Robina Beard OAM, Chair of the Australian Dance Awards (ADA) committee has announced the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Athol Willoughby OAM in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the dance profession in Australia for over 65 years.
85 years young, Willoughby has had a long and distinguished career as one of Australia’s leading ballet dancers and teachers, connecting him with significant developments in mid-century Australian ballet, with major figures such as Walter Gore and Valrene Tweedie, and as an adjudicator and examiner for Cecchetti Ballet Australia.
Willoughby who is still devoted to dance was both “delighted and overwhelmed” by the award which he will receive in person on Saturday 8th September at the official Awards ceremony at Brisbane Powerhouse.
Beard also announced the list of innovative and established dance companies whose talent will be showcased as part of the ADA special event: Aboriginal Centre of Performing Arts (ACPA); Elements Collective; Expressions Dance Company; Phluxus2 Dance Collective; Sprung! Integrated Dance Theatre (Northern Rivers NSW); and Queensland Ballet.
The annual Awards shed a new light on the art form by increasing the profiles of Australian artists through a celebration of excellence and diversity. The awards specifically recognise the vast diversity of the dance profession that is within our society, acknowledging and rewarding those whose achievements increase the benchmark of dance in Australia.
Image: Valrene Tweedie and Athol Willoughby in Le coq d’or. National Theatre Ballet 1955 – photo by Walter Stringer