2015 Australian Dance Award Winners

The 2015 Australian Dance Awards were announced and presented at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide on Saturday 12 September. Congratulations to the winners and all the shortlisted nominees!

Hall of Fame Inductees

Marilyn Jones OBE

Marilyn Jones OBE, Australia’s first new prima ballerina of The Australian Ballet is an iconic figure of dance. From her first season with the company to her last, she sustained an innately lyrical aesthetic. Marilyn’s warmth and humility in such classics as Swan Lake, Raymonda, Sleeping Beauty and, perhaps above all, Giselle with her (then) husband Garth Welch, made her a favourite with audiences nationally and abroad.

Following her performance career, Marilyn taught at the National Theatre Ballet School and was artistic director of The Australian Ballet (1979-1982), where she established the Dancers Company involving final year students of The Australian Ballet School. In 1995 she became Artistic Director of the National Theatre School, and later, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Classical Dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Today Marilyn is the artistic director of the Australian Institute of Classical Dance, which she established to produce a new Australian ballet-training syllabus. In 1996 she launched the much-valued Dance Creation competition for emerging choreographers. Marilyn continues to lead the Institute’s valuable work, which comprises workshops for students, teachers’ seminars, examinations, scholarship competitions and residencies at the Royal New Zealand Ballet School and the Houston Ballet School in Texas USA.

One of our greatest classical dancers, Marilyn has inspired and influenced generations of young dancers throughout her distinguished life in dance.

Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM

Nationally and internationally renowned as a choreographer, teacher and performer, Elizabeth has been passionate and dedicated to dance and the arts for her entire life. Part of a generation of artists seeking a spiritual and holistic way of expressing themselves, she has helped to define Australia's cultural identity and expression in the modern world and has made a significant and lasting impact on the development of Australian contemporary dance.

Originally trained in Adelaide, Elizabeth left to study with remarkable choreographers before returning to found and lead Australian Dance Theatre, following which she taught and choreographed in Europe before returning to the freelance life in Australia and founding Mirramu Creative Arts Centre in New South Wales. She continues to dance, teach and choreograph around the world.

A visionary as well as a pioneer, Elizabeth has always been an advocate of human rights—as expressed in her many creative works—actively supporting Aboriginal rights, women's rights, the environment and contemporary arts. Leading a generation of artists who were seeking a spiritual and holistic pathway through their art in order to communicate and explore ways to interpret the world, she has contributed to defining Australia's diverse cultural identity and has made a significant and lasting impact on the development of Australian contemporary dance.

Lifetime Achievement

Marilyn Rowe OBE

After an outstanding career as an internationally acclaimed principal artist with The Australian Ballet, Marilyn dedicated her life to The Australian Ballet School and its students, helping shape the future of young dancers through her leadership, vision and innovative education programs. Marilyn has been instrumental in developing a world-class unique dance training institution that produces distinctly Australian dancers who have learned through a holistic educational program which balances technique, artistry, academic education and student care. She is the driving force behind the establishment of Marilyn Rowe House, a residence for The Australian Ballet School. 

Marilyn performed and created a phenomenal body of work in her performing years, equally outstanding in both classical and contemporary techniques. Her reputation in the latter was forged, when American choreographer Glen Tetley chose Marilyn, Alida Chase, John Meehan and Gary Norman for his ground breaking ballet, Gemini in 1973. Also that year she formed an acclaimed partnership with Kelvin Coe, with whom she won the prize for most outstanding couple, as well as individual silver medals, at the Moscow International Ballet Competition. Her talent inspired other choreographers who illuminated the most brilliant partnerships: with John Meehan in The Merry Widow (Ronald Hynd) and Gary Norman in Anna Karenina (André Prokovsky) as did John Cranko’s existing ballets, Romeo and Juliet and Onegin.

A multi-award winning performer, artist, director and teacher, Marilyn’s legacy to dance, dance education and to Australian arts and culture is far reaching and will be long-lasting. Her contribution has been acknowledged with her appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1980 for her services to ballet in Australia.

Services to Dance

Jeff Busby

For his generosity and extraordinary talent in capturing the spirit of dance and dancers through his brilliant photographs, and his skill in collaborating and discovering new ways to present dance through visual media.

Services to Dance Education

Tanya Pearson OAM

For her dedication to excellent teaching for over 50 years, for expanding her students’ vision through exposure to the international classical ballet world, and for a truly lasting legacy.

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance

STEPS Youth Dance Company for Fights & Flights

For a well-constructed work that was polished, powerful, poignant and a real celebration of youth dance, and for a confident, impressive performance by a cohesive ensemble.

Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance

Tracks Dance Company for Milpirri (Jarda–Warnpa)

For a large-scale, captivating, cross-cultural dance performance fusing contemporary and traditional dance, championing reconciliation and uniting people in a wonderful celebration of dance and community.

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

Narelle Benjamin for Hiding in Plain Sight

For beautifully sculpted and clever choreography presenting a fascinating exploration of identity, displacement, loss and mortality, and for a wonderful blend of film, photography, lighting and dance. 

Outstanding Performance by a Company

Queensland Ballet for Romeo & Juliet

For a captivating production that demonstrated excellent solo and ensemble work, brilliant costumes, sets and designs, and a unified company performance that was of an international standard.

Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance

Torque Show and Michelle Ryan with Lavender vs Rose for Intimacy

For an exquisite, compelling and immersive production exploring intimacy and human relationships within disability in a personal, honest and provocative dance theatre performance.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer

Lucinda Dunn OAM for Manon [The Australian Ballet]

For an outstanding and radiant performance that showed flawless technique, artistry and intelligence; a masterful portrayal of the metamorphosis from innocent to fallen woman.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer

Waangenga Blanco for Patyegarang [Bangarra Dance Theatre]

For his impressive physicality, exceptional dance technique, powerful characterisation and a magnetism and integrity that commands attention.

Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance, Musicals or Physical Theatre

Gravity & Other Myths for A Simple Space

For a thrilling hour of daring feats of balance, strength and skill, impressive teamwork and creativity, astounding acrobatics, and some dangerous and original choreography.

Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media

Claire Marshall for Ward of State

For a bold and engaging collaboration of dance and music with wonderful choreography and outstanding editing, direction and production.

The 2016 Australian Dance Awards will be presented by Ausdance WA and Harlequin Floors at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia on Sunday 18 September.

Visit the Australian Dance Awards website for past winners and more information.