Waiting an extra 12 months to celebrate Queensland Ballet’s 60th Anniversary Gala has made the occasion feel even more momentous.

From an inaugural ensemble of just 11, over those six decades the company employed determination, creativity and resilience to survive and thrive amidst mixed fortunes; its response to and re-emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic to recommence its anniversary program in full flight exemplifies those attributes.

Yanela Piñera and Joe Chapman in Queensland Ballet 60th Anniversary Gala. Photograph © David Kelly

After 2020’s deprivations, audiences have a new appreciation for the privilege of seeing live performance, which they demonstrated vocally on opening night. I can’t recall hearing so much cheering during a dance performance, and this feedback added an extra dynamic to the performance, with artists clearly touched taking bows after their pieces. It was capped off with a standing ovation.

While the pandemic kyboshed the original intention of a stellar international guest line-up, it has enabled the focus to remain on the achievements of Queensland Ballet and its artists, currently a 60-strong mix of homegrown and overseas nationalities who collectively form a...