Liz Lea

Liz Lea

Photo by Lorna Sim


The influence of my Lisa Ullman Scholarship continues through my practice. I travelled to India to research the tours Anna Pavlova took in the 1920’s across India. It was. an extraordinary journey that took me across India’s major cities in search of the theatres and hotels Pavlova and her company performed and stayed in as well as places they visited like Ajanta, Gold Temple and Taj Mahal. 

Straight after the tour I returned to India and filmed a documentary called ‘On the trail of Ruth st Denis’ which premiered at the National Film and Sound Archive here in Canberra in 2019.

Photo by Maria Falkoner

I created a full-length company show titled 120 Birds following our findings. This work premiered at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe to rave reviews and I then brought it back to Canberra for a season in 2012 with 4 elder dancers also.

In 2021 I created The Point, a work with 12 dancers exploring the Bindu, the point of connection between peoples and between Canberra and India. The dancers included Kathak, Kuchipudi and Bharata Natyam. Connecting back into my training in classical Indian and connections with India was another follow through from the Lisa Ullmann.

Photo by Andrew Sikorski

My work has continued to develop with a strong focus on quality community dance practice and accessibility. I was the Artistic Director of Canberra Dance Theatre from 2010-16 and during that time the GOLD company was launched and they recently had their 10th Anniversary. I still work regularly with them. Most recently I have launched the Chamaeleon Collective, Canberra’s first inclusive dance company of emerging artists who live with disability.

During my time based in the UK, travelling and performing I was unaware that I had Endomentriosis. This came to a head just after the 2010 season of 120 Birds, inspired by my Lisa Ullman trip. Major surgery ensued and following this I brought together a wonderful team of people who helped me create a new one woman show called RED which premiered in 2018. The work has travelled widely and was booked for the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival program at Dance Base under the Direction of the brilliant Morag Deyes. Lockdown ensued, more major surgery and Morag invited me to the 2022 Festival which I have just returned from.

Photo by Maria Falkoner

The connection I have with so many wonderful UK based artists and producers including Morag, Karen Gallagher and June Gamble is all informed by my work in and around classical Indian dance. The research I undertook and the journey that my Lisa Ullman Scholarship assisted me in – for the 2008 trip around India and the most recent trip back to the UK. Seeds sown continue to reap so many benefits and relationships for me and I am so grateful.