Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre

Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre

Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre members including Phillip Langley, Richard Talonga, Paul Kyle and Steven Christian (photograph by Lee Chittick, courtesy National Library of Australia - nla.pic-an12823436)

Location: St James Hall, 153 Bridge Road, Glebe

The Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre was established in 1975 as a full-time training program to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take up professional dance. It launched the careers of many dancers and performers, and raised the profile of Aboriginal dance on the international stage.

Under the guidance of the founding Director, American-born Carole Johnson, the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre was based at St James Church Hall in Glebe. It was both a training school, teaching traditional and contemporary dance styles, and a performance company.

Following the departure of Carole Johnson in 1989, there was a greater focus on performance. Raymond Blanco was appointed as the first Aboriginal Artistic Director of the dance company in place of Johnson in 1989 and he remained at the helm for 10 years. Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre continued performing until the late 1990s.

Further reading

Zoe Pollock, ‘Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre’, Dictionary of Sydney, 2008, http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/aboriginal_and_islander_dance_theatre, viewed 24 September 2013

Raymond Blanco, ‘Creating Pathways: Keynote Speech’ in Dance Forum, Volume 15, Issue 4, Summer 2005, pp 14–15