News: September 2015

Adoption of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

Today the Education Council endorsed the Australian Curriculum in eight learning areas, INCLUDING THE ARTS! Congratulations to all our NAAE colleagues, to Linda Lorenza, and to all the wonderful teachers out there who supported the consultation process and contributed their expert knowledge to the writing of the curriculum. What a fabulous outcome for the Arts and for Australian students everywhere!

Adoption of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts by Australian education Ministers is an exciting development, especially after the Pyne review recommended that five art forms in the draft curriculum be reduced to two. However, in response to the review's concerns about the 'crowded curriculum', ACARA has introduced optional, single learning area achievement standards for The Arts, while keeping existing subject-specific achievement standards as an alternative (NAAE's preferred option). There will be no changes to content descriptions. Version 8.0 of the curriculum will be available on ACARA's website from 18 October.

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2015 Australian Dance Award Winners

The 2015 Australian Dance Awards were announced and presented at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide on Saturday 12 September. Congratulations to the winners and all the shortlisted nominees!

Hall of Fame Inductees

Marilyn Jones OBE

Marilyn Jones OBE, Australia’s first new prima ballerina of The Australian Ballet is an iconic figure of dance. From her first season with the company to her last, she sustained an innately lyrical aesthetic. Marilyn’s warmth and humility in such classics as Swan Lake, Raymonda, Sleeping Beauty and, perhaps above all, Giselle with her (then) husband Garth Welch, made her a favourite with audiences nationally and abroad.

Following her performance career, Marilyn taught at the National Theatre Ballet School and was artistic director of The Australian Ballet (1979-1982), where she established the Dancers Company involving final year students of The Australian Ballet School. In 1995 she became Artistic Director of the National Theatre School, and later, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Classical Dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Today Marilyn is the artistic director of the Australian Institute of Classical Dance, which she established to produce a new Australian ballet-training syllabus. In 1996 she launched the much-valued Dance Creation competition for emerging choreographers. Marilyn continues to lead the Institute’s valuable work, which comprises workshops for students, teachers’ seminars, examinations, scholarship competitions and residencies at the Royal New Zealand Ballet School and the Houston Ballet School in Texas USA.

One of our greatest classical dancers, Marilyn has inspired and influenced generations of young dancers throughout her distinguished life in dance.

Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM

Nationally and internationally renowned as a choreographer, teacher and performer, Elizabeth has been passionate and dedicated to dance and the arts for her entire life. Part of a generation of artists seeking a spiritual and holistic way of expressing themselves, she has helped to define Australia's cultural identity and expression in the modern world and has made a significant and lasting impact on the development of Australian contemporary dance.

Originally trained in Adelaide, Elizabeth left to study with remarkable choreographers before returning to found and lead Australian Dance Theatre, following which she taught and choreographed in Europe before returning to the freelance life in Australia and founding Mirramu Creative Arts Centre in New South Wales. She continues to dance, teach and choreograph around the world.

A visionary as well as a pioneer, Elizabeth has always been an advocate of human rights—as expressed in her many creative works—actively supporting Aboriginal rights, women's rights, the environment and contemporary arts. Leading a generation of artists who were seeking a spiritual and holistic pathway through their art in order to communicate and explore ways to interpret the world, she has contributed to defining Australia's diverse cultural identity and has made a significant and lasting impact on the development of Australian contemporary dance.

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Australian arts funding—September 2015 update

In 2013, 702,000 Australians attended a performance, workshop, or school activity facilitated by a national dance organisation (Key Arts Organisation (KAO) or Major Performing Arts company (MPA)). Australian dance continued to make a significant impact overseas, reaching an international audience of 69,000 through 122 performances by KAOs and MPAs across Europe, South America and the Middle East. From a small amount of funding support our dance companies are engaging audiences, sharing Australian cultural experiences and supporting developing artists.

However, this is all at risk due to the changes in funding being rolled out following the May 2015 Federal Budget. The Australia Council for the Arts has suffered a $34 million cut over the past two budgets, reducing overall funding from $218.7million to $184.5 million.

These reductions have been focused on initiatives and sector grants and the cessation of programs such as ArtStart, Australian Fellowships and Artists In Residence programs. 

$110 million over four years has been directed to the Ministry for the Arts to facilitate the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). The guidelines for this program are being drafted, but initial indications show the NPEA will not support individual artists or organisational sustainability.

The arts sector, concerned about these changes, were successful in lobbying the Senate to inquire into these changes. The inquiry is being undertaken by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Reference Committee and received over 2000 submissions from the public, many opposing the changes.

The inquiry is hearing from a diverse range of artists and organisations, including many dance focused groups. The Committee is due to report in November.

The arts broadly and the professional dance sector specifically contributes to the understanding of Australia’s culture and international profile. While MPA dance companies earn 73 percent of their income via box office and other non-government support, internal Australia Council reporting highlights the reliance small to medium companies have on government support to be able to deliver their creative output. In 2013, dance key organisations received 69 percent of all income from government sources, compared to 37 percent in music and 50 percent in theatre.

Despite a recent increased focus on growing private sector funding by KAO dance companies, it remains only approximately $1 million a year, spread across 13 organisations. While this focus has seen an increase on previous years (260 percent since 2008), private funding for the arts has predominately been directed at larger, more established arts organisations. Small to medium organisations need a growth in base capacity and ongoing stability to be able to harness such relationships.

This is a challenging time for all involved in making professional dance. Follow the debate at #freethearts on Twitter and Facebook and via the Ausdance advocacy page.

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Adelaide abuzz with the influx of some of Australia’s best dancers and dance companies

The Australian Dance Awards 2015 will land in Adelaide for the very first time and the city is abuzz with the influx of some of Australia’s best dancers, dance companies, dance writers, and everyone else who helps Australian dance achieve on the national and international stage.

A packed performance program features Australian Dance Theatre celebrating their 50th anniversary, Dancenorth, Melbourne City Ballet, Restless Dance Theatre, Leigh Warren, with a Welcome to Country from Karl Winda Telfer and Kurruru Youth Arts. It will also see the restaging of an early Elizabeth Cameron Dalman piece for ADT by the current company, the ADT Youth Ensemble will perform the exciting Smash Crack Zeal., and Dusty Feet Dance Collective will appear on film from Alice Springs.

Amongst the Awards will be the induction of two of Australia’s most distinguished contributors of dance to the Hall of Fame. Both Marilyn Jones OBE and Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM will receive their certificates from Dr Alan Brissenden AM, himself inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, and Ms Elizabeth Walsh, the Chair of Arts Practice, Dance, The Australia Council. The Lifetime Achievement Award will also be presented to Marilyn Rowe OBE. Thirteen Awards in total will be presented, with the Hall of Fame and the Ausdance Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship.

The Australian Dance Awards will be presented at 7.30 pm at Her Majesty’s Theatre Adelaide on 12 September 2015. Tickets from BASS outlets.

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Job opportunity: Dancenorth General Manager

Are you an experienced arts administrator, a strategic and inspirational leader, an exceptional collaborator, communicator and networker?

Dancenorth, Australia’s leading regional contemporary dance company, have a dynamic new structure that enables Australia’s most talented choreographers to create new works.  Fresh from a national tour the company is gaining attention and is looking for a dynamic leader to maximise upon opportunities to take them to the next level.

This full-time position is based in Townsville, North Queensland.

In the first instance, please email chair@dancenorth.com.au for a full job description by 5 pm Sunday 19 September.

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