Jeff McCormack

I was born in Newcastle N.S.W. 150 years ago, my introduction to ballet came as a result of contracting “Kohlers” disease when I was a child, this disease attacks the bones and in my case it was my right lower leg ot such an extent that amputation was considered an option. After managing to halt the disease it was suggested by the specialist that my mother take me to ballet lessons, it was felt this type of exercise would slowly build the muscles and assist the soft tissue in its development.
So, after visiting several ballet schools and being a difficult student (pain in the butt) I was taken to Tessa Maunders studio in New Lambton, (I wasn’t going to learn this sissy stuff) she was very strict so I soon learnt to shut up and get on with it and go home sooner, Tessa wasn’t any more sympathetic toward me because of my invalid right leg than any other student.
After about 6 months I had made friends there and I was feeling better about doing this sissy stuff, as long as the other kids at school didn’t know about it, well I hoped not anyway, but they always find out somehow. Well, enough of that chapter of my childhood, I continued with Tessa and eventually made arrangements to audition with the AUSS ballet, that didn’t eventuate as Peggy Van Prague and Robert helpman kept putting it off while I waited for days in a Melbourne motel until I decided enough was enough, after a week of waiting I told them what I thought of them and headed back home, promising myself I wouldn’t  ever dance here in Australia.
Back in Newcastle Linda Papworth and Maureen Walker were home from their respective companies and both told me there were vacancies with them in Europe, so, after a few phone calls and telegrams (ancient form of email !!!) I left to audition in Europe, I was lucky as I was successful in all 3 of them, I chose the offer of the Graz opera house in Austria and my fully Professional career began.
I have since performed with Graz opera house, Theatre of Vienna, The Vienna stadt opera ballet, Festival ballet U.K. South African ballet (P.A.C.T.) San Francisco ballet, and guest artist with the Burg theatre Vienna and also Madrid and Valencia in Spain.
After 20 plus years as a professional overseas I returned home and worked for 12 months with the Queensland ballet moved into teaching and haven’t stopped, these days I teach those that I choose, not those that are recreational or part timers, both student and me benefit more from this arrangement, so that brings me loosely to this current point in time.