DALMAN, Elizabeth Cameron

Born: 1934

Special Achievements:

Elizabeth Cameron Dalman was the pioneer of contemporary dance in Australia.  She was the founder of the Australian Dance Theatre, this country’s first professional modern dance company and was the company's artistic from 1965-75.

Additional Information:

Elizabeth began her dance training with Nora Stewart with whom she studied both classical ballet and Margaret Morris modern dance technique. After part-time study in Arts at the Adelaide University, she left Australia in 1957 and continued her dance studies in London, Europe and New York. In the the late 1950s and early 1960s she danced and taught in Holland. Subsequently Elizabeth appeared with the Pomare company in New York and in concerts for new choreographers in New York in 1966 and 1968.

Elizabeth returned to Australia in 1963 and established her own school of dance in Adelaide, which she directed until 1975. Then, in 1965, with Kevin Roberts as production manager, she founded Australian Dance Theatre. Dalman was the company's artistic artistic director from 1965 until 1975 and as its main choreographer she created over 30 works frequently using commissioned scores from Australian composers and designs by Australian artists. Works choreographed by Elizabeth for Australian Dance Theatre include Hallucinations (1966), This Train (1966), Landscape (1967), Sundown (1967), Sun and Moon (1968), Homage to Boticelli (1969), Creation (1969), and Release of an Oath (1972). Elizabeth regularly undertook international tours with the company including in 1968 to Italy, Switzerland and Holland, in 1971 throughout South East Asia, India and Papua New Guinea, and to New Zealand in 1972. Elizabeth was dismissed from the position of director of Australian Dance Theatre in 1975 and spent the next ten years in Europe, mainly in Italy, where she founded a dance school in Ventimiglia and a youth dance theatre.

On her return to Australia in 1986 she began a career as a mature artist both in performance and choreography and since then has created both solo and group shows. In 1990 she founded the Mirramu Creative Arts Centre at Lake George, Bungendore in New South Wales, from where she has created a number of site specific works. She is the chairperson for Weereewa - A Festival of Lake George and was an integral part of the mentoring program at the Australian Choreographic Centre where she worked with visiting artists.

Elizabeth has been the recipient of numerous awards, including an Australian Artists Creative Fellowship in 1994, a Medal if the Order of Australia in 1995, and the award for lifetime achievement at the inaugural Australian Dance Awards in 1997.