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Hélène Kirsova was a Danish-born ballerina who came to Australia with the famed Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. Along with some of the other dancers, she stayed in Sydney after the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe. She created Australia’s first professional ballet company, a forerunner to the Borovansky Ballet, and was also active as a choreographer.

Glebe connections

Hélène Kirsova by Max Dupain, 1936-7, National Library of Australia, nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an12114766
Hélène Kirsova by Max Dupain, 1936-7, National Library of Australia, nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an12114766

Author Dr John Hood describes Kirsova as a woman of independent means who donated the profits from the ballet company’s earliest performances to the Red Cross. She then dedicated the profits from remaining performances to establish a chain of children’s playgrounds in Sydney’s inner suburbs. Kirsova Park (Kirsova Playground No.3) in Wigram Lane, behind the Glebe Library complex, is one of this series of playgrounds endowed by Helene Kirsova.

During the 1940s, overcrowding and poverty meant that Glebe children had few places to play. Today this pocket park is enhanced with slides and climbing frames and shaded by a majestic fig tree.

More information

Australian Dictionary of Biography

Glebe Walks – Pocket Parks

John Hood, Peggy Sager, Prima Ballerina, 2004

Posted on April 6, 2013 by Admin

For more information email: heritage@glebesociety.org.au


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