Dancer Dayne Cory and the Ballet Theatre of Queensland

Guest bloggers: Rachel Kersley and Casey Manthey

Dayne Cory and partner

In 2013, the State Library of Queensland received donation of the 29247 Dayne Cory Records, a collection of ballet memorabilia primarily relating to the Ballet Theatre of Queensland (BTQ). For many years, Dayne Cory was one of the cornerstones of the Ballet Theatre of Queensland, and this extensive collection documents his involvement with the ballet, as well as his life more generally. Letters, newspaper clippings, programmes, flyers, posters, recordings, choreography instructions and costume designs, as well as over 1000 photos, negatives, and slides, offer insights into Dayne Cory’s life, and provide rich context around the broader history of ballet in Queensland.

Ballet Theatre of Queensland programmes. Acc: 29247/4

Ballet Theatre of Queensland programmes. Acc: 29247/4

In 1977, after more than twenty years of involvement with BTQ as both a dancer and administrator, Dayne Cory resigned from his position as the Company’s Secretary/Treasurer, and was persuaded to accept lifetime membership despite his reservations about not having earned it. He was highly regarded as a dancer, administrator, and person. Praise for his dancing was given alongside praise for the sheer amount of work he managed to fit into a day. It was always clear however, that he had very little interest in earning applause, focusing much more on the performance and theatre as a whole.

Even when not involved with the Ballet Theatre of Queensland, Cory was always involved with ballet. He had danced with the Borovansky Ballet before joining the BTQ, and taught and choreographed ballet for ballet schools across Queensland. After retiring, he continued to attend performances. The 29247 Dayne Cory Records also contain memorabilia from his time with the Borovansky Ballet in Australia and New Zealand 1959-60.

Borovansky Ballet programmes. Acc: 29247/2

Borovansky Ballet programmes. Acc: 29247/2

Cory supported Phyllis Danaher MBE, FRAD who founded the Ballet Theatre of Queensland in 1937, donating both time and money. In its early days, the Ballet Theatre of Queensland was a renowned professional ballet company, presenting multitude performances in Brisbane and throughout Queensland. On the back of the Queensland Ballet Company, which was the first Australian ballet company to tour regionally in the 1960s, the BTQ toured regional Queensland throughout the 1970s, including towns such as Toowoomba, Ipswich and Maryborough.

Her Majesty's Theatre, Brisbane, advertising the ballets Paquita and Sylvia, 1974

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Brisbane, advertising the ballets Paquita and Sylvia, 1974

Dayne Cory wearing the costume donated with the 29247 Dayne Cory Records

Dayne Cory also supported Charles Lisner, whose Lisner Ballet Academy became the Queensland Ballet in 1962. Lisner had also danced with the Borovansky Ballet, and Cory, despite heavy involvement with the Ballet Theatre of Queensland, assisted Lisner and the Queensland Ballet Company by travelling around Queensland teaching and choreographing for local performances.

The 29247 Dayne Cory Records nicely complement other ballet collections held at State Library of Queensland. The 29402 Queensland Ballet Company Records 1940-2011, the M 561 Charles Lisner Papers and other collections document the main players and stayers of ballet in Queensland, provide a comprehensive insight into the history of professional ballet ensembles in Queensland, and demonstrate how tight-knit and associated the ballet scene was. The Ballet Theatre of Queensland continues today, as a premier youth ballet company. The 29247 Dayne Cory Records provide another perspective, enriching the story of ballet in Queensland.