The Australian Dance Council – Ausdance (Ausdance National) is the peak professional organisation for dance in Australia. Its mission is to educate and inspire the dance community to reach its potential as a dynamic force within local, national and international communities.
Ausdance National has received $64,860 from the Australia Council’s Arts Projects program to support the position of a new executive director who, in 2018, will work towards achieving outcomes that support identified sector priorities.
Under the leadership of a senior arts professional, and supported by a skills-based board, Ausdance National will advance prioritised national agendas across education, research, health, employment, and sector development.
As the end of the year draws closer, it has provided the opportunity to reflect on what a year 2017 has been for Ausdance National.
Firstly, we turned 40! It is incredible and humbling to reflect upon Ausdance National’s achievements over the past 40 years, including the huge number of people that have made significant contributions to supporting, advancing, promoting and celebrating the dance sector. While there were a number of key events and activities that assisted in celebrating this important milestone, a detailed outline of all these achievements can be found on the Ausdance National website.
Taipei National University of the Arts, 10–11 November 2017
There were some special moments at the Dance in Proximity conference, hosted in Taiwan by the Taipei National University of the Arts in November, and organised by a wonderful team of artists, choreographers and teachers, led by Yunyu Wang.
The NAAE has had another busy year advocating on behalf of all five arts subjects in the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. In 2017 we –
The Safe Dance Report IV: Investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers, published today on the Ausdance National website, examines the Australian context and occurrence of injury in professional dancers and makes recommendations to support sustainable, healthy, and productive dancing careers.
A collaboration between The University of Sydney and Ausdance National, Safe Dance IV is the fourth in a series of Safe Dance research projects. It continues the important work started by Ausdance National almost 30 years ago.
The survey of 195 Australian professional dancers found 97% experienced at least one significant injury in their dance career, compared with 89% in 1999. And 73% of dancers reported experiencing a dance-related injury in the past 12 months.
Author and lead researcher Amy Jo Vassallo, a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health Sciences at The University of Sydney, said the consequences of these injuries can be quite substantial and include missed performance opportunities and income, ongoing pain and disability, and expensive treatment including surgery. Serious injuries can even lead to early retirement from dance careers and lifelong disability.
‘The proportion of dancers reporting fatigue as a contributing factor to their injury has increased from 26% in 1990 and 33% in 1999 to 48% in 2017’ she said.
‘However, compared with previous Safe Dance survey results, fewer dancers reported poor technique or environment as a contributor to their injury. This demonstrates the benefits of education, policies and interventions regarding safe dancing practice for dancers and teachers at all stages of a dance career, including early teaching and pre-professional training’.
Ausdance National President, Professor Gene Moyle, said the Safe Dance Report IV continues an important lineage for the Australian dance community. Hearing the words “safe dance practice” being so much a part of our language and approach within the dance sector today is a testament to the impact and contribution of the collective Safe Dance reports within our industry.
Recommendations have outlined that access to dance-educated or dance-specialised healthcare services is essential; addressing the cultural aspects of injury reporting is critical; and that a better acknowledgement of the psychological and psychosocial aspects of injury is required.
Survey respondents’ employment as a dance performer was most commonly with a dance company (66%) or as an independent dance artist (38%).
Injuries remain common in professional dance, with 73% of professional dancers reporting experiencing an injury in the past 12 months. The most common site of injury was the ankle (26%), followed by the knee (11%) and hip (10%).
The most common injury type was a strain (25%), followed by chronic inflammation (19%) and a sprain (18%).
There was one accidental or traumatic injury for every two overuse or gradual injuries. The most common responses regarding the self-reported contributor to injury were fatigue (48%), followed by new or difficult choreography (39%) and ignoring early warning signs (31%).
Despite 62% of respondents reporting belief that there is still stigma associated with sustaining injuries as a professional dancer, 75% of dancers did say they would seek professional opinion if they suspected an injury. However, only 50% stated they would tell someone within their dance employment and 49% said they would also take their own preventative steps to manage their injury.
Despite seeing a clinician for treatment of their injury, 40% of dancers whose injury was currently unresolved were unsure if their injury would resolve in the foreseeable future. This indicates that many dancers need to be provided with improved and realistic expectations of their injury, capacity to dance during their injury and likely return to full dance ability.
For interview contact:
Amy Vassallo | PhD Candidate
Faculty of Health Sciences
The University of Sydney
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 02 9351 9010 and 02 9351 9108
Professor Gene Moyle ARAD MAPS MCSEP GAICD SFHEA
Ausdance National Council – Ausdance Inc.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 7 3138 3616
Download Safe Dance Report IV media release
WDA Asia Pacific will elect a new Executive Board and regional Vice Presidents at its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 11 November in Taipei. Nominations were called for several weeks ago, and the AGM agenda circulated.
Since our last report, NAAE has been engaged in meetings and correspondence with the NSW Education Minister, Mr Rob Stokes, and the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) about the development of a new Creative Arts syllabus in NSW.
While it only feels like yesterday that the 2017 Australian Dance Award winners were announced, nominations for the 2018 ADAs have opened! You can find information on selection criteria, an eligible works list, and a link to the nominations page at Australian Dance Awards 2018. The awards ceremony will be produced by partner Ausdance QLD and held in Brisbane in August 2018. Stay tuned for the confirmed dates and further information on this important ‘night of nights’ for the Australian Dance community.
After much consultation and discussion, the ArtsPeak Executive Committee has sent the following letter to all members. The committee will monitor any developments at national political level to ensure that there is still a voice, when, for example, a Federal election is called. The letter reads as follows:
Expressions of interest are sought from contemporary dancer–makers for Tasdance professional ensemble 2018–20.
Tasdance has embarked on a daring new approach to the nature of the professional contemporary dance ensemble to become the Tasdance Makers Company.
Well what a month it’s been! September saw the successful delivery of the Australian Dance Awards AND the National Dance Forum—in a fabulous partnership with our producing and presenting partners Ausdance Victoria.
The 2017 Australian Dance Awards was a truly wonderful evening of celebration of all things dance, particularly the winning artists, companies, choreographers, educators, and creatives announced. To give you a quick sense of what the night entailed, check out Ausdance Victoria’s Facebook page. Congratulations to all nominees and winners, and a big thank you to the sponsors—Arts Centre Melbourne, Harlequin Floors, Equity, Aon, Gaynor Minden and various Victorian-based supporters; the ADA Panel, and Ausdance National and Ausdance Victoria team members who made this event so successful.
Earlier this month Ausdance SA organised a wonderful event at Government House to celebrate its 40th birthday.
Sandra Macarthur-Onslow and I continue to catalogue the contents of the 200 boxes of Ausdance National’s archives, now lodged at the National Library of Australia.
The ArtsPeak executive is currently exploring possible restructuring and support for the new privately-funded arts advocacy team formed by the Myer Foundation, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Keir Foundation’s program called A New Approach. The foundation recently announced that the Australian Academy of the Humanities and Newgate Communications have been engaged to deliver the program, and that the foundation will provide $1.65m to establish the lobby group to ‘defend and promote the benefit of intellectual and creative life’.
The NAAE will have its next meeting on 11 December, but NSW reps will in the meantime be meeting with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to discuss concerns about the way in which the Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus is being rewritten, and about the exclusion of Media Arts from the NSW curriculum, despite agreement by all Australian governments to adopt the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. It’s clear that NSW’s options clearly do not represent the agreement endorsed at COAG (which included the NSW Education Minister). (Minister’s response [PDF 2.9MB]
WDA has convened a small sub-committee to review the structure of the organisation in order to streamline membership and the role of the four networks: Creation & Presentation, Education & Training, Research & Documentation, and Support & Development). I will chair the review team, made up of Linda Caldwell (Americas), Fiona Bannon (Europe) and Urmimala Sarkar Munsi (Asia Pacific). We hope to report back to the Global Executive at the Joint Dance Congress, Panpapanpalya, in Adelaide next year.
We are seeking contributions to an edited volume on contemporary ballet. The book will posit ‘Contemporary Ballet’ as a new domain within the broader frameworks presently recognised by discourses in dance.
Congratulations to Kristina Chan who received the Ausdance National Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship at the 2017 Australian Dance Awards on Sunday 24 September 2017.