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Photos by Sean Higgins

Kelley Abbey is known as Australia’s most inspirational doyenne of dance. She is an accomplished and respected creative director, choreographer and performer in Film, TV and Theatre.


She is widely acknowledged for her exceptional ability to see the uniqueness in every artist and is renowned for constantly seeking to encourage and inspire others.


She Is a Helpmann, Mo, Variety Heart and Green Room award winning performer in Musical Theatre. She has also won multiple Helpmann awards for her Choreography in Musicals. Kelley also holds a Hollywood Choreography Media Honours for her choreographic work in the Oscar, Golden Globe & Bafta winning feature film Happy Feet.


Kelley is a true triple threat in musical theatre, performing in countless stage shows and musicals including the multi award winning Sweet Charity, Dancin’ Man, Dynamite and West Side Story. Kelley also impressively choreographed and performed a lead role in Grease the Arena Spectacular. She also directed, choreographed and played the lead in Fame the Musical - that earned her a Helpmann award for her choreography and a nomination for best director.


Kelley’s other choreographic theatre credits include Opera Australia’s Helpmann award winning production of Salome and Carmen on the harbour and the main stage of the Sydney Opera House. Musical productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Footloose, Follies, Funny Girl, Hedwig and The Angry Inch, Xanadu, Miracle City, Cabaret (winning a Broadway World award) Fame the Musical in Australia, Asia & South Africa, Bell Shakespeare’s The Misanthrope, and Hugh Jackman’s The Boy from Oz in the arena (winning a Helpmann Award for Best Choreography along with Kenny Ortega). She was also the artistic director on Two Strong Hearts and The Main Event which were stadium concerts starring John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John and Anthony Warlow and the Associate Director to Baz Luhrmann on the world premiere stage adaptation of Strictly Ballroom the musical.


On Australian television, Kelley became a household name as Jojo in the popular soap E Street. Kelley went on to choreograph and appear in a multitude of TV series, specials and awards. She sang at the opening of Sydney’s Olympic Stadium and to a packed stadium at the AFL Grand Final. She was seen as the on-camera choreographer on ‘I Will Survive’ for Network Ten, and played an acting role on the ABC series Dance Academy.


Kelley’s choreography on So You Think You Can Dance was highly acclaimed and led to her being invited to choreograph on the American SYTYCD series. She was the Australian judge on NBC’s Superstars of Dance. Kelley is also the Creative Director on multiple seasons of the Australian TV series Dancing with The Stars.


Kelley is also one of Australia’s leading music video choreographers working with many pop artists and award-winning international acts. Her directorial debut in music video was nominated for Best Video at the Australian Music Awards.


Kelley staged and choreographed Human Nature performances on their international tours with Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Celine Dion. She has choreographed many performances for Australian Pop Idol’s on TV week Logie Awards, Aria Awards, MTV Awards, X Factor and The Voice as well as staging Ricky Martin’s Logies performance.


In film, Kelley was the choreographer, principal motion-capture consultant and lead performer on the multi award winning film Happy Feet directed by George Miller. Kelley’s choreography has also been featured in the Australian films Goddess starring Magda Szubanski, Laura Michelle Kelly and Ronan Keating, and In Her Skin starring Miranda Otto, Guy Pearce and Sam Neil.


Kelley continues to choreograph, direct and mentor all around the country. Her masterclasses and one-on-one sessions provide young Australian performers with both an insight into their own artistry and access to Kelley’s expertise and guidance.

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