One of Australia's most acclaimed ballerinas will take her final curtain call next month.
After a stage career spanning 21 years, 18 of those spent at The Australian Ballet, Principal Artist Rachel Rawlins has announced that she will retire at the end of the Swan Lake season in Sydney. Her last show in the title role of Odette will be today, 19 December 2012.
Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister said Rachel would be remembered for many leading roles in her remarkable career.
"Rachel is a beautiful dancer to watch and she's carved out a unique reputation as one of the company's great classicists," said McAllister. "Her superb performances in hallmark ballets such as Swan Lake, Manon, Giselle and The Nutcracker will be remembered fondly by audiences and fans that have followed her career."
Rawlins grew up in Canberra before moving to Melbourne as a teenager to study ballet. She joined The Australian Ballet in 1991, later leaving to spend two years with The Royal Ballet in London. She re-joined the company in 2001 and was promoted to principal artist three years later.
Showcasing her trademark lyricism in much-loved classics such as Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote, Rawlins quickly established herself as a leading ballerina capable of bringing deep emotion to narrative works.
She took her talents to the world stage with appearances at the Ena Ballet International Gala in Kuala Lumpur in 2011, the World Festival of Ballet in Tokyo in 2009 and numerous international tours with The Australian Ballet.
In announcing her decision, Rachel said: "I will be forever grateful to have had such an exciting and fulfilling career with The Australian Ballet. I have been so fortunate to have danced in so many beautiful ballets and to have worked with incredible people."
"I will treasure the friendships I have made in the company and ballet community and would like to thank my family and the audience for all they have given me. I leave the stage feeling sure I will always miss it but that my journey is complete."
Tickets for Rawlins' final performance in Swan Lake are sold out but seats remain available for her performances during the current Icons season, at Sydney Opera House until 26 November.
For nightly casting details, visit australianballet.com.au/icons
• Odette in Stephen Baynes' Swan Lake 2012
• Cio-Cio-San in Stanton Welch's
Madame Butterfly 2011
• Sugar Plum Fairy in Peter Wright's
The Nutcracker 2010
• Aurora in Stanton Welch's
The Sleeping Beauty 2009
• Clara the Ballerina in Graeme Murphy's
Nutcracker - The Story of Clara 2009
• Manon in Manon 2008
• Kitri in Don Quixote 2007
• Raymonda Grey in Stephen Baynes'
• Giselle in Giselle 2008, 2006
• Ji?í Kylián's Forgotten Land and Petite Mort 2005
• Juliet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet 2003