A National Dance Forum that embodies our diversity, its history, its present and its future discourse #3

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Andrew Morrish, 2015 National Dance Forum facilitator, shares his vision for this forum: an NDF that embodies our diversity, its history, its present and its future.

The National Dance Forum is a vital opportunity for the dance community to meet for a conversation. My focus as facilitator for 2015 is to ensure that we have an energetic, vibrant and memorable time. The curatorial committee is organising an exciting range of presentations, but we should remember that these presentations are primarily designed to feed our conversation. It is the type of conversation where we perhaps have a sense of where and how it will begin but we have no idea of where it will go.

I myself am not interested this year in the idea of developing ‘policy’, or producing another set of point forms on butchers paper for the 'future of dance'. There are times when this is necessary, but for 2015 I primarily want us to have an experience of our community, its layers and textures, its colours and its voices.

I believe that a feeling of being part of the community of dance is an under-utilised resource for surviving as a dance artist.

When things go well for us in our career, it is easy to imagine that somehow it is our individual qualities which have resulted in our success(es), or if perhaps, you are more modest, you believe that it is luck! Perhaps this is necessary to develop a career, but I would say that 362 days a year is enough time to take care of this in 2015, and for these three days we should give ourselves permission to think differently.

We are all here because of the spaces, pathways, opportunities, structures and institutions created by pioneering generations who embodied a passion for dance being part of the future for a culturally richer Australia. This we should celebrate.

We are all here facing an uncertain future, one with enormous problems and challenges. This we should discuss.

When I entered the dance field in the early 80s, it was easy to view it as a field that comprised choreographers, dancers and teachers. But in the striving to develop our status as an industry, the dance field in Australia has been transformed—with the addition and expansion of many layers. I would like to invite all these layers to the NDF.

An important idea, in danger of becoming a neglected cliché, is that diversity is the mark of a strong community and history shows us that compulsory conformity is the sign of decay; however, diversity must have a centre for it to be a viable community.

What is the centre of our dance community? Do we share the same feeling for dance? Same aesthetic? Same ambitions? I think not. We can share a history, and history is formed by shared experience.

The intention of the NDF team for NDF2015 is to embody our diversity, its history, its present and its future, and to experience the forum as a living community.

We hope you can take something away from it to sustain you in the necessary loneliness of the search for success and one to which you return to make a contribution to sustain others.

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