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Dame Peggy Van Praagh OBE DBE

Peggy would be proud of the Australian Ballet Company she began nearly 48 years ago.

Honour Roll

An internationally recognised dancer, teacher, producer and director, Dame Peggy came to Australia in 1960, aged 50, to direct the Borovansky Ballet. Her vision, perseverance and courage changed the course of the future of ballet in Australia.

Dame Peggy was instrumental in the push for a national dance company and in 1962 The Australian Ballet was born. Dame Peggy was appointed inaugural Artistic Director, a position she held for 12 years. During her tenure, she shaped a company with a distinctly Australian style. She supported the development of new Australian works, staged the first international tour and brought the world's greatest dancers to Australia. Dame Peggy ensured job security for the dancers providing them with full-time annual contracts, which was unprecedented in Australia at the time.

In 1964, Dame Peggy established The Australian Ballet School in Melbourne and its graduates include many of today's leading choreographers, dancers and directors. As a result The Australian Ballet is now one of the busiest ballet companies in the world, renowned worldwide for its versatility and excellence.

Dame Peggy also played a leading role in dance education and helped establish the advocacy body Ausdance. She also coordinated the dance studies program at the West Australian Academy of the Performing Arts at the Edith Cowan University.

Peggy was awarded an officer of the Order of the British Empire OBE, in 1966 and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, DBE in 1970.