BOROVANSKY, EDOUARD (1902-1959), ballet director, was born on 24 February 1902
at Prerov, Moravia (Czech Republic), seventh child of Frantisek Skrecek, railway
clerk, and his wife Arnosta. He was christened Eduard Josef. A plain but by no
means impoverished village life kept him in touch with folk-dance, and with Czech
and German music. The Church, which he was later to abandon, provided Catholic
doctrine, ritual and art. On leaving school, he worked as an accountant before
being called up for military service in the Slovakian air force.
View the full record at
Australian Dictionary of Biography
Edouard Borovansky was a ballet director who also painted and sketched. A collection of his original works, including an ink portrait of Wassily de Basil are now in the National Library of Australia.
painter, sketcher and ballet director, has a collection of original work in National Library of Australia (Geoffrey Ingram Archive of Australian Ballet, Pictorial Col. R10988). It includes an ink portrait of Wassily de Basil c.1935, reproduced NLA News April 2001, p.14. His drawings and paintings have been digitised as part of the NLA's image digitisation project, Images 1. This entry is a stub. You can help the DAAO by submitting a biography.
View the full record at
Design and Art Australia Online
Czech-born Edouard Borovansky came to
Australia in 1929 as a dancer with the
company of Anna Pavlova. He returned
in 1938 with the Covent Garden Russian
Ballet but elected to remain in Australia
at the conclusion of the tour in 1939.
With his wife Xenia he established a
ballet school in Melbourne and eventually
a ballet company variously called the
Borovansky Ballet, the Borovansky Australian
Ballet Company, the Borovansky Ballet
of 40 and the Borovansky Jubilee Ballet.
The company's first fully professional
season was in 1944 when Borovansky received
backing from the J. C. Williamson organisation.
Prior to that Borovansky had staged a
number of seasons in Melbourne for which
he received a fee and in which some principals
were paid. He had also presented many
studio performances, beginning in 1940,
in which original choreography was presented
by a range of artists including Borovansky
himself, Xenia Borovansky, Laurel Martyn
and Dorothy Stevenson. His first foray
into public presentation was probably
the 'First Season of Ballet', staged
by the National Theatre Movement in 1939.
In that program Borovansky shared the
evening with other Melbourne dance teachers
Jennie Brenan, Elsie James and Lucie
Saronova. Borovansky was naturalised
as an Australian in 1946.
Borovansky choreographed a number of
works for his company. Some, like
The Black Swan,
Terra Australis and
The Outlaw, were overtly
Australian in theme, others, like
Fantasy on Grieg's Concerto in
A minor drew on Borovansky's
European heritage for inspiration. He
also mounted the classics including
The Sleeping Princess and
Nutcracker, the latter being
choreographed and staged for Borovansky
by David Lichine. In the early years
of his company he encouraged choreography
from members of his own company and both
Laurel Martyn and Dorothy Stevenson made
works for him. Later, choreographers
who worked for him included company members
Paul Grinwis and Robert Pomié. David
Lichine was also commissioned to create
an original ballet. The result was
Corrida, which premiered
on 17 February 1956.
Borovansky died in December 1959. Despite
the reputation he had for being difficult
at times, his contribution to dance in
Australia is inestimable. He provided
Australian audiences with their main
exposure to Western theatrical dance
for two decades and paved the way for
the development of a national company.
At the Australian Dance Awards in 1999
he was posthumously inducted into the
Hall of Fame.