Nanette Hassall is the 2012 recipient of the Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement. This Award honours the career and achievements of an outstanding senior figure in the Australian dance community who has dedicated at least 40 years to dance as a performer, choreographer, advocate, educator, administrator or visionary.
Robina Beard OAM, chair of the Australian Dance Awards advisory panel, said:
Nanette has been a major contributor to the development of Australian dance for more than 40 years. Her career as a dancer, choreographer, founding artistic director of Danceworks, teacher, mentor and head of dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts has been inspirational and influential.
After a distinguished career overseas with Merce Cunningham Company and Richard Alston's Strider in London, Ms Hassall returned to Australia and was one of the exciting young choreographers at the 1976 Armidale choreographic seminars, along with Graeme Murphy. With Russell Dumas she formed Dance Exchange where they did some of the earliest practice-based dance research in Australia. Nanette then formed Danceworks in Melbourne to encourage younger choreographers and to nurture their talents.
Nanette has taught at Deakin University, where she established an intergrated performing arts program with James McCaughey, Rusden State College and the Victorian College of the Arts. She is currently Head of the Dance Department at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts where she continues to employ and nurture young choreographers and to train outstanding dancers who are in demand both in Australia and abroad.
Michelle Saunders, Director Ausdance WA said:
Nanette's... career spans decades and she has excelled in many different roles—as performer, choreographer, director and teacher...It is truly wonderful that she has been honoured in this way and at a time when the Australian Dance Awards are being held in Perth for the first time.
Nanette was presented with her Award at the Australian Dance Awards ceremony at the Heath Ledger Theatre in Perth on Saturday 1 September 2012.
For more information visit the Australian Dance Awards website.