Where the journey began
In October of 1992, permission was granted by Calisthenic Victoria for the Ballarat Calisthenic College to introduce a solo competition. Planning then began for the Inaugural year of the solo comp in 1993 on the Mother’s Day weekend.
When the Ballarat Calisthenic College closed in 2005, the competition continued as a committee run, not for profit competition. We returned to the original spelling of our wonderful town by adding the “aa” to the name Ballaarat.
The Solo Competition provides a platform for Graceful and Calisthenic soloists of all ages to display their talent. Our competitors come from all over Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. In 2016, duos sections were introduced, followed in 2023 by trios.
Overall, we have had a total of 7299 competitors. That means 14,598 pairs of feet have performed on our Ballarat stages over our 30 years. The number of participants shows the eagerness of those who want to participate, despite the changes to rules that governed which competitions students could enter.
Until 2015, Llyod & Lorraine Harvey were the official photographers for our competitions. After their retirement, we welcomed the WinkiPop Media team; Shaun Patterson, Emma Sbarbella and Robin Landrum. Between 2016 and 2019, we offered DVDs of the competitors performance, created by Matthew Heenan and Nick Hill.
In 2017 we celebrated 25 years of the Solo Competition at Wendouree Centre of Performing Arts, which has been the “home” of our competition since 2007.
Ballarat Calisthenic College Inc
Sadly, after a proud 47-year history the Ballarat Calisthenic College closed in 2005, though the committee agreed to continue running the solo competitions. It was at this time that we adopted the original spelling of Ballarat, and became known as the Ballaarat Solo Competitions Inc. With the help of many family and friends the competition has flourished.
In honour of the Ballarat Calisthenic College, each year at the Royal South Street Eisteddfod, we donate a perpetual and replica trophy to the winner of Division 6 Inters Aesthetics. This was the last placing earned by the club before it closed.
In 2012, we celebrated our 20th year, and gave out many service awards to the solo committee. Committee member Krystle De Pyle (Williams) baked 350 cupcakes as part of our birthday celebrations, one given to each competitor. We invited past committee members, as well as Joy Smith (DEC) and Gwenda Lucas from CV.
The year that all entries became digitalized we joined the social media scene with a new website and Facebook account.
In 2013 we welcomed volunteers from the Jayde Calisthenic Club to assist with our ever-growing competition. Our schedule had become so site that in 2014, time restrictions forced a decision to cancel the 17 years Graceful Novice and we had the unenviable task contacting each competitor to inform them. This was also the year that we asked our local business to become part of the trophy process.
Until 2015, Krystle and Julie were operating as co-convenors. Krystle moved to Melbourne for work and Julie continued as sole Convenor.