Silver Swans Ambassador

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 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.

Mary-Jane has created a wide range of highly acclaimed work including the Auckland Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games with a cast of 6000 and viewed by over 5 million TV audiences worldwide; the first ever commissioned three act ballet for the Royal New Zealand Ballet ‘Jean, The Ballet’ about our most famous aviatrix Jean Batten.

She has received numerous grants and awards including the $30,000 Allen Highet Award (1984) for outstanding achievement by a mid-career artist and was awarded a Queens Service Medal for her services to dance in 1990.

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.