News

Ausdance welcomes return of Catalyst funds to the Australia Council

Ausdance National and the Ausdance network welcome news today that the Arts Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, has decided to return Catalyst funds to the Australia Council. 

The sudden removal of funds from the Australia Council, the loss of transparent peer reviewed decision-making processes and uncertainty about the role of Catalyst have caused enormous disruption and distress across the sector.

Ausdance National President-elect, Associate Professor Gene Moyle, said: ‘The Minister’s decision to return remaining Catalyst funds to the Australia Council is a very welcome step. The Minister is to be congratulated for acting on the strong messages he has received about the loss of highly-regarded dance companies and organisations, and has moved to address the ongoing concerns of the arts profession.

‘We now want to ensure that some funding balance will be returned to the small to medium dance sector in particular, so we welcome the Minister’s comment that “This will allow the Australia Council to continue to focus on supporting small to medium arts organisations.'

We look forward to working with the Minister and the Australia Council to ensure that this goal is realised.

Contact: Gene Moyle (0411 640 012) or Julie Dyson (041 2211 513)

Media release, 18 March 2017 (84 Kb PDF)

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Ausdance National President’s report March 2017

Members of the new Ausdance National Council will commence in their roles following the Annual General Meeting on 19 March 2017. Led by National President Gene Moyle, this is a group of highly experienced and skilled individuals who will now take charge of your national peak body and continue its work into the future. I thank the Australia Council for providing additional funding to allow the new council to meet face to face during 2017 as they consider the future of the organisation.

Last year, the interim executive developed a draft strategic plan with a vision that states that by 2020, Ausdance National will be:

  • reaffirmed as the leading national advocate for dance in Australia
  • the leader of a respected, integrated and sustainable Ausdance network supporting and promoting professional dance practice in Australia
  • financially sustainable and empowered in a new funding environment.

What should a peak service organisation look like in 2020? What priority services, programs and projects should it provide? How should it build and engage with its membership?

While we celebrate Ausdance’s 40th Anniversary this year and many significant achievements, Ausdance National also needs to consider these critical questions as the new council sets in place a viable plan for the future without core operational funding. The support and contribution of our members around the country will be an essential part of that conversation.

Ausdance National and the Ausdance state and territory organisations that make up the network will continue to make a significant contribution to dance across Australia and internationally. While acknowledging that the future is not without its challenges for Ausdance National in the short-medium term, I am also excited at this unique opportunity to build and secure the future of dance in Australia through the uniquely integrated services of Ausdance.

I take this opportunity to again acknowledge and thank our hard working staff—Rachael Jennings, our publications & communications manager and Leanne Craig, who co-ordinates the Australian Dance Awards selection process and assists with administration.

I look forward to reporting on Ausdance National’s 2016 activities and our plans for 2017 at the AGM—I hope some of you will be able to join us in Melbourne to meet some of the new council members and to join me in congratulating them and wishing them the very best.

Shane Colquhoun
Interim National President

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National Advocates for Arts Education report—March 2017

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has had a very productive start to 2017, with the NAAE paper advocating for inclusion of the Arts in the STEM agenda being submitted to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the new economy. The paper was co-authored by John Saunders and Sandra Gattenhof (Drama Australia), with input from all other artform members of NAAE, including dance educators Jeff Meiners (SA) and Sue Fox (Qld).

While most people only refer to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) when discussing innovation and creativity, the Arts are considered in many countries to be an essential element of an innovative economy, hence the increasing advocacy for STEAM in Australia. We note with real concern that the arts were not included in the Federal Government’s original National Innovation & Science Agenda, nor do most submissions to the current inquiry mention the Arts.

However, strong submissions were made for a STEAM agenda by several prominent organisations, including the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), the Australian Copyright Council, and Arts Educators, Practitioners & Researchers Australia, as well as several universities.

NAAE wants to bring together all those advocates for STEAM and develop a new strategy for increasing the voice of the Arts in this country’s innovation agenda.

To keep up with current NAAE agendas and discussions about future activities, go to our NAAE Facebook page and join the conversation.

Julie Dyson – Chair

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World Dance Alliance update March 2017

This year’s WDA Global Summit will be held from 23–28 July in St John’s, Newfoundland, a beautiful Canadian city on the east coast. Titled ‘Dancing from the Grassroots’, there will be many exciting events—performances, a conference including Pecha Kucha presentations, panel discussions and papers, and of course a Choreolab and master classes. We hope many Australians have made submissions to participate and look forward to once again having great representation from Australia at all events. Registrations will be open shortly.

Another wonderful opportunity available to Australian Ausdance members is the International Young Choreographer Program (ICYP), which offers fellowships to eight young artists: three from Taiwan, three from other Asia Pacific countries, and one each from WDA Europe and WDA Americas.

This year another Australian, Scott Ewen, has been selected ICYP in Taiwan, to be held in July this year. Scott also attended the WDA Choreolab as a a highly regarded choreographer last year in Seoul. Congratulations Scott!

Ausdance members are automatically members of the WDA through Ausdance National’s partnership arrangement that includes publication of Asia Pacific Channels, access to choreographic fellowships, and discounted event attendance. Make sure you’re an Ausdance member before applying for any of these events.

2016 Choreolab participantsScott Ewen (front) with dancers and choreographers from the 2016 Choreolab at the WDA festival in Seoul. Choreolab convenor Jin-Wen Yu is kneeling, on the right. Photo: Suling Chou.

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Ausdance National AGM 2017

The 2017 Annual General Meeting for Ausdance National will be held on Sunday 19 March 2017 from 1.00 – 2.30 pm at Arts House in Melbourne.

The agenda, minutes, proxy form, membership information and biographies of the new eight-member national council are available below.

This is an important moment for the future of Ausdance National as your peak sector organisation. The AGM has been scheduled during Dance Massive in the hope that some of you may be able to attend to hear about current plans and the appointment of the new national council. I am delighted at the calibre of nominations received by the due date. As the number of nominations does not exceed the required positions, there is no need to hold an election.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please consider providing a proxy on the form included below. Email your signed proxy form to Ausdance National by Friday 17 March 2017.

Please note that a performance of Lucy Guerin Inc’s Split is at Arts House commencing at 3.00 pm, so you may like to take advantage of that following the AGM. More information and tickets are available on the Dance Massive website.

I look forward to seeing some of you on Sunday 19 March 2017. Many thanks.

Shane Colquhoun
Interim National President

2017 AGM papers

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Nominate now for 2017 Australian Dance Awards!

Nominations close 28 February.

Were you excited or moved by a performance in 2016? Did a particular dancer deliver a stunning performance? Perhaps you saw some outstanding and innovative choreography? Now is the time to submit your nominations for the 2017 Awards, to be presented in Melbourne in November.

You can nominate a choreographer, a dancer, a company or a piece of choreography for an Australian Dance Award. 

You might like to look at the eligible works list if you need help remembering what your saw last year. This list is collated throughout the year and is intended as a reminder only. If you think a work is missing please email the nominations coordinator.

For an effective nomination in the most appropriate category, you should read the selection criteria first and be sure to provide a meaningful and concise comment about why you think a performance/performer is exceptional and worthy. 

Professional writers, teachers, designers etc. working extensively in the dance sector over many years may also be nominated for an award for services or education. Nominees for a Lifetime Achievement award must be prominent senior figures in the Australian dance community who have dedicated at least 40 years to the industry. 

Six dancers performing Sydney Dance Company's 'Frame of Mind'Sydney Dance Company's Frame of Mind, shortlisted for the 2016 Award for Outstanding Performance by a Company. Photo: Peter Greig

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Ausdance National President’s report

The single biggest challenge for Ausdance National in the coming months is the election of a new skills-based National Council at the March 2017 Annual General Meeting. The formal call for nominations has now opened and members have until 17 February 2017 to nominate yourself or a colleague to join the new Council. 

If you care about the future of dance in Australia, and of its peak professional body, then please take some time to consider whether you or any individuals you know have the skills and experience to contribute to the future of dance. Under recent changes to the Constitution, all members of Ausdance state and territory organisations, together with our national members, have the opportunity to nominate and vote for the new Council.

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Ausdance advocacy report

Ausdance National's dance sector advocacy update ​Ausdance National's new interim National Executive has formally appointed Ausdance National (volunteer) representatives to attend and speak for Ausdance at the following organisations and forums: ArtsPeak, National Advocates for Arts Education, World Dance Alliance and Tertiary Dance Council of Australia.

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ArtsPeak update

Ongoing work

As well as recovering from the ArtsPeak National Arts Election Debate six months ago, there has been ongoing work: following up with the Australia Council on the Service Organisations Scan (complete, to be released by the Australia Council in the first quarter of 2017); advocating for the arts courses that will be affected by the VET student loans proposal (ongoing); and continuing to voice the sector’s concerns about the impact of the 2015 budget changes. The Executive has also played a part in Arts Front, and is currently monitoring (with great interest) the new initiative for a Myer, Tim Fairfax Family and Keir Foundations cultural think tank.

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LEAP Together Conference report

Toronto, Canada, 11–12 Nov 2016

LEAP Together: Career and Life Transitions in Dance and Sport was one of the key initiatives of a pioneering partnership between Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO), and is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. 

The conference included a wide diversity of stakeholders from the sport and dance sectors to learn and exchange knowledge on various topics related to transition for high performers – professional dancers and elite athletes.

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New Constitution for Ausdance National

The Special General Meeting of September 19 this year adopted a vastly amended constitution for Ausdance National.

The main purpose of the changes is to implement a skills-based board and governance structure. The board of the National Council before the changes was the Ausdance National Executive (president, two vice presidents and treasurer) with the president of each Ausdance state and territory organisation a director on the board.

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Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy

The Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training invites you to make a submission to the inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the New Economy 

'On Wednesday 9 November 2016 the Committee adopted an inquiry referred by the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, asking the Committee to inquire into and report on matters that ensure Australia’s tertiary system—including universities and public and private providers of vocational education and training—can meet the needs of a future labour force focused on innovation and creativity.'

Make your submission by addressing the terms of reference by 13 January 2017.

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VET FEE-HELP funding cuts—impact on professional dance training

VET FEE-HELP funding cuts—impact on professional dance training—media release (246 KB PDF)

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Education and Training
PC Box 6100, Senate
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

Ausdance is deeply concerned about your decision to include some of Australia's leading professional dance training courses in the crackdown on courses eligible for VET student loans.

We are particularly concerned about the statement that these professional dance training courses are being subsidised because they are 'used simply to boost enrolments, or provide 'lifestyle' choices, but don't lead to work'.

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Ausdance announces new constitution and interim executive leadership

As a member of the Australian dance sector, I wanted to let you know of some changes to Ausdance National in recent weeks.

In September 2016 the Ausdance National Council agreed to significant changes to the Constitution—moving away from a network-led board to a new skills-based governance structure and extending the membership to engage more directly with a range of stakeholders. We are opening up membership at a national level to engage directly with individuals through the state and territory offices.

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NAAE archives donated to the National Library of Australia

In an important development for arts education research in Australia, the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has negotiated with the National Library of Australia (NLA) to accept its archival material. After almost a year of cataloguing and sorting, the NAAE archive is now safely rehoused at the NLA from its original home in the Ausdance National library.

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