Dance First. Speak Later. With these apt words new Ausdance Victoria CEO Andy Howitt helped bring the 2013 National Dance Forum to a close. Working over two and a half days 170 delegates joined together to challenge, inspire and share. Andy’s vision of the natural order of things spoke to many and reminded delegates of why they were at the Forum in the first place!
The National Dance Forum was first held in 2011 looking to fill a long gap in dance dialogue conferences. With this follow-up Forum in 2013 the discussion centred around the question of ‘why dance?’
In contemporary Australia, what compels us to create and connect with dance? Is it social and political engagement? Is it creating a strong platform for the continuation of culture? How is dance communicating, and what is it doing in the world? Who are we dancing for, and how do we know what they see?
Speakers at the forum challenged participants to examine their dance practice, to reach out and engage and to view more broadly who is the ‘dance sector’. Education was a key topic for conversation, with delegates exploring the roll-out of the new arts curriculum, the need for professional development for artists and dance makers, and the opportunities offered by dance education to engage new groups across the community.
Over the coming weeks the input and messages gathered at the forum will be collated with more resources and outcomes being made available here. Five short videos from NDF2013 delegates responding to the issues and themes raised during the forum are ready for viewing now.