Production designer Melinda Doring has donated to the NFSA a unique collection of home movies and video recordings by her mother, dancer and make-up artist Dawn Swane. The footage includes a never-before-seen 1965 clip of The Beatles.
This diverse collection documenting Dawn’s career begins with Super 8mm films shot in 1957 when Dawn toured Europe as a dancer with the London Festival Ballet. It continues into the early 1990s with video recordings of inventive make-up presentations recorded at her successful Sydney make-up school, the 3 Arts Make-up Centre.
At a very young age, Dawn won the Frances Scully Overseas Scholarship in 1952 – the award took her to London and carried her into the world of ballet, opera, theatre, film, television and choreography. Arriving in England she was accepted into the Sadler’s Wells School (now the Royal Ballet School). She was later invited to join the London Festival Ballet, just in time to learn a dance to perform at Grace Kelly’s royal wedding in Monte Carlo in 1956.
Dawn toured Europe extensively and it was during this period that she picked up her 8mm home movie camera in Copenhagen, Denmark.