Growing up, we had a piano, but I didn’t play an instrument because I got sent to dance classes very young and dance became all-consuming. 

My parents did play music. They listened to people like Frank Sinatra and Cleo Laine. I distinctly remember Engelbert Humperdinck and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. A bit later, it was Tim Buckley, Carole King and Tom Waits. 

I had this quite progressive dance teacher, even though the school was in the suburbs of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We’d do floorwork to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and I remember being taken to see Reg Livermore’s Betty Blokk Buster Follies. I felt very tapped into the contemporary zeitgeist. 

Kate Champion sits in a theatre seat, her hand resting on her head.

Kate Champion. Photo © Frances Andrijich

It was quite a creative school, but I had a classical training. I remember dancing to Chopin’s Piano Concertos and Mazurkas. I don’t think I would have had the career I’ve had if I hadn’t gone to that dance school.