Australia’s oldest professional ballet company embarked on its first-ever U.S. tour of 26 cities in the fall of 1996 performing Pirates! The Ballet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Scheherazade in repertory by the Queensland Ballet, one of only three full-time, professional classical ballet companies in Australia. Artistic Director of the company was Harold Collins MBE.
In 1996, to prove to the world there was more classical ballet vitality from down under than just the Australian Ballet, I encouraged and cajoled my friend Gary McAvay at Columbia Artists Management (CAMI) to present the Queensland Ballet tour, as a thank-you to Harold Collins MBE. I had the pleasure of working with Harold on a couple of Queensland Theatre Company productions prior, he was a true dancers director, resulting in a long time friendship.
Gary McAvay, John Luckacovic and many at CAMI stepped up, and did a great job presenting the Queensland Ballet, raising its international profile exponentially and giving the Queensland Ballet pride of global place, which resulted in future work in the USA.
I voluntarily eliminated my fee with CAMI and negotiated a sponsorship deal for international air tickets to reduce CAMI’s costs to make the tour financially feasible.