Nanette Hassall

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Nanette Hassall
Born 1947 (age 69–70)
Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Known for Dance and choreography
Movement Modern dance

Nanette Hassall (born 1947) is an Australian dancer, choreographer and dance teacher.

Life and career[edit]

Nanette Hassall was born in Sydney, Australia, and studied dance at venues including Australian schools. She taught physical education at a girls' high school while pursuing her love of dance.[1] In 1969, she won the Ballet Australia Choreographic Competition, using her prize money to help her continue her studies in the United States.[2] There, she attended the Juilliard School, New York, on scholarship,[1] with teachers including Jose Limon and Antony Tudor. She danced with companies including the Merce Cunningham Dance Company,[3] Ballet Rambert, the Strider Dance Company (Richard Alston) and Dance Company NSW (Jaap Flier). Hassall taught at schools and colleges including Dartington College of Arts, Opleiding Moderne Dans School in Amsterdam, Deakin University, Rusden State College, the Victorian College of the Arts, and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (department head, 1995).

While working at the Dartingon College of the Arts, she met American composer Bill Fontana, marrying him in London in 1975.[1] [4] Fontana joined her in working at Dance Company NSW.[1]

By 1983, the The Age was describing Hassall as "a leading figure in Australian post-modern dance."[5] She co-founded Dance Exchange with Russell Dumas, and founded Dance Works in Melbourne[6] (director,1983-89).[7] She left Dance Works in 1989 to ensure that the company continued to nurture developing choreographers rather than focusing too extensively on her own work.[8] Hassall choreographed prolifically for Dance Exchange.[9] She regularly commissions works from Australian composers for her choreography.[10] Hassall is active on boards and panels as an advocate for dance and dance education, and is the author of papers and articles including: "Phillip Adams" (2004).[11]

Honors and awards[edit]


Selected works (in alphabetical order) include:

  • As the Crow Flies
  • Faster Than Photos
  • Forcefield
  • Or Is It?
  • Pyralis
  • Rainbow Bandit
  • Silken Tent
  • Trespassing on Borrowed Time


  1. ^ a b c d Goldie, Jan (4 April 1976). "Music Exists All Around Them". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Dean, Beth (11 February 1969). "U.S. Study to Follow Choreography Award". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Hassall, Nanette (1947 - )". Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Entertainment Over the School Holidays". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 May 1976. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Simons, Margaret (4 May 1983). "They Dance to a Different Tune". The Age. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Dance Works (1983 - 2006)". Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Nanette Hassall". Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Murdoch, Anna (10 March 1989). "Nanette Hassell to Part Company with Danceworks after Six Exciting Years". Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Nanette Hassall". Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Sounds Australian: Australian Music Centre journal. 25-28. Australia Music Centre. 1990. 
  11. ^ "Phillip Adams". Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "AUSTRALIAN DANCE AWARDS: For outstanding achievements in Australian professional dance". Retrieved 25 January 2012.