Leftovers on eBay

June 2023

Nab a notecard, grab a greeting card! Forgive a quick promo for my exhibition remainder stock, now listed on eBay.

‘Hoofing It!’ at Castlemaine Library

February 2023

Load up the Powerpoint and on with the show! It was great to speak at the Castlemaine Library about dance at Astley’s Amphitheatre.


November 2021

Three bad brothers, three nicknames and a spoiler: “no spoilers contained herein.”

Synopsis – ‘The Audition’

October 2021

Five people are brought together under the watchful eye of the Supervisor. Who are they? What are they competing for? And what will happen to the candidate who passes The Audition … ?

Sausages for Breakfast: Marie-Louise Desmatins in Hell

August 2021

Scandal, fabric craft, a horror film and a tasty spot of liposuction. It turns out one obscure 17th-century opera dancer is really not like another…

Synopsis – Regency Fair

July 2021

What happens when you commit to a career researching ballet, but you’re also bored, irked and fed up to the back teeth with ballet’s endless literary adaptions and rehashes of the classics? Simple. You write your own bloody ballets. Here’s one of mine.

New Miniature of Giovanna Baccelli Identified!

January 2021

We have a fresh discovery to mark the beginning of 2021. Is it a bird, is it a bacchante? Yes, yes! It’s Giovanna Baccelli!

“Home and Rest”: A Ballet Lover’s Guide to Monte Carlo

For over a century, Monte Carlo has been a haven for some of the world’s greatest dancers. Join me on a time-tripping escape from lockdown to the fabled seaside playground where the Ballets Russes made its home.

Now on YouTube: ‘Turbans, Tulle and Taglioni’s Influence on Fashion, 1830-45’

Couldn’t make it to the Ballerina symposium in March? Don’t be disappointed: New York’s Museum at FIT has kindly made all the presentations available on YouTube. Tagliomanes and fashionistas, this way please…

Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse – Symposium

FORTHCOMING: 6 March 2020

Come along to New York’s Museum at FIT, where I’ll be joining other speakers for a revealing symposium to be held in conjunction with the exhibition, Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse. 

Libertine Intrigues: Cliché-Busting the Opera Girl

December 2019

My recently published article in the Dance Research journal probably isn’t on your Summer 2020 reading list. But it’s a rip-roaring read of sex, scandal and, ah, concentrated academic scholarship …

Discovering and rediscovering Anne Elder

Not every dancer has the chance to be the subject of a dedicated biography, but every biography for a dancer is a contribution to our records for the future. This post salutes Anne Elder, one time dancer and accomplished Australian poet, whose memories of the Borovansky Ballet have been quietly published in a new biography.

Save the date for “Hoofing It!”

15 June 2019

Cheer up a wintry Saturday this June. Come along to the Melbourne Arts Centre where I’ll be speaking on ballet at Astley’s Circus. There’ll be dancing on stage and on horseback – historically speaking, of course!

Madame Rose Parisot, ‘Attitudinarian’

May 2019

This month let’s get reacquainted with the wonderfully angular Madame Rose Parisot, who raised hemlines and eyebrows with her performances in London in the 1790s.

Mao’s Last Dancer: The exhibition

15 August 2018

Dancer Li Cunxin is famously known as Mao’s Last Dancer after his best-selling biography. This winter Melbourne’s Immigration Museum hosts an exhibition on the man and his career (so far!).

The Simonet Experiment

It began as an experiment. The idea was to create activity sheets for dance students that would bring ballet’s history to life. Adelaide Simonet stepped up to be the prototype, and here she is, FREE to download and ready for feedback!

Court to Kitsch – a real original!

18 March 2017

It’s elegant, informative and full of little surprises – From Court to Kitsch opened yesterday, on a perfect Autumn day that saw our bright magenta flags out front fluttering merrily in the breeze.

Festival Interview for ‘Court to Kitsch’

As the Castlemaine State Festival prepares to get underway, it was lovely to find my little interview for ‘Court to Kitsch’ getting a run among the news items. Here it is …

Four Ballerinas and a Tea Tray

Next month’s exhibition From Court to Kitsch features an illustration of Perrot’s celebrated Pas de Quatre, the all-stars romantic ballet that dazzled Londoners in 1845. So it’s a timely moment to revisit my blog for The Australian Ballet, and wipe the dust off THAT tea tray!

And who is Carlotta?

She created a world of dainty ballerinas, posed in perpetual arabesques in misty scenes from the ballet classics. Think Les Sylphides in your hallway, Swan Lake in the master bedroom. Welcome to the world of Carlotta Edwards, the woman who turned art into ballet kitsch and kitsch into ballet art…

Places to Go, Objects to See

From boutique museums to national archives, ballet’s treasures are in all sorts of places. Here are some of the best-known venues that regularly showcase their dance collections.

Ballet in Britain’s Music Halls, 1850-1910

Bold and brassy, ravishing and raunchy. Welcome to the world of the music hall ballet! This post introduces the era of grand ballet spectaculars and an important, often neglected, period in ballet’s colourful history.

Edouard Espinosa and the world of early British ballet

Looking for a ballet school with boarding facilities? In war-exhausted Britain, you wouldn’t pass up one with daily hot baths and private sleeping cubicles! Meet man who trained Ninette de Valois and founded the British Ballet Organisation…

Narcisse: Dance, design and a dodgy daffodil

Best remembered for Leon Bakst’s sensuous designs, Narcisse brought together three icons of the Ballets Russes in an evocative tale of tragedy and metamorphosis …

Gartering Applause: Vestrimania in London, 1780-81

Vestris garters, anyone? What about a length of Vestris blue ribbon? Hey, is that a “Vestris grin” you’re giving me?! In the early winter of 1780, ‘Vestris’ became the buzz word of fashionable London. Discover the story behind some very whacky merchandise and explore Auguste Vestris’ influence on ballet in Britain …