Margaret Illmann had a highly successful career as a ballerina spanning three continents originating from Australia, through the Americas, across Europe and now back returning home. Now, though continuing as a teacher/coach and adjudicator when time allows, she is transitioning into physiotherapy at Notre Dame University.
Margaret was born in Adelaide, Australia and trained in Cecchetti technique by Dorothy Noye and two years with the Australian Ballet school. In 1985, she was invited to join the Australian Ballet and won a scholarship to study with the graduating year of the Paris Opera Ballet school. Margaret was made soloist with the Australian Ballet in 1988 and in 1989 moved to Canada to join the National Ballet of Canada where she was made Principal dancer one year later.
In 1993 Margaret was offered the leading role in the Broadway Musical, "The Red Shoes" where she won three awards. The Theatre World Award for Best Actress, the Fred Astaire Award for Best dancer on Broadway and a Drama Desk nomination. She was honoured to work with Jules Styne, Susan Schulmann, Marsha Norman, Stanley Donen, Roger Reese and George de la Pena, to mention just a few.
She left Canada and became Principal of the Stuttgart Ballet 1996-1998, freelanced for a year basing in New York 1998, then Principal in Berlin Deutsch Oper 1999-2000 season and Staatsoper Berlin 2000-2001. In 2002 Margaret rejoined the Australian Ballet for its 40th Anniversary year appearing in the World Premiere of Graeme Murphy's, "Swan Lake". After an enforced break due to an ACL reconstruction and successful rehabilitation, she became Principal dancer of the Vienna Staatsoper in November, 2003.
Her extensive experience as an International Guest artist has seen her work with companies including the New York City Ballet, English National Ballet, La Scala Milan, Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier, Bavarian State Ballet Munich and Zurich Ballet. Numerous Galas also include Gala Des Etoiles in Montreal, Nijinsky Gala Hamburg, Nureyev Gala Toronto and various in Moscow, St Petersburg, Granada, Zagreb and Belgrade. Modern Dance Festivals include Vienna, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It was with great pleasure that Margaret also performed in Command Performances for Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and at the Wedding Gala for Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson Dancing Juliet with the Royal Danish Ballet's Mads Blangstrup.
Her repertoire ranges from all major classical roles to those of modern ballet. She has danced, to give but one example, the role of Juliet in five different choreographies (Amodio, Cranko, Neumeier, Vàmos, Bart).
Other Choreographers include Ashton, Balanchine, Béjart, Deane, Kylián, MacMillan, van Manen, Petit, Preljocaj, Robbins, Scholz, Spoerli and Taylor. Margaret has also collaborated with Amedeo Amodio, Patrice Bart, Mauro Bigonzetti, David Bintley, Luciano Cannito, Marguerite Dolon, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Lar Lubovitch, Graeme Murphy, John Neumeier, Ricardo Nunez, David Parsons and Glen Tetley on new creations.
Her partners have included Roberto Bolle, Fernando Bujones, José Manuel Carreno, Kelvin Coe, Vladimir Derevianko, Thomas Edur, Maximiliano Guerra, Rex Harrington, Steven Heathcote, Nikolai Hübbe, David McAllister, Vladimir Malakhov, Oliver Matz, Massimo Murru, Raphael Paganini, Lloyd Riggins, Ronald Savkovic, Robert Tewsley and Damien Woetzel.
From her time in Canada two BRAVO Television Specials were made of her work. Margaret also appeared in a children's film "ROSSINI'S GHOST" and a television mini series, Daniel Steele's "ZOYA". She also appeared in a film by Dominique Delouche "Violette Verdy and Mr. Balanchine" with ètoiles of the Paris Opera. Margaret also enjoys writing and has had two pieces published in Tanz International.
Margaret has won many prizes for her work since The South Australian Young Achiever´s Award in 1989 including a Prix Benois de la Danse nomination and voted several times the most outstanding female dancer in the annual international critics´ survey of 'Dance-International' in Europe. During her time in Stuttgart, Margaret was the spokesperson for "Children with Cancer" and was named one of "Five most important people 1997" in the annual Stuttgarter Zeitung International census. As well as her Broadway awards she was awarded the 2000 critics´ prize by the 'Berliner Zeitung' and the 2001 German Critics Prize by the 'German Critics Association'.
In 2002 and 2003, she was invited to moderate for the Australian International Cecchetti Competition in Melbourne Australia and was made an 'Honorary Member of the Cecchetti Society'. Since then she has also been offered membership of UNESCO’s International Dance Council CID.
Since returning to Australia, Margaret achieved her Cert 4 in Teaching and assessment and Graduate Certificate in Marketing whilst working as Classical Dance Co-ordinator and Lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts (WAAPA), in Perth. She has enjoyed adjudicating examinations, scholarships and the Sydney Eisteddfod and coaching for Tanya Pearson Academy She now looks forward to implementing much learnt from her International Career through her new career as Physiotherapist beginning, 2009.