17 February 2020 11:21

Vale Joan Halliday OAM FRAD 1919-2019

It with great sadness today, that the RAD acknowledges the passing of a much respected, revered and treasured member of our community.

Earlier this year we had very real pleasure of celebrating with Joan Halliday OAM FRAD on the occasion of her 100th birthday. RAD members, teachers and staff, including then National Director Bronwyn Watkins and RAD Chief Executive Luke Rittner, came together for a morning tea in honour of Joan.  Fond memories of this occasion and Joan’s joy at being surrounded by fellow dancers, former students and RAD friends offer a small measure of comfort in this moment of sadness.

Luke Rittner said:

Joan Halliday OAM FRAD and her twin sister Monica were true friends of the Academy, stalwarts of the dance profession and inspirational teachers and friends to countless students for longer than most of us can remember. Joan’s sad passing truly marks the end of an era as she and her sister Monica were nothing short of an institution in their own right.  I would like to add my sincere respects to an indomitable, exceptional and remarkable lady. She will be missed by the entire RAD family and the dance community at large.


About Joan Halliday OAM FRAD

Joan Halliday and her beloved twin Monica, were important figures in the RAD and broader dance community for many years. Born in Melbourne Joan and her sister Monica commenced their early ballet training with Phyllis Danaher in Brisbane. They relocated to Sydney to train at the Kirsova School of Ballet and danced with the Kirsova Ballet Company.

Joan and Monica then joined the Borovansky Ballet and later Ballet Rambert for its Australian and New Zealand tour.

They established the Halliday Dance Centre in Sydney and many ‘Halliday’ students went on to careers with The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and with Madrid’s Nacho Duato.

In 1960 Joan and Monica sat their RAD Advanced Teacher’s Diploma becoming RAD examiners, Joan a Major examiner and Monica a Grades examiner, and they examined internationally and throughout Australia. As RAD Life members, they were awarded Fellowships of the Royal Academy of Dance in 1991. And in 1993 Joan and Monica were awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s birthday list, for services to classical dance. In 1998 they received an Australian Dance Award for outstanding achievement in dance education.

Joan survived her twin Monica for many years and went on to become Patron of the New South Wales Regional Advisory Panel. Our Graded Awards Day in New South Wales was named in honour of these remarkable women and plans to commemorate their life at the Joan and Monica Halliday Awards in March 2020 will be announced nearer the time.

Read more about Joan Halliday by clicking the article link in this Facebook post here

See Joan and Monica’s Ballet in Bush 1965 summer school here