Lithuania in the News
21st February 2010
Australian Dancer John Pickup Joins Lithuanian Ballet
John Pickup.
John Pickup, a 22 year old Australian from Sydney, last August departed Sydney for Vilnius to join the Lithuanian Ballet company for the new 2009 – 2010 ballet season. Those who attended the XXV Australian Lithuanian Days Cultural Festival in Sydney last December, may remember John as one of the dancers performing during the “Ballet Live” afternoon of Friends of Lithuanian Ballet (FLB). Having become acquainted with Lithuanian Ballet, he decided to audition and was accepted into the company in Vilnius. His ambition was to dance in the extensive classical ballet repertoire that Lithuanian Ballet puts on.
John Pickup (left) dancing in the ballet
in “Marriage of Figaro”
Six months into the season, John is mastering the language and the culture and enjoying the whole experience. He has already danced in “The Sleeping Beauty”, “Nutcracker”, and “La Bayadere” and many others ballets in the Lithuanian Ballet’s vast repertoire. The repertoire also includes ballets for operas, such as Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. John’s only “gripe” is the very cold weather that Lithuania and all of Europe are experiencing this (northern) winter!
John is the first Australian to join Lithuanian Ballet as a full member of the company, yet Australian dancers in the past have danced with the Lithuanian Ballet as Guest Artists. In 1973 the current director of the Australian Ballet School, Marilyn Rowe OBE, and her partner Kelvin Coe danced in Vilnius, while in 1986 the current artistic director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister AM, and his partner Elizabeth Toohey also danced in Vilnius.
John Pickup thus continues a tradition of artistic exchanges between Australia and Lithuania, which last year also saw three Lithuanian ballet dancers - Petras Skirmantas, Kristina Gudþiûnaitë and Voicech Þuromskas – come to Australia for the XXV Australian Lithuanian Days Cultural Festival in Sydney in December 2008. They also took part in a month long program of dance performances and interaction with the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne and The Australian Ballet Company during its season in Sydney. (Please see on this website in News/ Lithuanians in the News/ 14th December 2008 - Artistic Exchange Cements Links between Lithuanian and Australian Ballet Worlds)

John, we wish you well in your artistic endeavours!

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