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Australian Ballet’s Colin Peasley Retires After 50 Years

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Aug 10, 2012 02:23 PM EDT

Colin Peasley, one of the founding members of the Australian Ballet Company, has announced he will retire after five decades of service.

Peasley, 77, appeared in 6,406 performances since he joined the Australian Ballet Company in 1962. He will make his last performance with the company this year in "Swan Lake," the very first work the Ausralian Ballet Company performed in 1962.

"This is what keeps all dancers going. The rehearsing and all the work behind it, it's just hard work," Peasley said.

"Once you get there, it's the buzz you get in front of dancing in front of an audience. It's feeling some reaction from an audience," Peasley added.

Peasley started ballet at the relatively old age of 21. He was invited to join the Australian Ballet, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, by its founding artistic director Peggy van Praagh in 1962.

As well as performing as a principal dancer with the company, Peasley has been serving as a ballet master and founded the company's education program during his service.

His final performance will be in Sydney in December. 

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