Vale: Ross Coleman

coleman-rossRoss Coleman, renowned choreographer and dancer in Australian theatre and television, has died, aged 60.

Coleman made his debut as a professional choreographer in the original Australian production of Grease in 1972. He went on to become one of the most respected choreographers in the business.

Coleman was a regular on 1970s variety shows including Bandstand and The Don Lane Show, which led to the formation of his troupe The Ross Coleman Dancers.

In theatre his work was formidiable including work on Side by Side by Sondheim, The Rocky Horror Show, Jerry’s Girls, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Cabaret, Grease – The Arena Spectacular, Shout, Dusty, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Priscilla the Musical.

Coleman is also remembered for his appearance in the original Australian production of A Chorus Line.

Producer David Hawkins called Coleman “one of our greatest ever creatives”.

Source: Aussie Theatre, Priscilla


  1. noel talbot

    Ross was a great talent I met him for the first time shortly after my arrival from UKi in 1977 I became a regular on the Mike Walsh show and on a few occasiones we found ourseves together in Chanel 9s green room .
    I always found him witty charming but above all highly talented and I know he is sadly missed in the entertainment industry but his legacy can still be seen In Priscilla currently in London and New York respectivly
    Happy Memories
    Noel Talbot.

  2. A lot of people have forgotten that ross was the choreographer man in the Billy Thorpe T. V. show”its all happening”in 1966…..he was a great talent!!!!

  3. Kat Alberts

    Like Darren said above, Ross made a huge contribution to my formative years. I learned off his teacher Helen De Paul and then went on to do classes with him among other great teachers like Peggy Watson, Ronne Arnold and Mira Mansell. I can still remember the choreography for the audition for Chicago back in the early 80’s. Although I haven’t seen him for 25 years, I couldn’t stop crying when I heard the news. Thanks Ross for being on the planet. You’ve made it a batter place for your being here.

  4. He was a good man, with a kind heart and me and my family’s thoughts and prayers go out to the Coleman’s, Oleg, and Ross. He had a strong conviction and never gave up and that’s how I’ll remember him.

  5. Todd (Tj) Coleman

    No, we are not related to Jason Coleman. Ross Was my uncle and one of the original vegemite kids, he was my greatest inspiration and a fascinating human being

  6. Hadnt seen my cousin since we were both dancing at 12, was awed then how good.Followed career generally over the years,but never kept in touch. Just now found out Ross had died this year, what a great loss for the Oz dance industry.Queery- is Jason Coleman a relie as well?

  7. There are people that you come across in life that are formative in who you become. Ross was one of those people for me. Looking through his list of credits there never seems to to be a mention of one of his great (if shortlived) achievements in the opening of his school. The Ross Coleman school of performing arts. The list of names of the people who came in touch with that school would still list as the whos who in the Australian dance and performing arts industry.
    What an enormous loss but the greatest thing is he shared his gift with so many and his legacy will live on.
    With Love and Great Memories
    Darren Holt

  8. Dean Lotherington

    The Australian showbusiness scene, across the board, when it came to choreography was in the grip of one person for over four decades. That person was Ross Coleman. Not just the dancer’s but actor’s and singer’s too. Not just Theatre but Film and Television too. He was a force to be reckoned with, and the dancers’ best director – the actors’ best choroegarpher.
    Only once in a lifetime does a lightning rod of talent walk these paths. Thank the heavens it was our lifetime – it wont happen again; not with that amount of style and wit and ‘arch intelligence’.
    America got Fosse. We got Ross Coleman. Boy weren’t we damn lucky!
    Profoundly missed.

  9. As David said it’s a great loss to the Australian showbiz industry. It didn’t matter what show he was connected to, his choreography was unbelievable. From the early days until Priscilla, his passing will be felt by many. Vale Ross Coleman, you were one of the greats.

  10. David @ Green Point

    A great loss to the Australian showbiz industry. Possibly Australia’s greatest choreographer. He was a TV regular in the early days, a regular dancer & choreographer on 9’s Bandstand & Don Lane shows and half-a-dozen others. Dug out my “Chorus Line” programme from the original Melbourne season (1977) and he was in the cast, together with David Atkins, Ronne Arnold, Jack Webster, Garth Welch, Peita Toppano and Tony Bartuccio. My God, what a cast it turned out to be!

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