Presented by Ausdance

Shirley McKechnie AO

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  • Photographer: from the Ausdance National collection

Shirley’s influence as a pioneer and teacher of contemporary dance in Australia spreads far and wide.


After dancing and teaching for many years, Shirley founded and directed Australian Contemporary Dance Theatre, completed an honours degree in English literature and then founded and directed the first degree course in dance studies in1975 at Rusden College (now Deakin University). Shirley was also a co-founder of Ausdance, a founding Chair of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia, founder of the Green Mill Dance Project, and a member of the research team for a three year-study titled Conceiving Connections, which built on the research project Unspoken Knowledges.

Shirley has received numerous awards including a Kenneth Myer Medallion for the Performing Arts, the Ausdance 21 Award for outstanding and distinguished service, an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education, and was elected an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1998. She is loved and respected by her colleagues, peers and students all over the country.

The 2018 Awards are grateful for the support of these sponsors and partners.

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