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The Strictly Ballroom Story at the Powerhouse Museum

Home > Sydney > Cinema | Dancing | Exhibitions | Family | Museums
by Jenny Hatton Mahon (subscribe)
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Love is in the Air
Do you remember these taglines?
A life lived in fear... is a life half-lived.
There's something in the air. It might be love, but it isn't strictly ballroom.

strictly ballroom powerhouse museum exhibition
Let your sequins soar with the amazing costumes of Catherine Martin


Cast your minds back to 1992, the year that Strictly Ballroom hit our cinema screens. This romantic comedy, directed and co-written by Baz Luhrmann, has since become an Australian classic.

What many readers may not know is that the story of Strictly Ballroom dates back to 1984 when Luhrmann and others developed the story while studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney. It was later expanded for theatre performances overseas and a season at Sydney's Wharf Theatre in 1988.

strictly ballroom powerhouse museum exhibition
Costumes that makes the feathers fly


Thirty years later, the Powerhouse Museum celebrates this Australian classic with an exhibition to coincide with a new stage production of Strictly Ballroom currently being performed at Sydney Lyric Theatre.

The exhibition is a feast of Strictly Ballroom memorabilia, including design drawings, photographs, clips from performances and other items from the archive. The highlight, however, is a stunning array of original costumes created by Oscar winner, Catherine Martin. Love is in the air for visitors to the exhibition who appreciate the design and drama of Catherine Martin's creations. The colours and intricate designs will have your feathers flying and sequins soaring.

strictly ballroom powerhouse museum exhibition
Sketches, drawings and notes showing one part of the evolution of costume design


The story of Strictly Ballroom is a celebration of individual expression and challenge to dusty old-school rules. The exhibition itself makes the visitor dance for joy that there are those who are prepared to step on the toes of the so-called "authorities" for much needed change.

So, get your fancy footwork along to the Powerhouse Museum to enjoy the Strictly Ballroom Story exhibition. It will take you back in Time (after Time).

The exhibition is on now and runs until 9 November 2014. More information can be found at the Powerhouse Museum website.

strictly ballroom powerhouse museum exhibition
Experience the drama encapsulated in the costume designs

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Why? Because dancing should be daring
When: 10am to 5pm every day
Phone: (02) 9217 0111
Where: Powerhouse Museum
Cost: See website for entry fees
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