While Sir Robert Helpmann was Artistic Director of the company, he awarded Ross Stretton a scholarship to study in New York for three months. Inspired by the challenges and excitement of this experience, Ross Stretton moved to the United States in 1979 and joined The Joffrey Ballet in New York. Mikhail Baryshnikov invited him to dance as a guest artist in American Ballet Theatre's 1980-81 season, and then asked him to join American Ballet Theatre permanently.

As a Principal Artist with American Ballet Theatre, Ross Stretton again danced leading roles in all the classics. He also performed in a wide range of contemporary works and in new works by international choreographers. During his time with American Ballet Theatre he also toured internationally with Baryshnikov and Company for many years and appeared extensively as a guest artist in other companies in America and abroad.

On retiring from dancing in May 1990 Ross Stretton was invited to take the position of Assistant to the Directors of American Ballet Theatre. He was made Regisseur of the company in September 1991 and Assistant Director from 1993. Ross Stretton also founded New York Dancers, presenting concert performances by stars of American Ballet Theatre.

After a world-wide search, Ross Stretton was appointed Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet from January 1997. He enriched the company's repertoire with notable works from a range of leading choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Nacho Duato and Twyla Tharp, and stimulated a new interest in triple bill programmes. He also held the position of Artistic Director of The Dancers Company.

In September 2001 Ross Stretton commenced as Director of The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. As in Australia, he inspired the dancers with a challenging repertoire from innovative choreographers. He resigned from The Royal Ballet in October 2002 and retired to Australia.

Ross is survived by former wife Valmai Roberts and their three children Luke, Adam and Kyra.

The family will hold a private funeral. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at the State Theatre in the Arts Centre, Melbourne later this year.

"These people are all extraordinary human beings; they love art and they dedicated their lives to developing their own art form. They all have creativity, abundant energy and highly developed human qualities. They are honest, intelligent and passionate people who have taken control of their own destinies."
Ross Stretton on The Australian Ballet dancers

"One of the greatest gifts an Artistic Director can give to his dancers is a repertoire which challenges them, moves them, inspires them and thus allows them to grow both technically and artistically. As Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, Ross Stretton bestowed many of these gifts on his dancers.

Ross was instrumental in forging closer ties with other leading Australian arts companies and festivals. This,coupled with his vision to continue bringing the work of the best international and Australian choreographers in to the repertoire, served to strengthen not only The Australian Balet's identity but its international standing.

He will be remembered well here."
Principal Artists of the Australian Ballet.


www.australianballet.com.au


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Bruceadmin

16-06-05, 09:17 PM (GMT)
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7. "Royal Ballet News Release"
In response to message #0
 
  
ROSS STRETTON
1952 - 2005

We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Ross Stretton’s death after a long battle with Melanoma. He died in Melbourne aged 53.

Monica Mason, Director of The Royal Ballet, says, ‘We are all very sad to hear of the death of Ross Stretton and our thoughts are with his wife and children at this distressing time. Although he was with The Royal Ballet for a relatively short time, I recognised his passion for the art form and deeply admired the energy and commitment he brought to his work.

Tony Hall, Royal Opera House Chief Executive, says, ‘I am hugely saddened at the news that Ross has died. We arrived here at the Royal Opera House at roughly the same time, and worked together very closely over the best part of 18 months. I was very sorry that things did not work out for Ross here as he brought lots of ideas and a huge amount of energy to The Royal Ballet. I heard a few weeks ago that he was seriously ill, and my thoughts now are with Valmai and his children who I came to know when they lived here.

Ross Stretton was born in Canberra and trained at The Australian Ballet School. On graduation he joined the corps de ballet of The Australian Ballet and two years later he was promoted to Soloist. In 1976 he became a Principal Artist, dancing the leading roles in all the classical ballets in the repertory and creating roles in many contemporary works.

While Sir Robert Helpmann was Artistic Director of the company, he awarded Ross Stretton a scholarship to study in New York for three months. Inspired by the challenges and excitement of this experience, Ross Stretton moved to the United States in 1979 and joined The Joffrey Ballet in New York. Mikhail Baryshnikov invited him to dance as a guest artist in American Ballet Theatre’s 1980–81 season, and subsequently asked him to join American Ballet Theatre permanently.

As a Principal Artist with American Ballet Theatre, Ross Stretton danced leading roles in all the classics. He also performed in a wide range of contemporary works and in new works by international choreographers. During his time with American Ballet Theatre, he toured internationally with ‘Baryshnikov and Company’ for many years, and appeared extensively as a guest artist with other companies in the United States and abroad.

Ross Stretton retired from dancing in May 1990 when he was invited to take the position of Assistant to the Directors of American Ballet Theatre. He was made Régisseur of the company in September 1991 and Assistant Director from 1993. Ross Stretton also founded New York Dancers, presenting concert performances by stars of American Ballet Theatre. He was appointed Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet from January 1997 and also held the position of Artistic Director of The Dancers Company.

Ross Stretton was Director of The Royal Ballet from September 2001 to September 2002.

16 June 2005


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Renee Renouf Hall

17-06-05, 06:52 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #0
 
   Such a sadness. I have such warm memories of his comparatively brief
sojourn with The Joffrey and how kind he was to give up a taxi to my
mother and me after a late night company party where Robert Joffrey
concluded a contract for a Jiri Kylian work. Such an amalgam of a high
point in the company and his own emerging recognition.

I also remember that Cynthia Harvey, who had trained in Marin County,
insisted on Stretton as her partner when she guested with the Marin
Ballet School's performances in Nutcracker.

Bits, pieces of a distinct memory, very visual, still lingering.


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AnnWilliams

17-06-05, 08:59 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #8
 
   LAST EDITED ON 17-06-05 AT 04:54 PM (GMT) by Bruce (admin)
 

The following are some announcements of Ross Stretton’s death (some are straightforward announcements and some I think are actual obituaries). These are all also posted in 'TodaysLinks'

A vision for the future of ballet
Ross Stretton Dancer, artistic director, 1952-2005
Australia
by Michelle Potter
(Michelle Potter is curator of dance at the National Library of Australia)
    "His best-known catchcry, "creativity, energy, passion", was often thrown back at him, sometimes with a touch of sarcasm. It became known as the "CEP factor". But behind it was Stretton's passionate belief that dance was not superficial; it was an art form that in its greatest moments engaged mind, body and soul.
    "Stretton also put his dancers up front. He arranged for the Australian Ballet principals to be dressed by Armani for new, glamorous photographs, and he used these new images to promote his principals as the stars that they were. Under Stretton the principal artists shared the front section of every program with the other major creators in individual seasons. He wanted his principals to be leaders and to be recognised as creative artists."
Sydney Morning Herald

All was hidden except passion
Ross Stretton will be remembered as a very private man devoted to his craft, writes Sharon Verghis.
by Sharon Verghis
Sydney Morning Herald:
    "Was he prone to outbursts if dancers failed to meet his technical demands? The artistic director of the Australian Ballet, David McAllister, says Stretton was "driven by quality" and some found that difficult to handle. "I think people who are don't always win friends ... you knew if Ross wasn't pleased about something."
    "McAllister salutes Stretton's "fantastic eye" and vision - "he taught me a lot of things, and I was a pretty old dancer when he came on board" - and credits him with modernising the company.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/Arts/All-was-hidden-except-passion/2005/06/16/1118869039171.html

Ross Stretton Photographs
Sydney Morning Herald

Stretton's passion cut short
By Deborah Jones
From The Australian
    "IT goes without saying Ross Stretton died too young, but what makes his passing even more poignant is the knowledge that he was denied the chance to have a third act in his life, one that would build on his strengths as an artistic director and avoid the flaws that marred his leadership at the Australian Ballet and Britain's Royal Ballet."
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15635947%5E16947,00.html

Daily Telegraph Obituary
A hard hitting piece that tends to concentrate on Stretton's brief career in London
London
    "Of his debut as the Prince in Swan Lake in 1982, the leading American critic Arlene Croce wrote: "Ross Stretton, who is still listed as a soloist, danced his first Siegfried with a refinement that suggested he had been doing it for years."
Telegraph

Ross Stretton, 53, Leading Dancer at Ballet Theater, Dies
New York
By Anna Kisselgoff
    "The Australian Ballet, in fact, was a company reborn when it appeared at New York's City Center under Mr. Stretton's leadership in 1999. The company's traditional classical style was now more impressive, streamlined and clean in technical detail."
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/17/arts/dance/17stretton.html?oref=login

Former Royal Ballet director Ross Stretton dies at 53
By Jeremy Austin
London, The Stage
    "Stretton held the position at the flagship British company from September 2001 until September 2002, during which time he experienced an abrasive relationship with the company."
http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/8298/former-royal-ballet-director-ross-stretton

From Melbourne Age
http://theage.com.au/articles/2005/06/16/1118869045480.html

From the Brisbane Courier-Mail
http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,15631774%255E7642,00.html


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eugdog

17-06-05, 07:32 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #9
 
   maybe it was declining that made him resign. It seems hard to believe his forced out so quickly because of his quirky programming choices.

I have mixed feelinga about his reign at RB - I welcomed the new and innovative programming he brought with him even though some of it was pretty awful. However it seems that the Royal Ballet is going from strength to strength by being conservative and reviving the great Ashton and Macmillan repertoire from the past.

I never much cared for the rumours and villification that many posters to this website indulged in!

My deepest sympathies are to his relatives and friends!


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Bruceadmin

18-06-05, 04:17 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #10
 
  
The man has just died, and died early in life too, and now is NOT the time to argue about anything.


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JULASH01

19-06-05, 01:21 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Ross Stretton Announcement"
In response to message #11
 
   Very sad news - he contributed a great amount to dance, and I am sure he will be remembered.


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