History of ADi

Australian Dance Insitute was founded by Sydney Dance Teacher Penny Lancaster. Penny was one of the first Australians to receive the RAD Dance Teaching Diploma in the early 1980s. She began her Classical Ballet Training at age three and continued her professional training at the Scully Borovansky School in Sydney. She then combined Dance Teaching with her career. After several years in theatre, film, television and advertising, Penny finally opened her dance academy.

After running her dance school for more than 25 years, Penny recognised the need for a more objective dance assessment program that was Australian owned and developed. This allowed students to progress at their own pace within a holistic dance education program encompassing knowledge in addition to technical dance skills. In the 1990s Penny worked with the Board of Studies in NSW, writing and assessing the HSC Classical Ballet Syllabus. During that time, she observed that students would benefit and enjoy learning about dance history, body science, choreography and career education from a young age. This would create an awareness of the realities of a dance career, serve as a preventative measure against eating disorders and give positive outcomes and life skills. These are still significant elements that are not always present in the drive for elite talent.

Penny Lancaster.
Founder of ADI

Growing out of ADV, Australian Dance Insitute become a separate RTO operation in 2009. At this point, ADi donated its entire intellectual property to IBSA (Innovation and Business Skills Australia) and governing bodies to create specified dance competencies reflective of true industry standards. As a result of ADi’scontribution, the first government accredited, industry-specific, training package for Dance was born. It contained useful units that distinguished between various dance styles and skills.

Since then, we have undergone various changes to training packages and continue to provide industry feedback to government bodies to ensure each course reflects the skills students need to enter the industry successfully.

In 2020, Penny moved into an honorary role and continues to advise, support and promote ADi and it’s successful students.