One Last Leap: Robert Curran retires from Australian Ballet

robert curran
Robert Curran

After 16 years with the Australian Ballet, principal artist Robert Curran has announced he is retiring from the company.

Described by the Sunday Herald Sun as “the ultimate poetic and sensitive dancer”, Curran has performed with Australia’s national ballet company since 1996 and was promoted to principal artist in 2002. Over the years he has become one of ballet’s most adored leading men, thanks to his astonishing technical skill, powerful stage presence, sensitivity and intelligence.

Curran will perform for the last time during The Merry Widow season at Sydney Opera House. His final show will be on Saturday 26 November 2011 at 7.30pm.

In announcing his decision Robert Curran said: “I feel so fortunate to have had my career with The Australian Ballet. I am so proud of this company and I will cherish every memory I have from the past sixteen years.”

“There was never going to be a good time for me to leave such a special place, only a right time. The time has arrived and I am looking forward to extending myself in order to continue to contribute to the arts in Australia beyond my dancing on the stage.”

During his tenure with the company he has danced in numerous classical and contemporary works by such celebrated choreographers as Jiøí Kylián, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Baynes, Stanton Welch, Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Graeme Murphy.

Curran has also performed extensively overseas. Recent highlights include wowing audiences of The Hong Kong Ballet during a guest appearance in July this year and dancing with Kirsty Martin in Moscow at the 2010 Prix Benois de la Danse, the dance equivalent of the Oscars.

Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet David McAllister said Curran would be remembered for leading the company in some of its most important and exciting performances.

“Robert’s star has shone brightly over The Australian Ballet in a career spanning 16 years. In 2011 he has soared across a range of roles, leaving the stage at his absolute peak,” said McAllister.

“A classic leading man, Robert has been an audience favourite and wooed nearly all of our leading ballerinas with his elegant dancing and extraordinary partnering. His role as the romantic hero Danilo in The Merry Widow is a fitting finale for an artist who will be remembered as one of the country’s finest dancers.”

Tickets for Curran’s final performance on 26 November are limited but seats remain available for other performances during the season.


  • The Merry Widow 2011
  • Madame Butterfly 2011
  • Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker – The Story of Clara 2009
  • Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon 2008
  • Symphonie Fantastique 2007
  • Don Quixote 2007
  • Apollo 2007
  • Giselle 2006
  • Le Spectre de la rose 2006
  • Forgotten Land 2005
  • Petite Mort 2005
  • Other Dances 2001
  • At the edge of night 1997

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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