AFTER thousands of performances, more than 4500 pairs of pointe shoes and 18 years of aching joints, Newcastle born-and-bred ballerina Olivia Bell will dance the final performance of her career on Monday.
Bell, 35, will take her curtsy in front of a packed house that will include her husband and Newcastle parents following her role as the lead in Paquita at Sydney Opera House.
‘‘My career with The Australian Ballet has been a magical journey, highlighted by so many unforgettable performances and experiences that I will cherish forever,’’ Bell said.
She has not ruled out some future involvement with the prestigious ballet company but has remained tight-lipped about what the next phase of her career will be.
“I will always be associated with The Australian Ballet and dance,’’ she said.
The mother-of-three said the decision to retire as a principal artist with The Australian Ballet was based on her family.
She has three children under the age of five and said her children had been ‘‘waiting in the wings while mummy has had a dancing career’’.
By the time Bell was 15 she was dancing in Paris. She joined The Australian Ballet in 1995.