Image Credit (c) Phil O'Reilly. WIth Mary-Jane O'Reilly in Witch Bitch (2009)
Mary-Jane O’Reilly QSM. A.R.A.D Mary-Jane O’Reilly has had a professional career spanning over 40 years both in New Zealand and internationally.
Her early years were spent studying ballet from the age of 4, gaining Solo Seal while at the National Ballet School (now the New Zealand School of Dance) and performing with the New Zealand Ballet in 1969 before heading to London on an RAD scholarship to study at the Royal Ballet School and then performing in ballet companies in Europe. In 1976 she turned to contemporary dance, studying Cunningham Technique in the USA before returning to NZ and co-founding Limbs Dance Company in 1977 as a dancer and choreographer and as the Artistic Director from 1979 to 1986 creating over 45 original works for Limbs. In 1990 her concept (with Phil O’Reilly) and choreography of the Auckland Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games with a cast of 6000, was viewed by over 1 billion TV audiences worldwide. She has received numerous grants and awards including the $30,000 Allen Highest Award (1984) for outstanding achievement by a mid-career artist and was awarded a Queens Service Medal for her services to dance in 1990. It was also in 1990 that she choreographed the first ever commissioned three act ballet for the Royal New Zealand Ballet ‘Jean, The Ballet’ about our most famous aviatrix Jean Batten. From 1996 to 2001 she directed the contemporary ballet company Auckland Dance Company, and from 2001 – 2004 Mary-Jane taught at the Dance Programme of the University of Auckland. From 2006 to 2011 she was Artistic Director of Tempo, New Zealand’s Festival of Dance, www.tempo.co.nz and in 2012 Mary-Jane co-curated the Living Room Festival (for the Auckland Council) with Phil O’Reilly .
Currently she produces and presents In Flagrante– her successful contemporary dance / neo burlesque work and continues to be a freelance choreographer and dance teacher - teaching beginners ballet and open ballet level classes to adults at TAPAC. www.tapac.org.nz
In April 2019, Mary-Jane presented an excerpt of her contemporary ballet version of Giselle - What Becomes of the Broken Hearted at the Auckland Art Gallery’s North Atrium: https://vimeo.com/342620271
A Life In Dance
A random compilation of Mary-Jane O'Reilly's life in dance