Graeme Murphy AM (b 1950), Australia's greatest and most productive choreographer, has been Artistic Director of the Sydney Dance Company since 1976. Born in Melbourne, he was educated in Launceston where he studied ballet with Kenneth Gillespie, and, later, at the Australian Ballet School. Graeme's original dance works, numbering over seventy and including thirty full-length works, are closely created with his dancers and muse (Janet Vernon). These include Ecco (1971), Sequenza VII (1977), Poppy (1978), Synergy with synergy (1992), Swan Lake (2001) and Shades of gray (2004). He has collaborated with skating duo Torvill and Dean (Fire and ice, 1986), the Australian Opera (Turandot, 1990), Australian Ballet (Nutcracker, 1992), combined Australian companies (VAST, 1988) and in film (Sensing, 1993). Eclectic, highly innovative and diverse, distinctively Australian, sometimes funky and often challenging, Graeme's work moves between the classical and the modern, the past and the present, and resonates across the social spectrum. In 1987 he was Australian of the Year.
Further reading: T Benbow-Pfalzgraf (ed), International dictionary of modern dance, Detroit, 1998; Dance Australia, 1980–, SLT; www.sydneydance.com.au.