Gorham, Kathleen Ann (1928-1983)

Also known as
Gorham, Kathleen (1928-1983)
Gorham, Kathleen (1932-1983)
Gorham, Kathy (1928-1983)
Marrows, Kathy (1928-1983)
Pomie, Kathy (1928-1983)
Somers, Ann
Somers, Ann (1928-1983)
Field of activity
dancer; Dancer
NLA Persistent Identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1468681

Biographies

Kathleen Ann (Kathy) Gorham (1928-1983), dancer, was born on 7 September 1928 at Narrandera, New South Wales, second of four children of Marcus Gorham, an Irish-born railway employee, and his wife Hilda...

View the full record at Australian Dictionary of Biography

Kathleen Gorham began her classical dancing career with the Borovansky Ballet at the age of fifteen, retaining her association with the Ballet until it finally disbanded in 1960 on the death of Borovansky. She danced with other companies in Paris and London, and in 1962 Kathleen Gorham became prima ballerina of the newly formed Australian Ballet Company. She played an important role in the artistic development of a recognisably Australian ballet company and danced new roles in association with Robert Helpmann. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1968 for her services to ballet. Retiring from dancing after the Australian Ballet's first overseas tour in 1966, she taught ballet in Melbourne and Southport, Queensland before her death in 1983 at a relatively young age.

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Born in Narrandera, New South Wales, Kathleen Gorham studied under Lorraine Norton and Leon Kellaway before joining the Borovansky Ballet in 1946. In 1947 she was promoted by Borovansky to the rank of junior ballerina and with this promotion Gorham began to take on major roles in the Borovansky repertoire. They included the mazurka and pas de deux in Les Sylphides, First Hand in Le Beau Danube and Peggy Sager's original role of the Spirit of Australia in Terra Australis.

Early in 1948 Gorham joined Ballet Rambert for its Australian tour dancing under the name Ann Somers, both Ann and Somers being family names from Gorham's mother's family. With Ballet Rambert Gorham danced in much of the repertoire and took major roles in Swan Lake and Nutcracker. In 1949, at the end of the Rambert tour, Gorham left Australia for Europe where she danced with Roland Petit's Ballet de Paris and the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet. She was enticed back to Australia by Edouard Borovansky for the Borovansky Ballet's 1951-1952 season. During this period with the Borovansky Ballet she created the roles of Miss X in Borovansky's work The Outlaw, a ballet inspired by the legend of Ned Kelly, and Juliet in Paul Grinwis' The Eternal Lovers. In 1951 she also made her debut in the title role in Giselle.

In 1953 she returned to Europe and worked with the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas creating roles in ballets by George Skibine and Serge Golovine. But by 1954 she was again dancing with the Borovansky Ballet taking the lead in Pineapple Poll under the direction of its choreographer John Cranko, and creating leading roles in David Lichine's Corrida and later in Robert Pomie's The Surfers. In 1959 she joined Pomie, her husband, in a season with his Company Robert Pomie at Ballet Theatre le Francais in Sydney dancing in several classical and original works.

Gorham joined the Australian Ballet as a foundation member and with singular success created leading roles in Robert Helpmann's ballets The Display and Yugen. After her retirement from the company in 1966 she continued to run her dance school, which she had started after the death of Borovansky, and was well known for the summer schools she ran on the Gold Coast in conjunction with Peggy Sager, her colleague from the Borovansky Ballet. Gorham was also successful as an actor and was acclaimed for her part in the television production of Johnny Belinda.

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Resources for Kathleen Ann Gorham

Selected resources (4)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Kathleen Gorham200 Australian women Radi, Heather 234-35 : Kathleen Gorham
    Weatherburn, Hilary
    [1988]
    Published: Women's Redress Press Inc
  2. Faith, Hope and Charity Australian Women and Imperial Honours: 1901-1989
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2003]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
    Series: http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/honours/honours.html
  3. 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology
    Radi, Heather
    [1988]
    Published: Women's Redress Press
  4. National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room: Biographical cuttings on Kathleen Gorham

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  1. Melbourne Cup (1962 - )
    Melbourne Cup (1962 - )
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    Melbourne Cup was commissioned for the inaugural season of the Australian Ballet. It premiered in Sydney on 16 November 1962. Its choreography was by Rex Reid who, with Geoffrey Ingram, al...

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  2. Winter Night (1948 - )
    Winter Night (1948 - )
    Created by NLAdance, 10 items.

    Walter Gore dedicated Winter Night, his tenth ballet, to his co-principal in Ballet Rambert, Sally Gilmour. Set to Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto, it premiered in Melbourne on 19 Nov...

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  3. Pineapple Poll (Australian context)
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    Created by NLAdance, 19 items.

    John Cranko's Pineapple Poll was first staged in Australia by the Borovansky Ballet, premiering on 8 May 1954. This was the first production of the work by a company other than the Sadler'...

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  1. Les Sylphides / One in Five / Don Quixote / Melbourne Cup, Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide, SA, 3 January 1963 [Event description]
    [ Article : 1963 ]
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  2. Les Rendezvous / Coppelia, Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide, SA, 27 December 1962 [Event description]
    [ Article : 1962 ]
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  3. Melbourne Cup / Yugen / The Display, Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT, 26 June 1965 [Event description]
    [ Article : 1965 ]
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  4. The Australian Ballet, Elizabethan Theatre, Newtown, NSW, 18 April 1964 [Event description]
    [ Article : 1964 ]
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    www.200australianwomen.com
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  1. ALL PUPILS PASS St Joseph's Convent Examination Results
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    ... Comerford 81, Kathleen Clifford 80, Judith Whale 76. Second Grade: Credit, Gloria Jones 77, Janet Costello 76, Patricia Farrell 76, Kerry Cor coran 76. First Grade: Honours, Sandra Gorham 90, Margaret Mallyon 88, Ann Cassidy 86, LWetta Croker 85, Erol Dunn 85; Credit, Jennifer Mackie 75, Susan Arm strong ... 213 words
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    The Burrowa News (NSW : 1874 - 1951) Friday 26 November 1937 p 4 Article
    ... OBITUARY MRS. LYDIA GORHAM Yet another of the old pioneers has passed away, in the person of Mrs. Lydia Gorham, of Gunnary, who died on Saturday last, aged 86 years, after an illness extending over ... James Gorham, of Gunnary, who predeceased her by about nine years. Mrs. Gorham spent all her life, ... 520 words
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