50 Years

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50 Years of Australian Dance Theatre
A celebration of innovation

The Beginning

1965
Elizabeth Cameron Dalman founds the Australian Dance Theatre, aiming to ‘open the horizons for provocative contemporary dance’. The premiere performance takes place in Adelaide’s new Shedley Theatre. Critics are divided over the company’s new and adventurous approach, but audiences are enthralled from the beginning.

1967
The Elizabeth Dalman School of Modern Dance begins, attracting up to 300 students a week. Education is a key component of the Australian Dance Theatre from the start, with workshops, educational programs and open discussions before and after performances. The School also helps fund the theatre.

Over the next decade, the company builds a substantial repertoire and win an Australian audience base, attracting government funding. The company also wins international acclaim with tours to North America, Europe, Asia, India, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

Growth and Change

1977
Jonathan Taylor is appointed artistic director. A former dancer from renowned UK company Ballet Rambert, he brings a distinctive style that revitalises the company. He creates a highly regarded body of work including Wildstars and Transfigured Night.

Ballet Victoria also ceases operations after 30 years. In a first-of-its-kind agreement, Australian Dance Theatre acts as the contemporary dance company for both South Australia and Victoria until 1984.

1980
Australian Dance Theatre becomes the first Australian company invited to perform at the Edinburgh Festival.

1985
As the company seeks a new director, former Adelaide Festival Director Anthony Steel and in-house Rehearsal Director Lenny Westerdijk are appointed artistic caretakers.

1986
Molissa Fenley’s Descent into the Maelstrom is presented as part of the Adelaide Festival.

1987
Leigh Warren is appointed as Artistic Director. A student of the Australian Ballet School, Warren became the first Australian performer to receive a Churchill Scholarship, forging his dance career with Ballet Rambert, Nederlands Dance Theater and Rudolf Nureyev before becoming a freelance choreographer. Warren’s aim is to ‘develop a truly Australian form of dance that expresses our culture’ and invites other Australians to create work for Australian Dance Theatre – Kate Champion and Graeme Murphy answer the call. A collaboration with America’s William Forsythe also comes to fruition.

The Tankard Era

1993
With a background honed in Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wupperthal, Meryl Tankard is appointed artistic director, and bringing her own unique new style.

Through works such as Furioso and Aurora she introduces a range of additional performance elements to the company, including acrobatics, mime and image projection. It wins over audiences world over, finding particular success in Germany.

1995
Elizabeth Cameron Dalman is awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to contemporary dance.

1999
Meryl Tankard departs from Australian Dance Theatre, and Bill Pengelly steps in as an interim artistic director until the appointment of Garry Stewart. During his time at the helm Pengelly produces two programs of new choreography, including Split.

New Horizons

2000
Artistic Director Garry Stewart’s first piece is Housedance, performed on the western sails of the Sydney Opera House for the Millennium Broadcast in 2000.

Stewart creates a distinctive new dance vocabulary for the company, incorporating photography, video, robotics and other forms of new media. His ground-breaking work Birdbrain becomes the most performed work in the history of contemporary Australian dance.

Today

Australian Dance Theatre has undergone a renaissance, winning 28 industry awards since 2002.

Firmly established as one of the world’s best known dance companies, it continues to perform to thousands across the globe. Garry Stewart’s ongoing and passionate interest in film, text, and multimedia mean the company is at the forefront of exploration of contemporary performance, the boundaries of the body and its modes of expression. 2014 saw the premiere of Multiverse, a major new live 3D performance, and the foundation of an Australian Dance Theatre Youth Ensemble.

In June 2015 we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We concluded a highly successful European season of Multiverse. With all sold out shows across France and Spain. We attended the Founder’s Celebration in Adelaide Arcade – the original ADT studios, organised by Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM.

We hope you can join us in appreciating a unique artistic achievement. Our founder, Dr. Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, is our anniversary patron.

What’s On

January 2017

Date

Venue

Program

Bookings

30 - 30 Jan ADT Studios - 126 Belair Road, Hawthorn Youth Ensemble audition more info

1 - 31 Jan Second Stage Development The Beginning of Nature

February 2017

Date

Venue

Program

Bookings

18 - 18 Feb ACMI Proximity Interactive - White Night Melbourne Free event

March 2017

Date

Venue

Program

Bookings

2 - 31 Mar Art Gallery of South Australia Doppelganger As part of the Versus Rodin exhibition

31 - 31 Mar Art Gallery of South Australia ADT Youth Ensemble - Teen Takeover Free event. Register via AGSA

April 2017

Date

Venue

Program

Bookings

1 - 31 Mar Art Gallery of South Australia Doppelganger As part of the Versus Rodin exhibition

26 - 26 Apr ADT Studios 126 Belair Road, Hawthorn Rough Draft Entry by donation. Register your seats here.

June 2017

Date

Venue

Program

Bookings

1 - 17 Mar Art Gallery of South Australia Doppelganger As part of the Versus Rodin exhibition

18 Jun ADT Studios - 126 Belair Road, Hawthorn Body Image: the basis of who we are and how we act - workshop Click here to book

August 2017

Date

Venue

Program

Bookings

15 - 12 Sep National Tour - QLD, NSW, VIC Be Your Self Click here for full details

2 - 5 Aug The Sumner, Southbank Theatre Melbourne Be Your Self Southbank Theatre
03 8688 0800

September 2017

Date

Venue

Program

Bookings

18 - 22 Sep ADT Studios, Adelaide Secondment Week Applications are now open
(08) 8373 7733

Support

Creating art is an intensive process requiring the resources, expertise and support of a network of individuals and organisations.

Australian Dance Theatre relies on the valuable support of its sponsors, stakeholders, members, friends and donors who share the company’s passionate commitment to furthering Australian culture and artists.

News & Media

Body Image: the basis of who we are and how we act – workshop - 25 April, 2017

Body Image: the basis of who we are and how we act. Workshop – Sunday 18 June 10.00am-4:30pm, held at ADT Studios 126 Belair Road, Hawthorn. Join Associate Professor Susan Hillier of the University of South Australia for a special workshop for anyone interested in body image – clinicians, dancers, actors, yoga teachers, students, or… View Article

A look back on 2016 - 23 December, 2016

As we reflect on what has been a huge and exciting year for the company, we sincerely thank all our valued sponsors and supporters for ensuring that we are able to continue to create and perform new work, play a leading role as a cultural ambassador for Australia, and provide opportunities for the future generation… View Article

Erin Fowler residency - 23 December, 2016

The company were pleased to invite local independent artist and Artistic Director of The Mill Adelaide, Erin Fowler to the studios for a week-long residency to further develop her work Epoch, on the dancers of ADT. Epoch first premiered in 2016 as part of ADT’s Ignition season. This week our dancers have been training in Erin’s distinctive… View Article

Gabrielle Nankivell ‘Split Second Heroes’ Studio Showing - 27 October, 2016

The company were thrilled to welcome former ADT dancer and celebrated independent choreographer Gabrielle Nankivell into the ADT studios for a week-long residency. Together with the ADT dancers and other independents in the sector she is further developing her piece Split Second Heroes in a research lab setting. Split Second Heroes is a technicolour action-adventure starring everyone’s favourite… View Article

Botis Seva residency - 24 October, 2016

In June 2016 Garry Stewart featured as a guest judge for the Hanover Ballet Society’s annual International Competition for Choreographers, supported by the Tanja Liedtke Foundation. Tanja Liedtke was a former dancer with ADT in the late 90s and early 2000s, performing in various works for the company. Botis Seva, a London based choreographer, was awarded first… View Article


News Archive

16 October, 2015
MALAGA – by Thomas Fonua

26 February, 2014
Thinking Brains & Bodies

16 December, 2013
Looking back on 2013