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The distinguished teacher, dancer and ballet master Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928) taught in personal and distinctive style; his pupils included the hierarchy of St. Petersburg's legendary Maryinsky Ballet among whom should be mentioned were Anna Pavlova, Mathilde Kschessinka, -Olga Preobajenska, Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky. The method devised by Cecchetti was codified to form the basis of The Cecchetti  Syllabus, which is acknowledged worldwide and is taught daily at the HD Dance.





Founded in 1959, the HD Dance (formally Heidelberg & District Ballet School) stands today as one of the longest standing and most distinguished privately run Cecchetti Schools in Australia, under the personal direction of its founder, Lorraine Blackbourn O.A.M., until her retirement in 2017; its legacy and success continuing under the direction of Lisa Archer.


From the outset, she surrounded herself with a hand-picked faculty who — under her guidance and by her inspiration - have assisted in moulding the standard that is today the hallmark of the HD Dance. One of the highlights of each year is the School's Annual Production produced at the highest professional level - in which the entire production students of the Heidelberg & District Ballet School participate, and to which many former students and professional dancers return to their "training ground" expressly to appear.

Former pupils of the Heidelberg & District Ballet School have graced the ranks of the Australian Ballet, Australian Opera Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Sydney Dance Company, The Queensland Ballet, Tasmanian Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Expressions Dance Company, English National Ballet, Polish National Ballet and major dance companies in England, America, Europe and South-East Asia; they have graced our television screens and danced into our hearts in major musical performances.


The studios of the HD Dance - through the years –and continue today to become a mecca not only for pupils past and present, but also for professional dancers from throughout Australia and many parts of the world, in addition to numerous distinguished guest teachers and choreographers.

The Heidelberg & District Ballet School continues the great traditions of classical ballet in the method devised by the legendary ballet master and teacher, Enrico Cecchetti (1850 - 1928), and also embraces today's dance forms of jazz, contemporary, tap and hip hop ...... it is a complete school where dance is taught, by dancers.

"If the richest child is poor without Music, surely then is not Dance the child of Music?"  Edward H Pask. 



F.I.S.T.D., C.S.B. Cecchetti (London) and F.C.B.A. - C.I.C.B., Cert IV in Workplace Training & Assessment; Cert IV in Dance Teaching & Management; Senior International Examiner and Life Member - Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc.; National Theatre Ballet; Adjudicator; Patron of HD Dance.


A pupil of Madame Lucie Saranova (herself a pupil of the famed ballet master Enrico Cecchetti), Lorraine Blackbourn trained at the National Theatre Ballet School in Melbourne and initially performed within many ballet, operatic and dramatic productions of the National Theatre Movement.

A foundation member of the National Theatre Ballet under the artistic direction of Joyce Graeme, with which she toured extensively, dancing in a wide range of major ballets. As a company member, she worked directly with such noted choreographers as Joyce Graeme, Rex Reid, Joanne Priest, Kira Bousloff, Laurel Martyn, etc.

In 1959, she founded the Heidelberg & District Ballet School, today the longest established privately conducted Cecchetti School within Victoria, which continues in 2018 under the ownership of Lisa Archer herself a long-standing student and dance educator of the school.


Her former pupils have graced the ranks of the Australian Ballet, Australian Opera Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Harlem Dance Theatre of New York, Sydney Dance Company, Queensland Ballet, Tasmanian Ballet, West Australian Ballet etc., and in major musical productions on stage and television. In addition, other former pupils are now dance studio owners themselves, employed elsewhere in the entertainment industry including television, The Victorian Arts Centre and in theatres and companies in many parts of Europe, North America and South-East Asia.


In 1973, Lorraine Blackbourn was appointed an Honorary Probation Officer and a Vacro Volunteer, working as a counsellor and adviser with the Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders. Her extensive work in both these fields has included taking a number of dance productions into prisons as a form of rehabilitation-entertainment for the inmates.


In 1978 she founded (with Edward Pask), the Heidelberg Ballet Ensemble, a community arts performing group which has toured extensively throughout Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia presenting a diverse repertory of classical and contemporary works and has encouraged numerous creations by such noted Australian choreographers as Jacqui Carroll, Andris Toppe and Mark Annear, in addition to productions of existing works by Andree Howard, August Bournonville, Marilyn Jones, Gertrude Bodenwieser and Peter Dickinson. She remains its artistic director to this day.


An important part of the Ensemble's existence was to provide special performance opportunities for school students (both at Primary and Secondary levels) which have resulted in lengthy individual tours in both Victoria and New South Wales.


Lorraine Blackbourn a Senior Examiner of the Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc. a renowned and respected adjudicator and advisor for dance schools and events throughout Australia. Lorraine Blackbourn also lectured in Dance (Studio Teacher Fellowship) (Dance) for Phillip Institute of Technology (University) and has travelled throughout South Korea, Malaysia and New Zealand examining and conducting an Advanced course.


Lorraine Blackbourn has received a Life Membership with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance for her long-term membership and dedication to the Society.


Today, her Heidelberg & District Ballet School (now under ownership and direction of Lisa Archer a former student, dancer and teacher of the school since Lorraine’s retirement in 2017), is a mecca not only for many former students returning after working engagements in Australia and overseas, but also for many professional dancers and teachers visiting Melbourne.

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