• Dame Lucette Aldous, Patron, Melbourne Academy of the Arts
Dame Lucette Aldous, Patron, Melbourne Academy of the Arts

New Zealand-born Lucette Aldous trained in Brisbane and Sydney before entering the Royal Ballet School in 1955 on a Royal Academy of Dancing scholarship. In 1957 she began her professional career with Ballet Rambert. Following her time with Rambert she danced with London Festival Ballet and then with the Royal Ballet. During her time in England she danced the lead in many of the traditional classics, such as Giselle, Coppelia and La Sylphide, and appeared in many contemporary ballets including Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden.  She first worked with Rudolf Nureyev during her time at the Royal Ballet, partnering him in Nutcracker during a European tour. On her return to Australia in 1970 Aldous made her debut with the Australian Ballet as a guest artist, and the following year, 1971, was appointed a resident principal dancer. Her partnership with Nureyev developed at this time when Nureyev asked her to partner him in his production of Don Quixote for the Australian Ballet, which premiered in Adelaide on 28 March 1970. The role of Kitri particularly suited the vivacious, effervescent and technically accomplished Aldous and in 1973 she repeated her stage success as Kitri and as Nureyev’s partner when the Australian Ballet filmed the Nureyev production of Don Quixote.

Another milestone in her career occurred in 1975 when Ronald Hynd created the role of Valencienne on her in his production of The Merry Widow for the Australian Ballet. During the 1970s Aldous continued to guest with companies in England, America and Europe and had a featured role with Fernando Bujones in the film The Turning Point. After retiring from full-time performing in the mid 1970s Aldous taught at the Australian Ballet School and then in 1982 joined the faculty of the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Edith Cowan University, Perth. She and husband Alan Alder also spent a number of months in St Petersburg studying the teaching methods and philosophy behind the Vaganova system of training as espoused by the Kirov ballet school.

Aldous has also been an advocate of Boris Kniaseff’s floor barre as a system of training. Now retired from full-time work at WAAPA, Aldous continues to live in Perth and to coach, adjudicate and teach. She received the award for services to dance at the 2001 Australian Dance Awards and in 2009 was honoured with the award for lifetime achievement. Lucette received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Edith Cowan University in 1999, and in 2008 she was made a Dame of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Lucette Aldous was recently made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the highest merit in the Australia Day Honours List. From henceforth she’s gained the distinction “AC” to accompany her name. Lucette Aldous AC is a legend in the Australian dance community, inspiring everyone as she continues working into her 80th year, having now instructed young dancers in Perth’s ballet schools for quite some time after retiring from an impressive career on stage. Her award is for “eminent service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet, as a principal artist at the national and international level, to dance education, and as a mentor and role model for young performers”. This award arrives about 10 years after she was recognised at The Australian Dance Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award at age 70. She is thrilled to receive her AC designation.

  • Dame Lucette Aldous, Patron, Melbourne Academy of the Arts