Patrick Harding-Irmer was a student at Sydney University when he started dancing at the age of 24 with Keith Bain at the Bodenwieser Dance Centre. In 1970 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Philosophy and German, gained a Diploma in Education, and then taught high school for a year, hoping however to make his career in dance.
In 1972 he travelled to Europe and was asked by Robert Cohan, Artistic Director of London Contemporary Dance Theatre, to join his Company. He remained with LCDT for 17 years as dancer, teacher, choreographer, and on two occasions, Acting Artistic Director.
In 1985 he was voted best modern dancer in Britain by ‘Dance and Dancers’ magazine and also in that year he graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Class 1 in Contemporary Dance from the University of Kent, having completed the degree while maintaining a full-time performing schedule.
He toured constantly throughout Britain and around the world including two Olympic Arts Festivals, Los Angeles ’84 and Seoul ’88. The company never performed in Australia.
Since returning to Sydney he has been teaching Martha Graham contemporary dance technique extensively around the country, has choreographed for several companies and tertiary dance programmes and has continued performing on a freelance basis in companies and independent productions.
For the 1991 Melbourne International Festival he danced Vesalii Icones, a 45-minute solo choreographed for him (and a two metre water-python!) by Jonathan Taylor, which gained a nomination for a Victorian Green Room Award in the category of ‘best performance by a male dancer in a leading role’. He recreated this role in 1998 with Music Theatre Sydney and was nominated for a MO Award.
He has danced in six separate seasons with the One Extra Co. in Sydney: People Like Us for Kai Tai Chan; Cats Step Softly, Blossoms and Wrinkles, Everything But and Tent of Miracles for Graeme Watson; and Body of Evidence for Julie-Anne Long.
He has also performed with Cheryl Stock’s Dance North, Stephanie Burridge’s Canberra Dance Theatre, Graeme Murphy’s Sydney Dance Company, the Australian Ballet in Murphy’s Nutcracker, Opera Australia in their production of Mozart’s Mitridate re di Ponto and of course all the productions of Australian Dance Artists.