Dancing under the Southern Skies

A History of Ballet in Australia

Valerie Lawson

A history of Ballet in Australia by a leading Arts writer. The author explores the influence of renowned touring troupes like Les Ballet Russes and international stars including Anna Pavlova and Margot Fonteyn, and describes the emergence of characteristically Australian and also Indigenous dance forms in a vivid narrative. Richly illustrated.
Date Published :
August 2020
Publisher :
No associated books available.


A vivid narrative history of Ballet in Australia, Valerie Lawson’s Dancing Under the Southern Skies goes far beyond what audiences see on stage to reveal what has been behind the red velvet curtain. The lives of the dancers who toured to Australia, among them Anna Pavlova and Margot Fonteyn, and of those who stayed and of those who created companies in Australia, are presented in a fascinating mosaic of interviews, letters and personal stories from dancers, directors, producers, impresarios and critics. Lawson also paints portraits of those who influenced Australian culture over nine decades, among them Laurence Olivier, Edouard Borovansky, Peggy van Praagh, Paul Keating and Graeme Murphy, and tells how the nation escaped from cultural dependence on Britain, fell in love with ballet troupes from the Soviet Union, and then watched the birth of the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Dance Company, Bangarra (Indigenous) Dance Theatre and many other dance companies.

About The Author

Valerie Lawson is an author and journalist, former arts editor of the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ and foundation editor of that paper’s weekend magazine, ‘Good Weekend’. She launched her website, dancelines.com.au, in 2011, has written three non-fiction books, ‘Connie Sweetheart’, ‘The Allens Affair’ and ‘Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P L Travers’ and writes freelance articles for the Australian Ballet and international ballet companies that tour to Australia, including the Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet.

More from this publisher