Creating dance

Watch National Dance Forum 2015 panel discussions

National Dance Forum 2015 (19–21 March) addressed the inherent concerns and realities affecting current professional practice in Australia. It was framed by three specific lines of focus:

  • Transforming the form: changing structures and their effects
  • The subtleties and nuances of innovation.
  • Discourse: How is dance written about, spoken about and communicated?

A partnership between the Australia Council for the Arts and Ausdance National, the NDF is a biennial gathering for the Australian professional contemporary dance sector. It fosters the artistic development of dance in Australia by providing a platform for discussion between Australian choreographers, dancers, independent artists, artistic directors, educators, researchers and dance producers.

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Apply now for the Ausdance Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship

The Ausdance Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship of $10,000 will be awarded to a mid-career artist, 35 years or over with at least 10 years’ professional experience working as a choreographer.

We invite eligible choreographers who can demonstrate the value of the fellowship to their own choreographic development, practice or career to submit an expression of interest.

Key information

Applications close 3 August 2015
Fellowship amount: $10,000
For mid-career choreographers (35 years and over)
Purpose: supporting choreographic development that advances the profession
Eligibility criteria and application guidelines: Ausdance Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship.

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2015 Australian Dance Awards longlist

The long list of nominations is being shortlisted by the Australian Dance Awards selection panel.

The shortlist will be announced in July, with winners announced at the 2015 Australian Dance Awards in Adelaide on Saturday 12 September.

Image by Chris Herzfeld, Camlight Productions. Lina Limosani, Elizabeth Cameron-Dalman & Kimball Wong.Image by Chris Herzfeld, Camlight Productions. Lina Limosani, Elizabeth Cameron-Dalman & Kimball Wong.

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DANscienCE Festival 2015 call for presentations

DANscienCE bings together dance artists and scientists in an exploratory celebration of two fields of creative excellence.

  • Date: 21–23 August 2015
  • Venue: QUT Creative Industries

DANscienCE Festival

Directed by Liz Lea and Associate Professor Gene Moyle.

DANscienCE 2015 will explore themes of cognitive psychology, applied dance science, technology, neuroscience, ecology, robotics, and the ageing body. We want to hear from the Australian and international dance and science communities, researchers, educators, practitioners and artists to contribute to the program and the publication that will follow.

You are invited to submit paper presentations (standard, Pecha Kucha, posters), performative works (live and film), workshops, forums and panels.

Visit DANscienCE Festival 2015 for full program and submission details.

Submissions due 15 May 2015 to danscience2015@gmail.com

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Vale Maggi Phillips

It is with great sadness that Ausdance National farewells Maggi Phillips. Dr Phillips was an extraordinary contributor to dance in Australia, as a teacher, researcher and dance scholar. Maggi passed away in Perth on the evening of 31 March, surrounded by family and friends. Her dedication to dance practice and scholarship is well known and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family, colleagues and students.

Most recently Maggi was Associate Professor and the Coordinator of Research and Creative Practice at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, a position that fused her disparate influences and her desire to privilege such diversity in scholarship and access. She was a much-loved supervisor in the school’s postgraduate program and wrote on dance from numerous perspectives, including cultural distinctiveness, singular knowledge and danced thought. Together with colleagues from QUT and Deakin University, Maggi led the Australian Learning and Teaching Council project, Dancing between Diversity and Consistency: Refining Assessment in Post Graduate Degrees in Dance, which highlighted the particularities of multi-modal artistic research.

In 2010, Maggi received an Australian Dance Award for her Services to Dance Education, and in 2013 took on the role of Editor of Brolga—an Australian journal about dance, overseeing editions about education and dialogues. She was also a great contributor to the World Dance Alliance, presenting at many forums and serving on review and editorial committees.

Maggie Phillips at her 70th birthdayMaggi's 70th birthday.

Last year friends from around Australia and the world sent messages in celebration of Maggi's 70th birthday—paying tribute to her broad contribution in developing artists, academics and dance in all corners of the globe, particulary through the World Dance Alliance. Secretary-General of the World Dance Alliance and long-time friend and colleague Cheryl Stock wrote at that time

Maggi, you are the ultimate quiet achiever – an extraordinary life in dance, some of which is well known and some of which is tantalisingly unknown. What we clearly see from your academic work is someone with a passion for knowledge (of which you have prodigious amounts), an ever enquiring mind that takes you on all kinds of literary, cultural and fantastical journeys and an intellectual capacity that is awe-inspiring and which you generously share with colleagues and students alike.  A workaholic with a zest for life, a voyager who is a wonderful travel companion, a researcher who knows what questions to investigate, I consider you a long-time and dear friend.

I remember first hanging out with you in the early ’80s in Darwin, where you were at the time a mover and shaker at Brown’s Mart Community Arts Centre and also Artistic Director of Feats. You invited me several times to undertake projects there. What fun-filled crazy times I enjoyed with you during the Darwin days! I recall those beautiful ballet feet and legs and expressive arms. We worked together on a large community project, Backtracks, involving over 100 people from all sorts of backgrounds and skills bases – I even persuaded you to dance, in a ball gown I recall. You were very accommodating of my sometimes crazy eclectic ideas (as long as they were interesting!) What I mostly remember of those steamy troppo days and evenings was your infectious deep throated laugh (still wonderfully frequent) and the stories – ah the stories! – around the kitchen table – of your days in the circus dancing bareback on elephants (or were they horses?).

That you are a great shopper is well known, seeking out the most amazing treasures, mainly to wear in exotic combinations which look just fantastic on your slim body.  From pottery in the Atherton Tablelands to the markets in Taiwan, to the most exquisite fabrics in India, you always find that special something. Your forensic ability to find such purchases are more than matched by your forensic ability in research to go deeply into your research topics. I feel privileged to have worked with you and Kim Vincs on the 3-year research project you led – such a collegial, pleasurable and rewarding experience.

Despite your challenging health problems, you bear them with such dignity, lack of complaint and good spirits, that I always feel uplifted in your company. Even though we do not see much of each other, your support and friendship is treasured. Thank you Maggi.

Today Cheryl noted

Maggi in her quiet manner, inspired us with her insightful musings, extraordinary intellect, imaginative and scholarly writings, witty humour and throaty laugh, and above all with her non-judgmental and always positive support and unconditional friendship.

Tracks Dance Company have published an overview of Maggi's time in Darwin and her early training, in her own words.

Vale Maggi Phillips, by Nina Levy. Dance Australia

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2015 Hotbed #1 with Martin Nachbar—applications open

Hotbed is Lucy Guerin Inc’s workshop program for professional dancers and dance-makers. Workshops are led by local and international choreographers to encourage a broad understanding of the local dance community of current contemporary dance thinking and practice.

Dates: Monday 4 – Friday 9 May 2015
Times: Mon, Wed, Fri 11.30 am – 4.30 pm / Tues & Thurs 10.00 am – 3.00 pm
Venue: Lucy Guerin Inc studio, 28 Batman Street, West Melbourne
Price: $75 for the full week

Applications for workshop #1 with Martin Nachbar (Germany) close 15 April 2015.

Places are limited and by application only. Visit Lucy Guerin's website for more information and to apply online.

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Asia-Pacific Dance Bridge 2015: Connectivity through dance

16 – 18 October 2015

World Dance Alliance Singapore is proud to present the 2015 Annual General Meeting of World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific alongside Asia-Pacific Dance Bridge 2015: Connectivity Through Dance.

Asia-Pacific Dance Bridge 2015: Connectivity through Dance aims to cultivate dance connectivity within Singapore’s own dance community as well as forge alliances between dancers, academics, educators and administrators throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The conference will consist of several events: Symposium, Choreolab, Community Showcase, Small Company and Independent Artist Showcase, Singapore Tertiary Showcase and Workshops.

These events will be presented in partnership with Singapore’s arts industry organisations located in Singapore’s arts & culture district including Esplanade Theatres on the Bay (Esplanade), Lasalle College of the Arts (Lasalle), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), National Library Building (NLB), and School of the Arts (SOTA).

The World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific (WDAAP) Annual General Meeting, Network Meetings, Young Scholars Meeting as well as the World Dance Alliance Global Executive Meeting will also be hosted at NAFA.

Submissions deadlines

Call for Symposium: Closed
Call for Choreolab: 15 April 2015 Extended to 30 April 2015
Call for Community Showcase: 15 April 2015 Extended to 30 April 2015
Call for Small Company & Independent Artist Showcase: 15 April 2015 Extended to 30 April 2015
Call for Workshops: 15 April 2015 Extended to 30 April 2015

For further details of the event please visit the WDAS2015 website.

WDA members can register here now.

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Announcing Jerril Rechter as keynote artist-in-conversation #2

Jerril Rechter is the CEO of VicHealth. She has extensive experience in leadership across the areas of government and not-for-profit sectors.

Jerril is a World Health Organization Advisor, a board member of the International Network of Health Promotion Foundations, a member of Victoria’s Justice Health Ministerial Advisory Council and a member of the Liquor Control Advisory Council.

She regularly presents at state, national and international conferences and events to share her experiences in health promotion, leadership, the arts, and the potential of innovations to improve health and wellbeing for everyone.

She has served on various state and national boards and committees, including VicHealth's, as Board Member from 2004 to 2010. Her Ministerial appointments have included the Victorian Eating Disorders Taskforce, Australia Day Committee Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts Deputy Chair Dance Board, Arts Tasmania Board, Brand Tasmania Board and the Community Leaders Group Tasmania.

Jerril is a recipient of a Centenary Medal, Tasmania Day Award, and Fellowships from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Australia Council, Harvard Club of Australia, the Australian Davos Forum-Future Summit, and Williamson Community Leadership Program (Leadership Victoria).

Jerril holds a Master of Business Leadership from RMIT University. She has held executive positions at Leadership Victoria, Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, Footscray Community Arts Centre, and founded Stompin Youth Dance Company.

The National Forum is a partnership between the Australia Council for the Arts and Ausdance National.

Australian Government. Australia Council for the Arts

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2015 Winter Brisbane Contemporary Dance Intensive with Expressions Dance Company

Applications are now open

Brisbane Contemporary Dance Intensive: Winter 29 June – 3 July 2015 Apply Now

This biannual event is regarded as one of Australia’s best training programs in contemporary dance, led by a team of specially selected professional dancers and choreographers from around the country.

Join acclaimed guest teachers and EDC dancers as you participate in workshops with an intense focus on contemporary dance, its techniques and the industry, preparing you for a career in dance.

DATES | Monday 29 June – Friday 3 July 2015
VENUE | QUT Campus, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane
TIMES | 9 am – 5 pm Daily
COST | $570 per person

For more information email bcdi@expressionsdancecompany.org.au or call 07 3257 4222

Please Note: spaces are limited and entry is by application only.

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Announcing Lemi Ponifasio as keynote artist-in-conversation #1

National Dance Forum partners the Australia Council for the Arts and Ausdance National are thrilled to announce acclaimed New Zealand-based artist Lemi Ponifasio as the first keynote artist-in-conversation for NDF2015.

Lemi is a leading voice in contemporary dance and theatre making internationally, based in the Asia-Pacific, performing and collaborating worldwide. He will be in conversation with NDF2015 co-facilitator Fiona Winning on the afternoon of Thursday 19 March.

The second keynote and the full list of speakers will be unveiled in early February.

Lemi Ponifasio

Lemi PonifasioLemi Ponifasio. Photo: Christian Westerback

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2015 World Dance Alliance events in Singapore

When: 16–18 October 2015
Where: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore

World Dance Alliance Singapore is proud to present the 2015 Annual General Meeting, Network Meetings and Young Scholars Meeting of World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific as well as the Global Executive Meeting alongside the conference Asia-Pacific Dance Bridge 2015: Connectivity through Dance. Coinciding with the da:ns festival organised by the Esplanade, Singapore, conference events at venues located in Singapore’s arts and culture district are outlined below.

The conference aims to cultivate dance connectivity within Singapore’s own dance community as well as forge alliances between dancers, academics, educators and administrators throughout the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The conference will include scholarly papers, performative presentations and Pecha Kucha style presentations. Other conference events include showcases, a choreolab, masterclasses and workshops.

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New Artistic Director for Force Majeure

Jo Dyer, Chair of the Board of Force Majeure has announced the appointment of Danielle Micich as the incoming Artistic Director/CEO for the company, replacing founding Director Kate Champion. Jo said:

The Board of Directors is delighted that Danielle has accepted the role of Artistic Director of Force Majeure. Danielle’s body of work demonstrates an immensely talented and rigorous artist who has thought passionately and deeply about dance theatre and the role it occupies in the Australian and international arts landscape. We can think of no-one better to build on the wonderful legacy being left by Kate Champion. We believe that under Danielle’s leadership, Force Majeure will continue to flourish in the unique space Kate has carved out for us, a genuine cross-artform blend of theatre and dance, dedicated to exploring ideas and ourselves.

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Bodies of Thought: 12 Australian Choreographers

This book on Australian contemporary dance focuses specifically on innovative choreographers, concentrating on a work by each with an accessible interview and an insightful essay by a leading dance writer. It is ideal for dance practitioners, students and researchers as well as seasoned dance audiences.

Beautifully designed and affordably priced, the book includes superb images of the dance works taken by Australia's best dance photographers.

Bodies of Thought: 12 Australian Choreographers features a generation of award-winning Australian choreographers with international reputations and legacies of influence: Kate Champion, Rosallnd Crisp, Tess De Quincey, Russell Dumas, Lucy Guerin, Sue Healey, Helen Herbertson, Gideon Obarzanek, Stephen Page, Garry Stewart, Meryl Tankard and Ros Warby.

The field of innovative dance in Australia is vibrant and diverse. With their extensive background as writers in the field, the aditors have created a collection of essays that offers a lucid account of a wide range of experimental dance work and conveys some of the excitement it generates in live performance.

—Jane Goodall, Adunct Professor, The University of Western Sydney.

Editors: Erin Brannigan, Senior Lecturer in Dance, School of Arts and Media, UNSW and Virginia Baxter, Managing Editor, RealTime.
Publishers: RealTime and Wakefield Press. RRP: $34.95

The RealTimeDance archive [1994-present] features a range of interviews, articles, reviews, video excerpts and links about the body of work of each of the twelve choreographers featured in this book, as well as providing information about those works and others which are available online or as DVDs or for loan. Visit the Dance Archive on the RealTime website to find out more. 

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Keir Choreographic Award—winner announced

The inaugural Keir Choreographic Award has been awarded to Atlanta Eke. The People's Choice Award went to Sydney artist Jane McKernan, as selected by audience members at the grand final at Carriageworks.

Four of the eight commissioned artists—Sarah Aiken, Matthew Day, Atlanta Eke, Jane McKernan—competed for the inaugural award at Carriageworks in Sydney in July.

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Dancehouse residency programs

The Housemate programs reflect Dancehouse's commitment to advancing innovative contemporary dance in Australia by instigating and nurturing rigorous discourse and encouraging wide-ranging, movement-based experimentation and innovative choreographic practices.

Both Performance and Research Housemate programs provide the artist with extensive time, generous financial support and a thoroughly mentored environment. The Housemate program is one of the very few fully paid artist-in-residence programs in the world. Artists are given between 8 and 14 weeks of free studio space, a salary package (or pro rata), and administrative, mentoring and production support. Housemates are selected by a peer advisory panel from a national call for applicants.

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Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship

The Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship (JEDS) is published annually in September by the World Dance Alliance (WDA). It is designed to serve the needs of international dance scholars who are currently enrolled in a graduate program or within 5 years of having graduated from a graduate program in dance or a related field.

JEDS is published online as an open resource. Articles are selected to assure dance scholarship from around the world is included in each publication.Each article submission is reviewed by two international dance scholars with no more than 16 submissions accepted for the annual publication. Articles are chosen based on originality of research and the contributions each makes to the future of dance praxis (theory and practice).

JEDS Vol. 2 will be published 1 September, 2014

JEDS 2015 Vol. 3, will be comprised only of blind-reviewed papers selected from those presented at the 2014 World Dance Alliance Global Summit in Angers, France.

Visit the JEDS website to find out more.

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Accessible Arts masterclasses 2013

Join leading choreographers, Sue Healey, Dean Walsh and Philip Channells in the Catalyst Dance Masterclass Series.

Accessible Arts is hosting a series of three masterclasses tailored to dancers with and without physical or sensory disability, and people with mental illness or acquired brain injury.

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New Asia–Pacific Channels edition

The latest edition of Channels is jam-packed with exciting new dance activity in Asia and the Pacific. There are new dance networks, events, research, journals, books and more.

Some of the highlights include a new Nepal chapter of World Dance Alliance; plans for the 2014 Global Dance Summit, which will be held at the beautiful Centre National de la Dance Contemporaine in Angers, France; and Our Roots Right Now—The Research Forum and Festival of Thai/ASEAN Contemporary Theatre, at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Collage of dance event highlights from the 2013 edition of Asia-Pacific Channels1] Ter Wei Lun from Lee Wushu Arts Theatre in Wushu Madness II–The Realm Between, choreographed by Lee Swee Seng, in the Showpiece Performances of MyDance Festival 2013, at Panggung Bandaraya on 31 May 2013. Photo: Huneid Tyeb. 2] Kathak dance performed by Kalanidhi Indira Sangeet Mahabidhayalaya at International Dance Day on 29 April 2013 at Yalam Maya Kendra in Kathmandu, organised by the newly inaugurated WDAAP Nepal chapter. Photo by Raju Shakya & Prabin Lal Singh. 3] A ceremonial dance from the West New Britain province of Papua New Guinea, performed during the Foundation Day Celebrations at Port Moresby Grammar School on 4 April 2013. Photo: Naomi Faik-Simmer 4] Dr Maya Krishna Rao in her performance Ravanama, during the seminar ‘The Moving Space: Women in Performance’ at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata, on 3 February 2013. Photo: Kolkata Sanved 5] Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun in his section of the tripartite Fire Fire Fire, on 28 January 2013 in the ‘Our Roots Right Now’ research forum and festival at Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts. Photo: L. Skar 6] The Nora Thummanit Thaksin University Group who performed Nora: Klong Hong in January 2013 in the ‘Our Roots Right Now’ research forum and festival at Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts.

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NAAE welcomes new Arts Curriculum

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has warmly welcomed news the ACARA Board has approved the new The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. NAAE, of which Ausdance is a member, has strongly supported the development of the arts curriculum and its central principle of the entitlement of every young Australian to an arts education, one that includes all five artforms – dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts.

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National Dance Forum program

Opening and closing with interactive visioning sessions, the program featured a full morning 'Open Space' session on the Sunday tapping the pulse of the forum, and through it that of the dance sector in Australia.

Keynote artists-in-conversation were Dalisa Pigram, co-Artistic Director of Marrugeku, with David Pledger, and Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre Garry Stewart with Anne Thompson.

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Dance, young people & change—diversity in action

The collaboration between World Dance Alliance (WDA) and dance and the Child international (daCi) produced one of the biggest global dance festivals ever held—Dance, Young People and Change. Hosted by the Taiwan National University of the Arts (TNUA) in Taipei, the event attracted young people from North and South America, Europe, the UK and most Asia-Pacific nations.

The festival/conference was a multi-layered event that included keynote addresses, ‘dance flavour’ taster classes, workshops, forums and paper presentations. It brought together young people, their parents, mentors and educators from across the world to reflect on key issues and future directions for dance in young people’s lives.

Ann Tai, Taiwan representative for daCI and teacher at TNUA, exuberant in the opening parade.

There was also a wonderful range of performances by young people, a festival of international dance academies, and an amazing program of Taiwanese dance performed by Taiwan’s professional companies and groups, including Cloud Gate 2 and Dance Forum. Teachers attended masterclasses and paper presentations and exchanged ideas about approaches to dance learning, teaching and curriculum for young people.

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BlakDance 2012 triumph

BlakDance 2012 festival in Brisbane highlighted a wonderful range of contemporary Indigenous dance from Australia and New Zealand.

Choreographers, dancers, industry members and audiences came together to celebrate and gain a deeper understanding of contemporary Indigenous dance practice.

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‘Shades of us’—a stunning AYDF finale

It was fantastic to be able to join the Ausdance NSW team, the choreographers and more than 150 young people from all over Australia on the last day of the Australian Youth Dance Festival at NAISDA Dance College in Gosford NSW.

Shades of Us, presented in Mt Penang Gardens on the final evening, was a performance that grew out of an intensive week of creative development with choreographers Sue Healey, Philip Channells, Anton, Kay Armstrong, Matt Cornel, Adelina Larsson, Lee Pemberton, Vicki Van Hout and artistic director Rowan Marchingo.

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Communities making dance in Tasmania

Tasmanian Regional Arts (TRA) is leading The Dance Project in partnership with Mature Artists Dance Experience (MADE), Bust a Move and Tasdance.

This community dance project is happening in three Tasmanian regions—the North East, North West and the South—to develop and present three new contemporary dance works with, by and about communities. Evolving from the heart of each community, these works explore place, kinship and identity as experienced by the residents of these regions.

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Building the Indigenous contemporary dance collection

Ever since we convened the 2005 Creating Pathways national Indigenous dance forum in Canberra, Lee Christofis—one of the keynote speakers, and now curator of dance at the National Library of Australia—has been keen to develop the NLA's Indigenous dance collection.

In the March 2012 edition of National Library News, Lee discusses some of the material now held in the collection and outlines the importance of its provenance.

Building the Indigenous contemporary dance collection makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in the development of Australian contemporary Indigenous dance.

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More evidence that dance benefits the elderly

There are some startling new figures that support dancing as a protective strategy in preventing dementia. A Stanford University report Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter makes the following comparisons:

... almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, but the focus of this study was the mind. There was one important exception: the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.

  • Reading—35% reduced risk of dementia
  • Bicycling and swimming—0%
  • Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week—47%
  • Playing golf—0%
  • Dancing frequently—76%.

The same university offers other insights into the benefits of dance in Thoughts, philosophies and musings on social dance, a useful reference for community dance practitioners in Australia.

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New research with dance and the elderly

New research by the University of Western Sydney is demonstrating that folk dance has clear benefits for the health of the elderly. You may have missed this great report from the ABC’s 7.30 program on 4 January.

We’re very interested in research that proves the links between dance and health, and have been in touch with the researchers to find out more.

Want to know more?

On your toes: Is there a different approach to aging? Listen to Glen Murray from MADE (Mature Artists Dance Experience) and Beverley Giles, an expert in the care of people affected by dementia, talking about how dance provides the three elements essential to health and well-being in mature adults.

Read Glen's paper about how older people can bring great riches to art-making.

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Youth dance—where does it fit?

In responding to our suggestion of a campaign to support the smaller key dance organisations, Ruth Osborne, artistic director of QL2 Dance, came in to discuss some of the issues youth dance companies are experiencing.

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