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Vale Lucette Aldous AC (1938-2021)

Friday, 11 June 2021

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The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University pays tribute to acclaimed ballerina Lucette Aldous, who passed away peacefully in Perth at the age of 82 on Saturday, 5 June 2021.

Lucette was one of WAAPA’s most loved and respected ballet lecturers, whose knowledge, passion and generosity inspired generations of dancers.

WAAPA’s Coordinator of Dance Sue Peacock described Lucette as a true artist and realist, who was always practical in her approach to her life-long commitment to, and love of, dance.

“She was indomitable, fierce, dedicated and kind, a gracious teacher and mentor whose incredible determination was balanced by her wonderful sense of humour,” said Sue. “Although small in stature, her spirit was immense, and when she laughed, her eyes sparkled.”

Lucette began teaching at WAAPA in 1982 following an illustrious international career as a prima ballerina.

Born in New Zealand, Lucette trained in Brisbane and Sydney before being awarded a scholarship to The Royal Ballet School in London.

On graduating, she began her professional career with Britain’s oldest dance company, Ballet Rambert, after which she performed lead roles with London Festival Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

On returning to Australia, Lucette joined The Australian Ballet, being appointed resident principal dancer in 1971.

It was during this time that Lucette was invited by Rudolph Nureyev to dance as his partner in his new production of Don Quixote for The Australian Ballet. Her performance as a fiery Kitri opposite Nureyev’s Basilio – first in the stage production which premiered at the 1970 Adelaide Festival before touring to America, and then in the 1973 landmark film – made her internationally famous.

After a stellar career with The Australian Ballet, Lucette retired from full-time performing to channel her passion for dance into teaching. She joined WAAPA’s teaching staff in 1983, alongside her husband, former principal artist with The Australian Ballet, Alan Alder, who was appointed Head of the Dance Department.

An exceptional teacher, Lucette was renowned for her knowledge of the Vaganova training system, as used by the Kirov Ballet School, and of Boris Kniaseff’s floor barre.

Among her many accolades, Lucette was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edith Cowan University in 1999; an Award for Services to Dance in 2001 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 from the Australian Dance Awards; and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the 2018 Australia Day Honours List.

Her legacy at WAAPA remains, and she will be fondly remembered and truly missed.

WAAPA’s staff, students and alumni, in particular those of its Dance Department, send deepest condolences to Lucette’s daughter, Floeur Alder.

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