Australian Ballet School Founder passes away

Posted on: 26/2/2019 8:45AM

Founder of The Australian Ballet SchoolThe Australian Ballet School has announced that its Founding Director, Dame Margaret Scott AC DBE, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning. Director Lisa Pavane described Scott as a indomitable and passionate pioneer who made an extraordinary contribution to ballet, dance education and cultural life in Australia.


Leigh Johns OAM, Chair of the Board of Directors at The Australian Ballet School, stated, “We are incredibly sad to lose one of Australia’s greatest ever dance educators. She was a visionary and Australia’s great ballet tradition would not be what it is today without her pioneering work.”


In an email announcement, Pavane wrote, “It is impossible to tell the story of dance in Australia without her. As the Founding Director of The Australian Ballet School, she guided its development for almost three decades.” 


“As a student under her tutelage and care during the late 70s, I am indebted to her passion, dedication and commitment. She was my teacher, friend and mentor and I am deeply honoured to carry on her incredible legacy,” Pavane continued. 


The Australian Ballet SchoolDame Margaret Scott AC DBE was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She trained locally until age 17 when she went to London and successfully auditioned for Sadler's Wells Ballet School. She went on to professionally dance for Sadler's Wells Ballet and Ballet Rambert. Her career in Australia took off in the late 1940s. In 1949, Scott was a founding member of Gertrude Johnson's National Theatre Ballet in Melbourne. 


In the late 1950s, Scott took part in negotiations with the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust that led to the launch of The Australian Ballet in 1962. Scott and her husband, Professor Derek Denton AC, quickly began to dream up a strong and independent dance school. In March 1964 The Australian Ballet School opened its doors to its first students.


“From fostering the development of a distinctive Australian classical style and curriculum, through to the establishment of the School’s administration and facilities, Dame Margaret set the foundations of The Australian Ballet School, paving the way for the School to become one of the world’s top ballet training schools,” Pavane noted. 


Scott is survived by Denton and their two sons Matthew and Angus. Dance Informa sends our condolences to their family and the entire Australian Ballet School community. 


Photos courtesy of The Australian Ballet School Collection.



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