Presented by Ausdance

Dame Margaret Scott DBE

  • Photographer: Roy McAuley

Margaret played a pivotal role in the formation of the Australian Ballet in 1962 and then as Founding Director of the Australian Ballet School.

Her vision for the School was revolutionary because she was equally concerned to develop the dancers’ intellect as well as their technique. She acknowledged and encouraged self-expression, individuality and creativity.

Dame Margaret has involved herself in almost all of the major developments in dance education in this country since the mid 1960s, including the establishment of Ausdance. A graduate of RMIT University, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education by that institution in recognition of her outstanding achievements as a dance and arts educator. Other awards include her appointment as an Officer, and subsequently Dame Commander, of the Order of the British Empire, Dame Commander and a Companion of the Order of Australia. Margaret’s influence on dance and dancers in this country is immeasurable.

Valrene Tweedie OAM

  • Photographer: From the collection of Ausdance National

Valrene’s performance career began as a very young dancer with Ballets Russes companies, with whom she toured extensively during the 1940s.

She later established herself as a highly respected ballet teacher and choreographer. Valrene was the third artistic director of the National Theatre Ballet and, until its demise in 1955, she choreographed, danced in and restaged some of the Ballet Russes repertoire for it. She also choreographed for Tivoli revues and the Elizabethan Opera Ballet Company and worked in educational ballet programs for the National Theatre Movement.

For many decades Valrene was a much-loved teacher in Sydney and became actively involved in the Cecchetti Society. She established Ballet Australia in 1960 to facilitate and encourage the creation of new Australian choreography, and choreographed many diverse works of her own in her efforts to find a movement style expressive of the Australian experience.

The 2020 Awards are grateful for the support of these sponsors and partners.

Find out more