Athol Willoughby OAM, one of Australia’s leading ballet dancers and teachers, will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s 21st Australian Dance Awards. The award acknowledges his significant contribution to dance in Australia over a career that has spanned 65 years.

R: Athol Willoughby. Photo: supplied

Born in Tasmania, Willoughby, now 85 years of age, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. As a performer with the National Theatre Ballet, he was most associated with the repertoire of two directors of the company – Walter Gore and Valrene Tweedie. Following his time with the Western Theatre Ballet in London, Willoughby returned to Australia and began teaching. Known for his association with the Cecchetti Society and a teacher of Cecchetti technique, Willoughby has been both an adjudicator and examiner for Cecchetti Ballet Australia.

“Delighted and overwhelmed” by the honour, Willoughby will receive his award at the official ceremony on September 8 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

The Australian Dance Awards recognise people working in the professional dance sector who have made innovative and exceptional work, or who have made an exceptional contribution to dance. Nominations have gone to companies and performers around the country.


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