Studio 2 at the Ballet Centre was crowded with Society Members and their guests to listen to Marilyn Rowe, OBE, Director of The Australian Ballet School and Lisa Pavane, Deputy Director of the School talk about their careers  and their lives. Both these former Principal Artists of The Australian Ballet had interesting stories to tell and did so with sincerity and emotion and a dash of humour as well.

The audio and visual set-up in Studio 2 was ideal to show off the huge supply of beautiful photographs and film clips which even included a little footage of ‘Fille mal Gardee’ danced on the Bolshoi stage by Marilyn and the late Kelvin Coe in the Moscow International Ballet Competitions where they won a medal – the first Australian dancers to be so honoured.

We saw film of Lisa dancing ‘The Merry Widow’ with Steven Heathcote and Marilyn dancing the last act with John Meehan.  We saw Lisa dancing the last act solo of ‘Spartacus’.  There were photos of Marilyn coaching Lisa for ‘Nutcracker’ during a year when Marilyn acted as a mentor for the young dancer whom Marilyn believed even then would become a Principal Artist.

Marilyn spoke of her early retirement from performing following the loss of her husband in a plane crash and the birth of her son Chris.  She talked about the strike of the dancers and their request for her help which resulted in Marilyn being appointed as Artistic Advisor to the Company.

Lisa talked of her early training and entry into The Australian Ballet School followed by her early years in The Australian Ballet from 1981 and her promotion to Principal Artist.  She also spoke of her decision to move to English National Ballet in 1994 as a Principal until she retired from dancing in 1999. Lisa completed a Secretarial Course in 2001 and then return to Queensland to work for the next few years. In 2007 Lisa returned to Melbourne at Marilyn’s request and joined the staff of The Australian Ballet School.

Marilyn has announced her retirement from the School to take place at the end of 2014 which is the 50th Anniversary year of the School’s commencement and she is looking forward to lots of gardening and a change of lifestyle.

The evening finished with film of Marilyn in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Lisa in ‘Coppelia’ and Marilyn in ‘Swan Lake’.   There were quite a few tears from the audience but lots of joy as well as they relived some wonderful performances.







What an evening and the supper was scrumptious as usual thanks to the Society Committee!

Josie Woodgate OAM




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