29 September 2019
It was at the end of an in-house Studio Sessions showing of contemporary works by full time students that Michael Pappalardo announced the immediate closure of Melbourne City Ballet. It was the evening of June 27. Four days earlier, company members had received an email stating that activities would be suspended for 14 days. This was the first they had heard that the company was in peril. By the next morning, MCB was no more. The company’s wonderful purpose-fitted studios in Melbourne’s Pentridge precinct in Coburg bore a ‘breach of lease’ notice. The company was debarred from entering the premises. It was all over.
In the following days there was an outpouring of sadness and sympathy for Melbourne City Ballet. Dance Australia’s Karen van Ulzen broke the story with an interview with Artistic Director Michael Pappalardo who cited lack of funding as a key factor in the company’s sudden closure after five years’ operation. The magazine’s social media pages were blitzed with messages of support and appreciation as well as disgust at the government’s refusal to adequately support the small- to medium-sized arts community. People cared about the fate of this company.
Dance Australia, like other individuals and organisations, had been a great supporter of MCB. We started attending and reviewing performances from the outset. It was wonderful to have a local company bringing dance to audiences that might not be able to access the very prohibitively expensive professional offerings of the likes of The Australian Ballet. Better yet, as Pappalardo proudly announced, the company provided jobs for dancers.
Read the full article in Dance Australia.