Elizabeth Cameron Dalman has frequently been described as the high priestess of Australian dance. Elizabeth trained in both classical ballet and modern dance with Nora Stewart, later obtaining a Masters of Creative Arts degree from University of Wollongong.
Elizabeth left Australia in 1957, continuing her studies in Europe, London and New York. She studied with Martha Graham, James Truitte, Murray Louis and Alwin Nikilais.
In 1965, Elizabeth founded the Australian Dance Theatre. As the artistic director she introduced Australian audiences to a diverse range of works including: Hallucinations (1966), This Train (1966), Landscape (1967), Sundown (1967), Sun and Moon (1968), Homage to Boticelli (1969), Creation (1969), and Release of an Oath (1972). The company toured internationally, including to Italy, Switzerland and Holland (1968), through South East Asia, India and Papua New Guinea (1971), and to New Zealand (1972).
Her works were innovative and often controversial, introducing her dancers to visual artists, composers, writers and a range of other artistic disciplines. These types of collaborations were unique for their time, challenging preconceptions about dance as an art form and what was possible into the future.
In 1975, Elizabeth’s career changed sudden change in ADT restructuring and became an independent artist throughout Europe for 10 years.
Elizabeth has continued dancing and challenging ideas that dance is just for the young. Elizabeth is a central feature in Sue Healey’s incredible film En Route. Elizabeth is currently Director of Mirramu Creative Arts Centre and also the Artistic Director of Mirramu Dance Company and WEEREEWA – a Festival of Lake George Inc.
Elizabeth completed her doctorate at the University of Western Sydney in 2012 with a thesis entitled The Quest for an Australian Dance Theatre.
Elizabeth was awarded an OAM in 1995 for her contribution to contemporary dance in Australia and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Dance Awards in 1997.
Activist, visionary and all-round inspiration.
Read more about female leadership in dance from Jordan Beth Vincent.
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