McKechnie, Shirley (1926-)

Also known as
McKechnie, Shirley Elizabeth, (AO, OAM)
McKechnie, Shirley Elizabeth, (AO, OAM) (1926-)
Field of activity
Dancer; Choreographer; Educator
Libraries Australia
http://nla.gov.au/anbd.aut-an49682885
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-675055

Biographies

Shirley McKechnie is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She founded the first tertiary dance course in Australia at Rusden College (Deakin University) in 1975 and has written extensively on dance and dance education. She was a co-founder of the Australian Association for Dance Education (AADE), now Ausdance, has been a professorial fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, and in 1987 was awarded an Order of Australia.

  • Awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia 'for service to dance particularly as a teacher'
  • Awarded a Centenary Medal 'for service to Australian society and the humanities in the study of dance'
  • Appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 'for distinguished service to the performing arts, particularly dance, to the education and development of dancers and choreographers, and to research.'

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Shirley McKechnie was born Shirley Gorham in Melbourne, and received her early schooling at Albion State School, and Williamstown High School. Although educated for a career in science McKechnie's training in movement and dance began at the age of four and she also took lessons in ballet with Jennie Brenan from the age of ten.

After matriculating, McKechnie worked in the research laboratories of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works while taking dance and composition classes at the Studio of Creative Dance, Melbourne, with Daisy Pirnitzer and Hanny Kolm (Exiner), both teachers being exponents of the modern European dance tradition brought to Australia by Gertrud Bodenwieser in 1939. She also danced with the performance group attached to the Studio of Creative Dance. In 1945 McKechnie began teaching dance at a small school she established with the encouragement and support of the Ferntree Gully Arts Society. She continued to teach at this school until her marriage to Ken McKechnie in 1948. After the birth of her second child, she established a second school in Beaumaris, Melbourne, in 1955. This school became the foundation for her long career as a teacher, choreographer and dance director.

In 1963 McKechnie founded the Australian Contemporary Dance Theatre, whose dancers were drawn from the older students of her school. McKechnie was the company's director and main choreographer between 1963 and 1973. During this time she choreographed a number of works for the company including Sketches on Themes of Paul Klee (1964), Earth Song (1965), Vision of Bones (1966), Sea Interludes (1966), Hymn of Jesus (1967), Of Spiralling Why (1967), The Other Generation(1968), Landscape of Dream and Memory (1970), The Finding of the Moon (1972), and Canon for Four Dancers (1973). During this period she also wrote and choreographed a lecture and performance titled The Dancer, the Dance and the Audience.

After graduating from Monash University with an honours degree in English literature in 1974 McKechnie founded and directed the first degree course in dance studies at an Australian tertiary institution at Rusden College, now Deakin University, in 1975. In her role as dance educator and advocate for the dance she was also a co-founder of the Australian Association for Dance Education (AADE), now Ausdance, founding chair of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia, founder of the Green Mill Dance Project, and a member of the research team for Conceiving Connections, a three year-study (2002-2004) building on the research project Unspoken Knowledges. Conceiving Connections aimed to ?increase our understanding of dance audiences by addressing problems that have been identified by the dance industry as critical to its viability among the contemporary performing arts in Australia'.

McKechnie is currently a professorial fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her services to dance in Australia. They include an Order of Australia in 1987, a Kenneth Myer Medallion for the Performing Arts in 1993, the Ausdance 21 Award for outstanding and distinguished service, and two Australian Dance Awards, including that for lifetime achievement in 2001. In 1998 she was elected an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Related people and organisations

Resources for Shirley McKechnie

Selected resources (2)

Australian Women's Register

  1. McKechnie, Shirley Elizabeth
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. 5 - Shirley McKechnie
    Grant, Nat
    [2018]
    Series: IspartOf Prima Donna Podcast

Resources by Shirley McKechnie (35)

  1. Shirley McKechnie interviewed by Mark Gordon
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Sound : 2008 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 96,815.484)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 96,815.484)

  2. Shirley McKechnie interviewed by Mark Gordon
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Sound : 1989 ]
    At 2 libraries
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 87,498.438)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 87,498.438)

  3. Shirley McKechnie / research and interview by James Murdoch
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Video : 1988 ]
    At 4 libraries
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 74,857.406)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 74,857.406)

  4. Papers of Shirley McKechnie
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Unpublished : 1938-1996 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Papers of Shirley McKechnie
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 73,699.828)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 73,699.828)

  5. Michelle Potter interviewed by Shirley McKechnie
    Potter, Michelle, 1944-
    [ Sound : 1998 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 40,501.543)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 40,501.543)

  6. Concepts and structures for a dance education : what is known? how is it known? / Shirley McKechnie
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Book : 1982 ]
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 39,593.344)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 39,593.344)

  7. Australian choreographers oral history project
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Sound : 1990-1993 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,962.645)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,962.645)

  8. Anna Smith interviewed by Shirley McKechnie in Conceiving connections oral history project
    Smith, Anna M. (Anna Maria), 1966-
    [ Sound : 2003 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Anna Smith interviewed by Shirley McKechnie in Conceiving connections oral history project
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,697.207)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,697.207)

  9. Graeme Murphy interviewed by Shirley McKechnie for the Australian choreographers oral history project
    Murphy, Graeme, 1950-
    [ Sound : 1990 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,616.766)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,616.766)

  10. Graeme Watson interviewed by Shirley McKechnie for the Australian choreographers oral history project
    Watson, Graeme
    [ Sound : 1990 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,589.512)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 38,589.512)

More...

Resources about Shirley McKechnie (6)

  1. Shirley McKechnie interviewed by Mark Gordon
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Sound : 2008 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 96,673.609)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 96,673.609)

  2. [Biographical cuttings on Shirley McKechnie, dance educator, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
    [ Published : 1900-1990 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 93,231.875)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 93,231.875)

  3. Shirley McKechnie interviewed by Mark Gordon
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Sound : 1989 ]
    At 2 libraries
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 87,166.219)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 87,166.219)

  4. Shirley McKechnie / research and interview by James Murdoch
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Video : 1988 ]
    At 4 libraries
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 74,983.992)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 74,983.992)

  5. Papers of Shirley McKechnie
    McKechnie, Shirley, 1926-
    [ Unpublished : 1938-1996 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Papers of Shirley McKechnie
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 73,083.727)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 73,083.727)

  6. Portraits of Dame Margaret Scott and Shirley McKechnie / Lynkushka
    Lynkushka, Angela, 1947-
    [ Photograph : 1994 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Portraits of Dame Margaret Scott and Shirley McKechnie / Lynkushka
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 42,103.758)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 42,103.758)

No user comments for this person

Add a comment


Show comments and reviews from Amazon users

Possibly related

Digitised newspapers and more

Searching...

Minimise

Diaries, letters, archives

Searching...

Minimise

Archived websites (1996 – now)

view all results

  1. Snapshots of websites, web pages and online publications about Australia and Australians collected since 1996.

    Search archived websites
    Search

Pictures, photos, objects

Searching...

Minimise

Books

Searching...

Minimise

Music, sound and video

Searching...

Minimise

People and organisations

Searching...

Minimise

Journals, articles and data sets

Searching...

Minimise

Maps

Searching...

Minimise

Lists

Searching...

Minimise

Government Gazettes

Searching...

Minimise

Archived websites (1996 – now)

No results

Minimise
  1. Lowe-Henricks, Kathryn (1938-2005)
    Actor; Choreographer; Dancer; Administrator; Reviewer
    ... McKechnie, Shirley ... family returned to Australia where Lowe-Henricks worked with Shirley ... McKechnie at Australia's first B.A. dance course at Rusden State College in Melbourne ...
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.842)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.842)

  2. Page, JoAnne (1956-)
    Dance Notator
    ... JoAnne Page is a dance notator who has primarily worked in contemporary dance. ...
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.012)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 12.012)

  3. Brinson, Peter (1920-1995)
    ... McKechnie, Shirley ... with Shirley McKecknie who had been a significant figure in the planning of ...
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 9.923)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 9.923)

Maps

No results

Minimise
  1. Dance in Australia : influences and present trends / issue editor, Meg Denton
    Denton, Margaret Abbie, 1937-
    [ Book : 2001 ]
    At Uni of Melb Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 179.751)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 179.751)

  2. Images of women in peace and war : cross-cultural and historical perspectives / edited by Sharon Macdonald, Pat Holden, and Shirley Ardener
    MacDonald, Sharon
    [ Book, Government publication : 1987-1988 ]
    At 28 libraries
    Images of women in peace and war : cross-cultural and historical perspectives / edited by Sharon Macdonald, Pat Holden, and Shirley Ardener
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 93.12)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 93.12)

  3. Dance education conference papers, Melbourne, August 12-15, 1977 / [edited by] Warren R. Lett, Shirley McKechnie
    Dance Education Conference (Melbourne) (1977)
    [ Book : 1978 ]
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 74.684)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 74.684)

  4. Innovation in Australian arts, media, design : fresh challenges for the tertiary sector / edited by Rod Wissler ... [et al.]
    Wissler, Rod
    [ Book, Government publication : 1900-2004 ]
    Languages: English;Undetermined;lis, [2 others]
    At 48 libraries
    Innovation in Australian arts, media, design : fresh challenges for the tertiary sector / edited by Rod Wissler ... [et al.]
    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.076)

    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.076)

  1. Shirley McKechnie [Interview]
    [ Article : 2017 ]
    At AusStage
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 921.461)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 921.461)

  2. Married to the dance. -Recollections of Dame Peggy van Praagh. Interview with Peter Brinson by McKechnie, Shirley; edited and introduced by Trotter, Hilary-
    Brinson, Peter
    Brolga
    [ Article : 1995 ]
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 371.498)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 371.498)

  3. Sure moves in twos, threes, fives
    McKechnie, Shirley
    [ Article : 1996 ]
    View online
    At University Melbourne
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 101.21)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 101.21)

  4. Guest Editorial
    McKechnie, Shirley
    Dance Forum
    [ Article : 2007 ]
    View online (conditions apply)
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 96.625)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 96.625)

  1. Papers of Christopher Sexton
    Sexton, Christopher, 1961-2018
    [ Unpublished : 1929-2008 ]
    View online
    At National Library
    Papers of Christopher Sexton
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.115)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.115)

  2. Papers of Modesta Gentile
    Gentile, Modesta, d. 2008
    [ Unpublished : 1968-1990 ]
    At National Library
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.111)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.111)

  3. Papers of Michelle Potter
    Potter, Michelle, 1944-
    [ Unpublished : 1988-2010 ]
    At National Library
    Papers of Michelle Potter
    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.066)

    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.066)

  1. Green Mill Dance Project (1992 - 1998)
    Green Mill Dance Project (1992 - 1998)
    Created by NLAdance, 4 items.

    The Green Mill Dance Project, also know as the Melbourne Festival of Choreography and Dance, was founded in 1992 as an annual national dance forum. The project was named after the Green Mill dance ...

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 10.403)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 10.403)

  2. Armidale Summer Schools (1967 - 1976)
    Armidale Summer Schools (1967 - 1976)
    Created by NLAdance, 15 items.

    Four summer schools, momentous occasions in the development of dance in Australia, were organised by the University of New England and held on its Armidale (New South Wales) campus in 1967, 1969, 1...

    This resource is likely to be relevant to your query (score: 0.476)

    This resource is likely to be relevant to your query (score: 0.476)

  3. ReelDance, International Dance on Screen Festival (2000 - )
    ReelDance, International Dance on Screen Festival (2000 - )
    Created by NLAdance, 4 items.

    In 2000 One Extra Dance launched the inaugural ReelDance, International Dance on Screen Festival. The festival, an initiative of One Extra Dance, presented short dance films from around the world a...

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.055)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.055)

  1. Family Notices
    The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Monday 17 March 1947 p 16 Family Notices
    ... jcelderipe 15 Lcuk>a Reid Balmain beloved vsifo cf Joseph Lever and dear mc her c1 William and Sarah (Mr ... « John on) and mother In law cf Alfred Johnson and Sslvia Lever igrd 57 vears McCARTHY Ada Miud-March 15 ... 9502 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,715.606)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,715.606)

  2. Family Notices
    The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) Tuesday 13 November 1951 p 18 Family Notices
    ... (Mrs. Nairne), Donald and Ailsa (Mrs. Harder). McKECHNIE. — On November 12, at her residence, 27 ... Florence street, Goodwood, Priscilla, the beloved wife of Malcolm McKech-nie, and loving mother of Alan ... 7686 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,004.212)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,004.212)

  3. Family Notices
    The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Saturday 8 June 1929 p 14 Family Notices
    ... . C. McKechnie, and mother of little Betty, aged 30 years. At rest. RENDELL.—May 26, 1929, at Campsie ... (Pamler Anne) BURGES mee Venee McIntyre ) -May 30 to Mr ?.. . ,,i" w ._-L Burges Rossmoyne Oakville street ... 5540 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 1,964.346)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 1,964.346)

  1. Shirley McKechnie
    AFI [au]
    [ Video : 1988 ]
    At Moving Image Coll
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 980.682)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 980.682)

  2. Shirley McKechnie
    [ Video : 1988 ]
    Languages: Undetermined
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 820.343)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 820.343)

  3. Cole Porter's Can-can : original Broadway cast recording / [music and lyrics by Cole Porter ; book and direction by Abe Burrows]
    Porter, Cole, 1891-1964
    [ Sound : 1953-2004 ]
    At 6 libraries
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 33.865)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 33.865)

  4. Something wonderful : Bryn Terfel sings Rogers & Hammerstein
    Rodgers, Richard, 1902-1979
    [ Sound : 1900-2012 ]
    Languages: English;No linguistic content;German;French, [3 others]
    Possibly online
    At 12 libraries
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 6.563)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 6.563)

  1. IN the Supreme Court of New South Wales.—Probate Jurisdiction.—In the of CLYDE GUTHRIE McKECHNIE.
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 12 August 1955 [Issue No.82] p 2364

    Government Gazette Private Notices

    ... IN* ftie Supreme Courf; of New South Wales.—Probate Juris diction.—In the of COLYDE GUTHRIE McKECHNIE ... for the Executor, 82 Shirley-road, Roseville. By h^s Agents,—Duncan Barkon & Co., Solicitors, 81 ... 196 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 4,057.752)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 4,057.752)

  2. REGISTER OF MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS FOR 1926.
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 22 January 1926 [Issue No.8] p 349

    Government Gazette Notices

    ... , James Matthew... Banks-Smith, Roland Gor don. Barbour«Eric Pitty Barbour, William McKee Barclay, Francis ... Fo£ Barnes, Edmund Horatio.. Barnes, Jack ... ...] Barnet, James Samuel Frederick.' Barnet, Thomas Mc ... 51227 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 1,588.919)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 1,588.919)

  3. NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS AND TRAMWAYS.
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Tuesday 28 June 1927 [Issue No.85 (SUPPLEMENT)] p 2977

    Government Gazette Notices

    ... John Gow Clyde Purcell John Gray George Wythes Frederick .. I McMahon Thomas .. McKechnie Andrew ... Herbert K.... McAndrcw Allan J.... Morgan William L. ... Bussman William E. Jeremy Edward W. ... Poole ... 409977 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 355.696)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 355.696)