Nanette’s contribution to Australian dance has been extraordinary—as performer, choreographer, director and teacher. After a distinguished career overseas with Merce Cunningham Company and Richard Alston’s Strider in London, Nan returned to Australia and was one of the exciting young choreographers at the 1976 Armidale choreographic seminars, along with Graeme Murphy. With Russell Dumas she formed Dance Exchange where they did some of the earliest practice-based dance research in Australia. Nan then formed Danceworks in Melbourne to encourage younger choreographers and nurture their talents. Choreographers emerging from this ‘laboratory’ have included many of today’s mid-career choreographers, particularly those based in Melbourne.
Nanette has taught at Deakin University, where she established an integrated performing arts program with James McCaughey, Rusden State College and the Victorian College of the Arts. Nan’s work as head of dance at WAAPA (since 1995) has been similarly influential, where she continues to employ and nurture young choreographers and to train outstanding dancers who are in demand both in Australia and abroad. Her legacy is vast and precious. Nan received an Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education in 2002 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Ausdance WA in 2007.