The Australia Council mourns the passing of dancer Ross Stretton, the Australian Ballet’s former artistic director.
Born in Canberra, Mr Stretton was a tap dancer before moving into ballet in his late teens. He studied at the Australian Ballet School, moved into the company’s corps de ballet, and eventually became its principal dancer.
In the late 1970s, Mr Stretton moved to America and later joined the American Ballet Theater, where he became assistant director.
He returned – to Australia and to The Australian Ballet – in 1997 to become the company’s artistic director.
Mr Stretton left Australia again in 2001 to accept the role of artistic director at the Royal Ballet in London, before finally retiring to Australia in 2002.
‘Ross couldn’t talk about dance without using the word “passion”, and not because he couldn’t find another word,’ according to Shane Carroll, chair of the Austraila Council’s Dance Board, and reported in The Australian.
‘He simply, and deeply, felt passionate about the power of dance and the people who did it.’