Presented by Ausdance

Dame Peggy van Praagh

  • Photographer: Courtesy National Library of Australia

Peggy began dancing and performing very early in life and attracted her first press coverage by the age of six!

She danced with Ballet Rambert and Antony Tudor’s London Ballet, creating roles and performing in some of Tudor’s best known works. Peggy taught company classes for Sadler’s Wells Ballet, danced in a number of their productions, and staged ballets and taught classes extensively throughout England, Canada, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway in the 1950s.

The first Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, Peggy developed a repertoire of ballets that included works from the established international repertoire, as well as commissioned works from Australian and overseas choreographers. She led many successful tours and nurtured the development of Australian choreographers such as Graeme Murphy, Ian Spink, John Meehan and Leigh Warren. Peggy was an exceptional teacher and a tireless advocate for dance, leaving a long-lasting legacy for dance in Australia, and as one of the founders of Ausdance.

Carole Johnson

  • Photographer: Roy McAuley

Originally from America, Carole played a key role in helping Australians discover the richness of its Indigenous dance.

A dance, teacher, arts administrator and activist, Carol came to Australia in 1972 as a principal with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company. For over 35 years she has worked with the Australian indigenous people. As founding Director of the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA), Carol shaped a vision that enabled young urban Aboriginal and Islander people to study their cultural heritage while preparing for viable careers in dance.

In 1988 Carol established Bangarra Dance Theatre Australia, our first independent Aboriginal and Islander dance company. She has developed arts programs in isolated communities, has written and presented lectures about her involvement with Aboriginal dance, arts, culture and resistance.

Edouard Borovansky

  • Photographer: Alec Murry, 1944. Courtesy of National Library of Australia

Czech-born Edouard Borovansky came to Australia in 1929 as a dancer with the company of Anna Pavlova, and then in 1938 with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet.

He remained in Australia and with his wife Xenia, established first a ballet school and then a company in Melbourne, which eventually became The Australian Ballet. The company’s first fully professional season was in 1944 when it received backing from the J.C.Williamson organisation. Borovansky choreographed many works for his company, but also encouraged choreography from members of his own company.

Borovansky was naturalised as an Australian in 1946 and his contribution to dance in Australia is inestimable. He provided Australian audiences with their main exposure to Western theatrical dance for two decades and paved the way for the development of a national company.

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

Find out more