A lifetime on her toes

Lust for life... Charmaine Marangoni still enjoys dancing at age 81. Picture: Elle Borgward d409093
Lust for life... Charmaine Marangoni still enjoys dancing at age 81. Picture: Elle Borgward d409093

Now, each year Ms Marangoni watches other young dancers starting their own love affair with the art form at the Kwinana Dance Festival.

The petite ballerina, standing a little over 147cm tall, usually sits in the second row at Koorliny Arts Centre.

Ms Marangoni dreamt of dancing Swan Lake on stages around the world as gracefully as the late British ballerina Margo Fonteyn.

More than six decades after beginning her career as a principal dancer in the Australian Ballet Company in Sydney, Ms Marangoni said age had not diminished her elegant pirouettes.

‘There is something about ballet that I just love, and I think that it is a combination of the music and the costumes,’ she said.

‘Growing up, I didn’t really have a social life because I was completely dedicated to ballet practice. I may be 81 years old, but I still like to dance around the house and keep active.’

By age 16, Ms Marangoni owned a ballet studio in western Sydney called Charmaine’s Ballet School for Dancing.

Her scholarship with the Australian Ballet Company opened up leading roles in classical ballet theatre, including The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

In 1986, she moved to Parmelia with her late husband and volunteered at a church in Medina, teaching ballet to Kwinana’s aspiring ballerinas.

Ms Marangoni said despite hanging up her ballet slippers many moons ago, her heart would always belong to the stage and she hoped her passion would inspire others to follow their dreams.