Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Erika Randall

Second Advisor

Bud Coleman

Third Advisor

Robin Haig


This thesis explores the relationship between historical developments in Australian ballet pedagogy and conceptions of real and perceived isolation and distance from the West. For 160 years, Australian ballet pedagogues and students have reacted to, constructed, and rejected the importance of the geographical and aesthetic distance between two antipodean points on Earth, one in Australia and the other in England. Isolated from the "Mother Country," British-Australians have simultaneously sought "Britishness" and "Australianness" in their decision to undertake a study of ballet, and in so doing they have embodied complex notions of their postcolonial identities. These identities are explored through an analysis of Australian ballet's aesthetic lineage, the ubiquitous utilization of ballet examinations, the influence of what A.A. Phillips calls "cultural cringe," and the performance of national style. An argument is introduced for an internationally and intra-nationally acentric model for the study of postcolonial ballet pedagogy.