Journal articles and newsletters from Ausdance and industry partners.
From January 2017 we will start analysing the rich and valuable data provided though the Safe Dance IV questionnaire. We will also be writing the 4th Safe Dance report, which will be made available to the dance community via the Ausdance National website. In particular this report will detail the current prevalence of injuries in Australia’s professional dance population and describe progress that has been made in injury prevention and management since the 3rd Safe Dance report was published in 1999. The major study conclusions will be used to help set priority areas for future dance research and action, make updated safe dance practice recommendations and assist with evaluations of current injury prevention initiatives.
This article reflects on a dance improvisation project in which the foundational relationship of the Mover Witness Dyad (MWD), the private exchange between mover and witness (and more commonly known as Authentic Movement) became an ethical and physical paradigm for an improvised performance. The untitled performance (danced by Olivia Millard, Peter Fraser, Jason Marchant, Sophia Cowen and myself) took place over three nights in Melbourne in November 2014. It was specifically informed by the experiences, observations and questions drawn from an extensive studio practice of the MWD by myself and the other dancers. The practice of the MWD is a therapeutic relationship between contemplative mover and attentive witness. Falling within the wider field of Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), the MWD has uses as a therapeutic aid, in personal development and also as a context for exploring dance improvisation.
Olivia Millard explores the use of scores or verbal propositions in improvising dance. Examining the use of scores in her improvisation practice, she discusses what scores might be and might do and how they relate to the real time composition of dance in the present of its making. To help explore these ideas I refer to the theory of Nelson Goodman and discuss the use of scores by other dance practitioners including Steve Paxton, Yvonne Meier and Anna Halprin.
Anne Scott Wilson, a former professional dancer, discusses how she came to understand embodied processes in her visual art practice using photography.
In this paper, Dianne demonstrates the intersections of her research/practice, mixing live and screen bodies, poetic and academic writing. She is posing an improvisational approach to screendance and an embodied approach to writing as possibilities for seeing, imagining and being in the dancing, researching body. She is interrogating her own embodied knowledge as hybrid site within a live screendance body.
This article looks at a particular moment in the practice of improvisation when the individual is still attending to unique or specific needs. In time, it comes before preparations that involve others, or the doing of something that is organised into an ‘exercise’. A practice rarely begins at zero moment with a group of improvisers arriving together with everyone ready to start. An allowance is made for a transition, and what the improviser chooses to do during this time is left up to them. This is the moment I am calling–‘warming up’ or ‘to warm up’. Taken literally the expression ‘to warm up’ indicates actions a dance improviser can do to prepare their body to improvise; a body-based preparation to attend to particular bodily needs in order to be physically ready to do dance improvisation.
The 4th Safe Dance® project, Safe Dance IV—Investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers, is about to be launched by the University of Sydney and Ausdance. This national survey of all professional dancers in Australia is being conducted by Amy Vassallo, a PhD candidate, and her supervisors Dr Claire Hiller, A/Prof Evangelos Pappas and A/Prof Emmanuel Stamatakis. It has been developed based on previous national and international dance injury studies, a comprehensive review of relevant literature in the field of sport medicine and epidemiological research and expert advice from the local dance community.
Several UK dancers with physical impairments have been developing careers as dance makers, leaders and performers but there remain many barriers for dancers with disabilities to enter training and then the dance profession. Each has a story about the experience of being accepted, or not, within the ‘mainstream’ contemporary dance environment. This paper examines the experience of artists who are contributing to a research project that brings together experts in dance and law to discover more about what would better enable dancers with disabilities to play a full role within the cultural landscape. Observations based on witnessing rehearsals together with analysing the discourse that emerges from the artists’ work shows the potential impact of this work on legal frameworks and the dominant aesthetic frameworks that take root in professional dance practice. The paper brings fresh insights to questions about how we critically engage with and value disabled dance.
A overview of Ausdance National's key areas of publication: dance research, dance artists' voices, factsheets for Safe Dance and professional business practice.
Vahri MacKenzie takes the framework of Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore—a contact improvisation program developed in the US to promote a “deepening/releasing and sensitising to gravity and support” in bodies that pass and meet each other—to a multi-disciplinary gathering of artists.
20 years on, Paige Gordon speaks about her work title Shed—A place where men can dance which premiered in Canberra in 1994 and prompted some wonderful post-show discussions.
This article is an account of Sela Kiek-Callan’s postgraduate research journey in “Dancing Design”, an exploration of affinities between architecture and dancing bodies which become manifest in embodied responses of weight, rhythm and intensity when dancers pay attention to the built environment in which they are encased.
Avril Huddy and Kym Stevens (both lecturers in dance at Queensland University of Technoology) cover the latest pedagogical concepts in the training of dance teachers across a broad spectrum at a university level.
Olivia Millard discusses a practice-based research project whereby six individual dancers came to ‘belong’, stylistically, to a group in a project that did not aim explicitly to create or bring about that sense of belonging.
Motohide Miyahara traces the life of a distinguished dance artist, to help readers learn how the very Western art of ballet developed in the unique and sometimes difficult cultural, political and historic milieu in Japan after World War II.
Ann-Maree Long, a Butchulla woman of Fraser Island, introduces us to West-Auckland born, Jack Gray, a Maori contemporary dance artist and choreographer.
Julia Cotton, long-time friend and colleague of Keith Bain, pays tribute to this iconic Australian dancer, teacher, mentor and legend.
Annalouise Paul (Theatre of Rhythm and Dance) has recently returned from a successful tour of Game On in India.
Skye Murtagh, of SDM Communications describes how movement and music prove a potent therapy for patients in Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide
This paper firstly examines theoretical perspectives on dance and disability with a discussion of the ideal dancing body and strategies for how the disabled body may reiterate or disrupt such constructions. Secondly, it presents concrete analyses of two works by Touch Compass as an illustration of the ways in which disability and the dancing body on stage are constructed through choreographic imagery and iconography.