Willy de la Bye was born on August 25, 1934, in The Hague, Netherlands. She began her dance training at a young age and went on to study with several renowned teachers and choreographers in Europe, including Maurice Béjart and Martha Graham.

In 1957, de la Bye joined the Dutch National Ballet, where she quickly rose to prominence as a soloist. She performed a wide range of classical and contemporary works with the company and gained a reputation for her technical prowess and dramatic intensity.

Together with her husband Jaap Flier

She married the Dutch Australian dancer Jaap Flier in the 1960s, who later became the Artistic Director of the Dance Company of NSW.

In the mid-1960s, they immigrated to Australia, where she quickly established herself as a leading figure in the country’s dance community. She performed with a number of Australian dance companies, including the Australian Ballet, and went on to become a founding member of the Sydney Dance Company.

In the early 1970s, de la Bye became the Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet, a position she held until 1976. During her time with the company, she helped to establish it as a leading ballet company in Australia and introduced a number of innovative new works and choreographic styles.

After leaving the Queensland Ballet, de la Bye continued to work as a choreographer and dancer, both in Australia and internationally. She collaborated with a number of artists and dance companies, and her works were known for their innovative use of movement and their exploration of themes such as gender, sexuality, and identity.

De la Bye was also an important advocate for the arts in Australia and played an active role in promoting dance and other forms of artistic expression in the country. She was married to Jaap Flier, and the two often collaborated on dance projects throughout their careers. Together, they had a significant impact on the development of Australian dance and helped to establish the country as a center of contemporary dance and choreography. De la Bye passed away in 2018 at the age of 84.

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National Library of Australia