A life devoted to dance and Queensland

Harold Collins, the choreographer, teacher and former artistic director of the Queensland Ballet died last weekend.

Born in 1942, Collins succeeded the founding artistic director of the Queensland Ballet, Charles Lisner, and remained in the post for 18 years.

He had an even longer association with the company, joining the Lisner Ballet, as it was then known, in 1960 as a founding member.

The Lisner Ballet, founded by Charles Lisner, was renamed the Queensland Ballet in 1962.

In 1964, Collins took up a soloist’s contract with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, then returned briefly to the Queensland Ballet before dancing with the San Francisco Ballet and London Festival Ballet.

Back in Australia, following the death of his father, he was a principal dancer at the Queensland Ballet from 1974 to 1978 when its artistic director was Harry Haythorne.

Collins choreographed his own productions of Carmen (1980), Romeo and Juliet (1982) and Salome (1986).

In 1989, he was awarded an MBE for his services to the dance community.

He directed the Queensland Youth Ballet and choreographed as a freelancer after retirement from the Queensland Ballet.

Collins died on July 30 of melanoma. His funeral will be held tomorrow, August 3, at a church in the Brisbane suburb of Carindale.

In 1986 and 1991, Bill Stephens interviewed Collins for the National Library of Australia. Among other things, he spoke about his parents and their background in dance; early ballet lessons, Charles Lisner, the Royal Ballet School where he trained, the Lisner Ballet, the Queensland Ballet, National Ballet of New Zealand, studying and working in the United States, and the London Festival Ballet.

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Harold Collins

Harold Collins, photo © Angela Lynkushka, taken in 1992 or 1993, National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an11032057-3

Harold Collins

Harold Collins, photo © Grahame Garner, National Library of Australia, nla.pic-vn5150737-v