The Australian Institute of Classical Dance (AICD), was formed in 1991 by Marilyn Jones O.B.E., following her receipt of a prestigious Creative Arts Fellowship from the Australian Government.
The original steering committee included: Marilyn Jones O.B.E., Garth Welch A.M., Terri Charlesworth, Vicki Fairfax, Lynne Haseldine, Janice Heale, Janet Karin, Patricia Laughlin, Margaret Markham, Laurel Martyn O.B.E., Dame Margaret Scott A.C. D.B.E., Susan Taylor, Valrene Tweedie O.A.M., and Gay Wightman.
It was set up to oversee and encourage the development of Australian classical ballet. The following year (June 1992) the Institute was incorporated and began trading as a not for profit organisation.
The aim of the AICD is to assist teachers, students and choreographers of classical dance in Australia by providing a national focus for the development of this important art form.
By co-operating with existing recognised dance organisations, it encourages research and the development of dance.
Since its inception, the AICD has aimed to provide a forum for discussion on all aspects of dance and actively lobbies for classical dance in the political and educational arena.
The AICD also acts as an assessment body, initiates workshops, runs summer schools, conventions and seminars and offers both National and International scholarships to Australian dancers and choreographers.
The Institute is a national organisation that has members in most states of Australia, it is under the control of the National Committee of Management, which oversees the running of events by the various sub-committees.
These sub-committees consist of branches in most states of the country including:
- New South Wales/ACT
- South Australia
- Western Australia
There are also Special Event committees to run:
- Dance Creation; which supports and promotes young choreographers
- Houston Ballet Academy Scholarship
- National Ballet Awards
- New Zealand School of Dance Scholarship
- Central Queensland Ballet Awards
- State based Ballet Awards
Another arm of the organisation is it’s syllabi. The Borovansky Syllabus; is an examination program aimed at improving the technique and artistry of its participants. This is a syllabus designed in Australia for young Australian dancers and all of the proceeds from examinations, goes back into the syllabus for future adjustments and improvements as well as ongoing teacher education.
In 2019, the Institute launched the Adult Assessment Programme aimed at the Adult Ballet student and designed for people who have no training in classical ballet, those who have been part of adult ballet classes for a year or two or individuals returning to ballet after a hiatus of many years. It has an age focus of pre-adult (16/17), through to the more mature-aged student.
Dance and movement are an integral part of the Arts, which impacts social and cultural development. Each one of us loves to feel carried away by the music and the movement that it can create. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche – “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once”.
The AICD is always looking at new, innovative ways in which they can encourage and support young dancers and choreographers in the development and expansion of their technical skills and artistry through further education in the art form.
Since its inception, the Institute has played an important and vital role in Australia’s cultural life.
AICD National Committee 2023
Kathleen Hamilton – Artistic Director
Ordinary Committee Members
Mark Brinkley O.A.M.
Marilyn Jones O.B.E.
Marilyn Jones as Odette in Swan Lake, The Australian Ballet, 1968
Photograph by Geoffrey Hales | NSW State Library
Marilyn Jones O.B.E., D.Mus. (Hon)
Marilyn Jones, former prima ballerina, established an enviable international reputation early in her distinguished career during which she danced with outstanding ballet luminaries such as Rudolph Nureyev, Garth Welch A.M., John Gilpin, John Meehan and Sir Robert Helpmann.
She is acclaimed for her interpretation of the great classics: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and Giselle, attaining the rank of Ballerina with the Borovansky Ballet and the Grand Ballet de Marquis de Cuevas. She was Prima Ballerina of The Australian Ballet from 1962-1971.
She has since made regular guest appearances with them as well as the Sydney Dance Company and the Queensland Ballet.
Following her performance career, Marilyn was engaged as Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet (1979-1982), where she established the Dancers Company, a touring branch of the Australian Ballet, involving graduate year students from The Australian Ballet School and young soloists from the company. This gave young dancers the performance experience before they joined or were promoted in the main company. Because of this initiation, Marilyn Jones created a more mature artistry for the Australian Ballet. She also took the company on two huge, overseas tours which brought international acclaim.
Marilyn was also appointed director at the National Theatre Ballet School, and later, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Classical Dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
In 1972 she was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to Ballet. She has received numerous awards: An Australian Creative Artists Fellowship from the Australian Council (1990), Honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Newcastle (1992) and a prestigious honour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House (1993) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to dance in this country. In 2009, Marilyn was the recipient of Green Room Awards Association; Lifetime Achievement Award and 2015, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Dance Awards.
Marilyn established the Australian Institute of Classical Dance in 1991 and as the Institute’s Artistic Director, she launched a new assessment based ballet-training program and was paramount in integrating the Borovansky Syllabus into the AICD; this was a syllabus very close to her heart, as she had danced with the Borovansky Company and became close friends with Edouard and Xenia Borovansky.
In 1996 Marilyn launched the much-valued Dance Creation competition for emerging choreographers and lead the Institute’s valuable work, comprising of workshops for students, teachers’ seminars, examinations, scholarship competitions and residencies at the New Zealand School of Dance and the Houston Ballet Academy in Texas USA.
Marilyn retired as Artistic Director of the Australian Institute of Classical Dance in 2021 but remains close to the organisation and via the AICD, is able to continue her valuable work and enrich the lives of our current and future Australian teachers, students, professional dancers and choreographers.