Presented by Ausdance

Laurel Martyn OBE

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  • Photographer: Ronald Esler, 1944. Courtesy of National Library of Australia

Laurel had the vision and wisdom to create a system of teaching dance which steered away from the unimaginative teaching of a rigid syllabus, and focused on principles and purpose of movement, and creative expression.


Passionate about dance teaching and the education of dance teachers, Laurel has had significant influence on the Australian dance world.

She was the first woman to be accepted into Vic-Wells Ballet (later Sadler’s Wells Ballet) in 1936, and soon she was a featured soloist. She danced with Borovansky for five years, before establishing the Ballet Victoria Guild, (later the Victorian Ballet Company and then Ballet Victoria). She established a school to work alongside the company and for which she created many original works, often collaborating with Australian composers and designers. In her later years, Laurel continued to feature as a guest artist with The Australian Ballet.

Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM

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  • Photographer: Robert Guth

Elizabeth founded Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) in Adelaide and led the company for ten years as its Artistic Director and chief choreographer.


With a life-long passion and commitment to dance and creativity, Elizabeth has collaborated with many Australian composers and artists. She spent her early years studying and performing with greats such as Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Kurt Joos and Eleo Pomare. Arguably the “the founder of modern Australian dance”, Elizabeth’s radical and expressive dance presented by ADT in the 60s divided its audience. Her time in Adelaide however, undoubtedly saw a flourishing of public programs and workshops in modern dance techniques and improvisation.

Elizabeth continued to have a wonderful career outside of Australia after her time with ADT. She spent ten years in Europe, where she founded a dance school and a youth dance theatre, and also worked as a rehearsal director and dancer in Amsterdam and Holland. Back in Australia, Elizabeth established the Mirramu Creative Arts Centre in Bungendore where she has created a number of site-specific works. Elizabeth has never stopped creating and teaching and has influenced the lives of many young artists.

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