Ausdance coordinated a meeting of eight representatives of the nationally funded dance companies with the CEO of the Australia Council and senior staff on 12 December 2015.
The aim was multiple: to understand the further implications of the diversion of funds to the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (now Catalyst); to query the status of the vacant role of Chair of Dance, as an announcement had not been made about retaining this role; and to discuss the role of funding in sustaining the dance ecology so carefully developed over the past years.
The diversion of funds does challenge the current number of nationally funded small to medium dance companies, and the announcement of funding or otherwise in April 2016 will reveal the extent of the loss. We note the recent departure of the Australia Council Director Dance Carin Mistry and thank her for many years of dedicated championing of professional dance. We congratulate the new Arts Practice Director, Dance, Adrian Burnett, and look forward to a similarly productive relationship.
Other meetings attended include a teleconference with ArtsPeak; a teleconference convened by the MEAA at the request of freelance commercial dancers to consider minimum pay rates, which will result in a first-ever survey of this sector (think #paythedancers); and a teleconference to consult with youth theatre companies with the thought of learning for youth dance funding.