Born in Sydney, Nanette Hassall trained
in both classical and modern dance and
was influenced in particular by the teachers
at the Bodenwieser Centre in Sydney.
Hassall's first choreographic work,
Solus to a score by Peter
Sculthorpe, won the inaugural Ballet
Australia choreographic award in 1969
and following that success Hassall accepted
a scholarship to the Juilliard School
in New York. At Juilliard she studied
with Antony Tudor, Jose Limon and members
of the Martha Graham company. After graduating
Hassall joined the Merce Cunningham Dance
Company and toured with them in the United
States and internationally.
In 1973 Hassall went to England where
she performed, choreographed and taught
for Ballet Rambert and Strider Dance
Company. After studying and teaching
at Dartington College for the Arts she
returned to Australia in 1975 to join
the Dance Company (NSW) under Jaap Flier.
She subsequently made many works for
the Dance Company (NSW) and Dance Exchange,
which she co-founded in Sydney with Russell
Dumas. In 1983 she founded the Melbourne-based
Dance Works in order to encourage new
choreography and emerging choreographers.
Hassall has taught at Deakin University,
where with James McCaughey she established
a intergrated performing arts program,
Rusden State College and the Victorian
College of the Arts. She was appointed
head of the dance department, Western
Australian Academy of Performing Arts
in 1995. She continues to hold that position.
Hassall was the recipient of the award
for services to dance education at the
2002 Australian Dance Awards.