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Marilyn Rowe to retire as director of the Australian Ballet School

Cory Zanoni

Marilyn Rowe will retire as Director of the Australian Ballet School at the end of next year, ending an era in dance.
Marilyn Rowe to retire as director of the Australian Ballet School

 Marilyn Rowe will retire as Director of the Australian Ballet School at the end of next year, ending an era in dance.

Rowe's life trajectory measures that of the School, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary as she retires.

Aged just 17, she was one of the Australian Ballet School's first students before  She became a principal artist with the Australian Ballet, at the express wish of the founding artistic director of the Australian Ballet, Dame Peggy van Praagh, after a relatively short time as a student.

Rowe, who was awarded an OBE for her services to dance, has spoken about growing up in the cradle of the Australian Ballet and has been instrumental in shaping the next generation of dancers.

She was a leading light on Australian stages, in particular with partner Kelvin Coe, but has also sufferred her share of tragedy. Her husband Chris Maver died in a plane crash while she was pregnant with their first child.

She has been an outspoken force for excellence, defending the concept of elite arts against democratising mediocrity.  'I think we have to look at the word 'elite'. I mean, we're allowed to say athletes are elite but it just means they're very good. But you're not allowed to say it about the arts because of the perception, and it's just the same thing, it's just excellence. Elite athletes, elite dancers,' Rowe told George Negus in 2004.


About the author

Cory Zanoni writes essays and poetry but invariably draws little comics over his work. He complains about this behaviour on Twitter: @cjzanoni

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