Tuesday March 11, 2014

Mavis Sykes Remembered

Mavis Sykes (centre back) performing with Mosman Musical Society at R.A.A.F. base Parkes, 1941

At Mosman Library one of our websites is Mosman Faces, a site that tells stories that have shaped the Mosman Community. The stories create a visual history of Mosman through filmed interviews and images from Mosman Library’s Local Studies collection. This year we are changing the format a little and celebrating a Mosman identity who is no longer with us. We are relying on you to tell us a story about ‘Miss Sykes’

Mavis Sykes (1909-1997), remembered by many Mosman children as ‘Miss Sykes’, started teaching ballet in Mosman from the 1920’s. From 1931 she was Ballet Mistress to the Mosman Musical Society and by the mid 1930’s Mavis Sykes had established her own ballet school. This school was the first in Australia to produce full length, three act story ballets for the students. She not only taught ballet but was also a life member of the Royal Academy of Dance and a registered teacher and children’s examiner.

Ian Campbell, Mavis Sykes son, is narrating her story for Mosman Faces and we need your memories and photos to complement his story.

Mavis Sykes passed away in 1997 having taught ballet for 70 of her 88 years. 70 years is a long time which means a lot of students out there with a lot of memories and perhaps a lot of memorabilia too!

We want to celebrate and honour this remarkable woman whose passion and determination gave so many children the opportunity to learn and enjoy all styles of dance, achieve high standards in the Royal Academy examinations and very often go on to pursue a professional career in dance.

The celebrations are starting with you on Saturday March 29 in Mosman Library from 10-3:30pm; we want you to be part of Remembering Miss Sykes

Former students, friends and colleagues are invited to bring their photos in and share their stories of this extraordinary woman. We are filming on this day so let me know (m.byrne@mosman.nsw.gov.au or 99784097) if you want to share a Miss Sykes memory on film – don’t miss out on your chance to shine once more on stage and on Mosman Faces with Miss Sykes.

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