This interview is with Shelley Lasica, daughter of pioneering Melbourne dance choreographer and teacher, Margaret Lasica (1926-1993). Shelley herself is an amazing contributor to the performing arts scene as a successful choreographer and performer.
Born in Vienna, Margret migrated to Australia with her family in 1939. During the 1940s, Margaret studied with Ruth Bergner. Bergner’s work had a political and social undercurrent, drawing upon European and Jewish dance traditions to create modern dance performances. Margret drew influence from Bergner’s work.
In 1967, she founded the Modern Dance Ensemble (MDE). MDE performed up until 1981 and then intermittently until 1990. Margret is noted in history as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Her teaching was exceptional and she fostered a range of incredible talent. Margret was a significant influence on Lloyd Newson, who went on to establish DV8 in the UK.
During her life Margret sought to document the history of Modern Dance in Australia. This is collated in the National Library of Australia’s manuscript collection: Margaret Lasica Papers. The University of Melbourne also holds The Margaret Lasica Collection; a collection of books, journals and ephemera relating to her life.
Margret died in 1993, leaving behind an amazing legacy.
This is a warm and detailed interview covering Margret’s career and ongoing legacy through the recollections of Shelley. Interview conducted by: Jonathan Homsey from Ausdance Victoria.
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