Welcome to Dancelines.

I’m an author and journalist, based in Sydney, Australia, who began writing about ballet and contemporary dance more than 20 years ago. As a fulltime journalist at Fairfax Media, I was the dance writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and ballet and dance critic for The Australian Financial Review. As a freelance writer, my work is published in a number of newspapers and magazines and in theatre programs including those of The Australian Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Ballet National of Cuba, Hamburg Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, English National Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater and the Sydney Festival.

In 2010, I was the Nancy Keesing Fellow of the State Library of New South Wales where I researched the ballet and dance collections.

I trained at Royal Academy of Dance schools in New Zealand and many years later, in Sydney, I studied the RAD syllabus once more and became an accredited teacher of the academy.

In 2002, I graduated with a BPhil (Hons) in Ballet & Contextual Studies from Durham University in the United Kingdom.

At Fairfax Media, I was also the foundation editor of Good Weekend and the editor of The Times on Sunday and I’ve written four non-fiction books, Connie Sweetheart, The Allens Affair, Mary Poppins, She Wrote, a biography of Pamela Travers and Dancing Under the Southern Skies, a history of ballet in Australia.

The Australian Ballet has listed Dancing Under the Southern Skies as one of their best ballet books writing:

Valerie Lawson

“There are very few comprehensive histories of ballet in Australia: this is the only one published this century. It’s no dusty academic tome. Lawson, a journalist and author, takes us from Australia’s feverish reception of Anna Pavlova through the glamour days of the Ballets Russes’ tours to the birth and growth of The Australian Ballet, always with an eye for the telling
detail and the juicy anecdote”.


Valerie Lawson image