Ancestors & Anecdotes

A unique exhibition exploring Australian contemporary dance through the lens of five pioneers.

The exhibition Ancestors and Anecdotes opened concurrently with the Australian Dance Awards. It pays homage to the invaluable work of Australia’s dance pioneers and the manner in which their legacy endures today. Held at the Lulu Gallery in North Melbourne, exhibition focused on five legendary dance pioneers, Carole Johnson, Cheryl Stock AM, Margaret Lasica (via the perspective of her daughter Shelley), Shirley McKechnie AO and Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM.

In partnership with Delving into Dance, a podcast in dance research, each of these pioneers were interviewed and throughout the exhibition photos that complement their journey were featured. With the generous donation of the catalogues from Jeff Busby and Gregory Lorenzutti, Ancestors and Anecdotes pays homage to these five women, the careers they have led and the people they have instructed.

Photographic works and mementos ranged from companies from Bangarra Dance Theatre, Dancenorth, Phillip Adams Balletlab, Danceworks and Chunky Move. There was also a Western Australian focused installation featuring Ausdance WA’s Oral History Project. This exhibition was organised by Ausdance VIC with the generous donations of artists’ personal collections across Australia including a film by Australian Dance Theatre alum Jennifer Barry Knox’s  “Dancers with Dirty Feet” which is currently at the Smithsonian Institute in New York City.