Doyen of Dance Tanya Pearson Dies Aged 84
On Monday 8th February 2021, it was announced via the social media pages of the Tanya Pearson Academy that its founder, namesake and worldwide acclaimed ballet teacher, Tanya Pearson OAM, had passed away peacefully.
She was 84 years old, and a legend of Australia’s ballet scene for over 50 years, training and inspiring some of the greatest dancers Australia has produced. In 2012 she was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) for life-long services to dance education, and in 2014 the Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education. She also received the Most Outstanding Teacher Award from The Youth American Grand Prix.
She was also the subject of an episode of the ABC’s Australian Story in 2012 which celebrated her life and career ahead of her retirement. You can watch the episode below.
The following public statement was released:
Our treasured and much loved founder of the Tanya Pearson Academy, Mrs Tanya Pearson OAM, passed away peacefully in her sleep this morning, aged 84.
Mrs P (as she was affectionately known) was born near Moscow, Russia in 1937 and emigrated to Australia in 1948.
In a career spanning over 50 years, Mrs Pearson worked with passion and dedication to train many successful dancers who went on to become Principals and Soloists in Companies all around the world, and revered as a guest teacher and adjudicator, not only in Australia but also overseas.
Trained by Raisa Kousnetzova in Sydney, Tanya Pearson joined the Borovansky Ballet Academy and then the Borovansky Ballet Company in Melbourne. When the company was disbanded, Mrs Pearson travelled to London where she danced as a Soloist in both theatre and film. In 1965 she returned to Australia and established her own ballet school on Sydney’s north shore, as well as choreographing for television and film. In 1971 she founded the Sydney Youth Ballet which later became the Sydney City Ballet Company.
For more than 25 years, Mrs Pearson led annual overseas study and auditions tours for students and teachers, with her students competing in major international ballet competitions such as the Genée International Ballet Competition, the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland and the Youth America Grand Prix in New York.
Tanya Pearson OAM retired in 2014, with Lucinda Dunn OAM appointed as both Artistic Director of the Tanya Pearson Academy and the Sydney City Ballet.
Mrs P will be missed by many, however her teaching methodologies and passion for artistry will continue to be carried on by many students, dancers and teachers throughout the world.