Industry news

A toast to the stars of West Australia’s vibrant dance sector

The West Australian Dance Awards raise a toast to the stars and rising stars of Western Australia’s vibrant dance sector.

The 2014 West Australian Dance Awards were celebrated on Wednesday 19 November at bamBOO (Luxe Bar Courtyard) in Highgate, WA.

Chrissie Parrott, December 2014The amazing career of this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Chrissie Parrott, was warmly celebrated. Chrissie Parrott's work spans five decades. As a performer, choreographer, teacher, director, independent artist and director, she has championed innovation in Western Australian dance. Photo: Andrea Evans

West Australian Ballet principal dancers Fiona Evans and Matthew Lehmann were both awarded for their Outstanding Performance in Onegin (West Australian Ballet, 2013).

The award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth or Community Dance was presented to independent artist Megan Wood-Hill for her production Men of The Red Earth, which was a community dance project produced for Roebourne Shire’s Red Earth Arts Festival in 2013 and performed by a group of all male miners and tradesmen.

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Why the arts curriculum review recommendations should be rejected!

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne commissioned the Review of the Australian Curriculum earlier this year and its recommendations were recently made public. The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) have concerns about the recommendations that relate to The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

Today the NAAE sent letters to the federal, state and territory education ministers asking them to reject these recommendations when they meet with Minister Pyne in December to consider the Review. Here is the NAAE's letter and detailed responses to each of the Review’s recommendations (see appendix).

The National Advocates for Arts Education believe that, after an extremely rigorous development and writing process by ACARA, in consultation with teachers and the arts industry, we have achieved a well-written and well-researched national arts curriculum that has been endorsed across the teaching and practice professions. The Australian Curriculum: the Arts was endorsed by state and territory Education Ministers in July 2013 (subject to resolution of some matters raised by one state). We are concerned the Review’s recommended changes would severely compromise a curriculum that has taken four years of careful work to produce.

The Arts curriculum must be allowed to follow ACARA’s evaluation process after being properly implemented by classroom teachers. All curriculum is reviewed and refined over time; however it is only after implementation and with consultation that this process should occur. Notably, most state and territory jurisdictions have already begun to seriously invest in the implementation of the Arts curriculum, and we do not believe that the recommendation to rewrite it has been justified.

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Annie Greig to depart Tasdance

Tasdance Artistic Director since 1997, Annie Greig, will be leaving the company in 2015. She says:

It has been a privilege to contribute to the rich history of Tasdance; however it is the right time for me to transition from the company next year. I am certain Tasdance will continue to go from strength-to-strength, proudly remaining Tasmania’s flagship contemporary dance company and an advocate for the growth of arts and cultural activities in regional Australia.

A real focus of my tenure has been to support young and emerging dancers and choreographers, and I get great satisfaction that I have been able to offer choreographic opportunities to over 50 of Australia’s dance practitioners. Additionally, with an emphasis on linking with regional audiences, it has been gratifying that the company has regularly toured our repertoire inter-state. I pay tribute and say thanks to all the artists, staff, supporters, sponsors and Board that I’ve connected with at Tasdance, and I look forward to witnessing the continued development of Tasdance in the years ahead.

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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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Dame Maggie Scott: A Life in Dance

It is impossible to tell the story of dance in Australia without telling the story of Dame Margaret Scott, the founding Director of the School and a dancer and teacher of immense vision and intellect.

This book is a wonderful celebration of the life of Dame Maggie Scott, whose contribution to Australian dance over the last 67 years has been immense. This inspiring biography tells the incredible story of the pioneering figure of Australian ballet.

Born in Johannesburg in 1922, Maggie showed an early love of dance and was encouraged to go overseas for further training, but just six weeks after her arrival in the UK, war with Germany was declared. Scott toured relentlessly to entertain troops throughout the war and was a regular at Albert Hall. In 1942 she joined the esteemed Ballet Rambert, and travelled to Australia with them by ship in 1947. Her account of Australia in the 1940s is fascinating.

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The National Advocates for Arts Education respond to the Review of the Australian Curriculum

Media Release

The future of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts
A response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum, October 2014
(550 kb PDF)

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) acknowledge the Review of the Australian Curriculum – Final Report (pp.213–220) and welcome its general statements about the value of the arts in formal school education. The NAAE also welcomes the report’s emphasis on the need for greater teacher professional development in the arts.

However, we consider this review to be premature. There has been little opportunity to test the five arts subjects in the classroom, and, as we noted in our submission to the review, we ‘strongly urge the review panel to enable the Australian Curriculum: The Arts to be implemented in its present form, allowing processes of refinement to be managed by classroom teachers. It is a living document that can be refined by expert arts educators as it unfolds across the country’. Teachers need to implement, test and reflect on the current well-developed arts curricula and NAAE rejects the recommendation that ‘the content of each of the arts forms needs to be restructured and re-sequenced along the lines suggested by the (two) subject matter specialists employed by this review’.

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Tanja Liedtke Fellowship

The Tanja Liedtke Foundation is now inviting applications for the 2015 Fellowship which will run from 3 August to 5 September.

Applicants should be between the ages of 20 and 35 and who are citizens or permanent residents of Australia.

The 2015 Fellowship program includes a 3-week creative development residency at ada Studio in Berlin, attendance at the international dance festival Tanz im August, and participation in Tanzlabor_21’s Summer Lab in Frankfurt am Main.

More information and how to apply can be found on the Tanja Liedtke Foundation website.

Deadline for applications: 12 December 2014.

Previous TLF recipients have been Joseph Simons (2013) Antony Hamilton (2009) and Katarzyna Sitarz (2011).

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Motion capture

Edith Cowan University is excited to announce that WAAPA has a new motion capture facility that will be utilised to prevent injuries to dancers as well as a teaching and performance tool for its elite dancers.

This facility is the only motion capture setup of its kind to incorporate the skills of a biomechanist directly into a university dance program in the interest of preventing dance injuries.

What makes motion capture at Mount Lawley unique is that we have access to a large cohort of talented dancers, in addition to scientific and artistic academics who are willing and able to use the lab in the investigation of the prevention of dance injuries.

—Dr Luke Hopper, Biomechanist and health in performing arts specialist, ECU

Read the complete Media Release.

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Artistic Director for new WA contemporary dance company

One of Australasia’s foremost dance practitioners and pioneers, Raewyn Hill has been appointed as Artistic Director of the new WA contemporary dance company.

Raewyn created numerous critically acclaimed works for Dancenorth including the cry (2010), Black Crows (2010) and MASS (2011). Under her leadership, the company has performed the award-nominated MASS at the Brisbane Festival and the Downstage Theatre in Wellington. She also created a new work, Fugue (2012), for The Australian Ballet’s 50th Anniversary and performed at The State Theatre in Melbourne, premiered Allegories at the Brisbane Festival (a collaboration with Queensland Ballet, Expressions Dance Company and Dancenorth), created a new solo A Fall from Grace that premiered at The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (2013) and premiered Flock at Tokyo’s National Art Centre (2014).

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2014 Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations Leigh Warren!

The Australian Dance Awards committee is happy to announce that the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 will be presented to Leigh Warren at the Sydney Opera House on 9 November in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to dance.

Leigh has made an outstanding national and international contribution to dance as a performer, choreographer, teacher, director and mentor over four decades. Leigh’s impeccable technique and mesmeric performances as a dancer saw him perform with The Australian Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Nederlands Dans Theater, Nureyev and Friends and other international companies.

Leigh’s choreographic career spans over 30 years during which he has been acclaimed for his exceptional musicality and seamless, fluid, inventive works, covering a wide range of subject matter which he explores in depth. An outstanding and inspiring teacher, Leigh crosses both classical and contemporary techniques, training dancers of exceptional quality, and is equally sought after as a mentor, influencing a generation of dancers and dance makers.

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Changes at Dancenorth

In a bold step to develop the company’s programs, revitalise its activities and diversify its performances in regional Queensland, Dancenorth has announced the rollout of a new and innovative company structure.

Chair of Dancenorth’s Board of Directors, Trevor Goldstone said:

This initiative will see Dancenorth audiences in Townsville and across Australia, benefit from a more diverse range of national and international choreographic styles and personalities. The change will bring more of Australia’s established and emerging choreographers to Townsville to create new works, and ensure Dancenorth becomes an iconic and exciting national creative dance hub, whilst at the same time building on the nationally recognised community and education program, for which the company has become justly proud.

Instead of a single artistic director, the new structure will see the appointment of three eminent and nationally renowned dance practitioners who will advise the company on its artistic pathway. Guest choreographers will then work with the Dancenorth team to deliver a range of exciting performances.

This means that after five years as Artistic Director, Raewyn Hill steps down from her position as the company embraces its fresh approach to producing top-quality contemporary dance in the region. Mr Goldstone thanked and acknowledged the contribution that Raewyn Hill has made to Dancenorth over the past five years—

Raewyn is an artistic director and choreographer of world standing and she had developed a series of stimulating, entertaining and cutting edge productions for Dancenorth that have been recognised Australia wide. We all wish the very best of success to Raewyn Hill in the next step of her career.

Mr. Goldstone added that the changing economy, funding arrangements, and consumption of performing arts have all led to this innovative restructure. It will create opportunities for audience development as more internationally recognised choreographers present a diverse range of works, which will be particularly beneficial to Townsville.

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Performing Arts Market NZ 2015

9 –11 March, Auckland 2015

The Performing Arts Market is run by the Performing Arts Network of New Zealand (PANNZ). It is New Zealand’s sole marketplace for the promotion of professional tour ready dance, theatre and music productions.

It is also an important forum for connecting artists and presenters, debating the issues facing our industry and building capacity within our sector. PANNZ is attended by festival directors, venue managers, artists, producers and industry stakeholders.

Important dates

29 Sep: Registrations/applications open
27 Oct: Producer submissions to Cyberpaddock close
 3  Nov: Presenter voting round opens
17 Nov: Presenter voting round closes
24 Nov: Pitches announced
20 Dec: Earlybird registrations close
30 Jan: Registrations close (late fees begin)
9 –11 Mar: PANNZ Market 2015

For more information visit the PANNZ website.

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The Corner Dance Lab 2015

16 – 24 January 2015

Dance Integrated Australia and The Farm is excited to be hosting the second Corner Dance Lab in beautiful Federal (northern New South Wales).

The artistic line up for The Corner Dance Lab 2015 is:

Phil Blackman, Sean Campbell, Philip Channells, Hsin-Ju Chiu (Raw), Ben Ely, Kate Harman, Julian Louis, Kimberly McKintyre, Lee-Anne Litton, Kellie O’Dempsey, Timothy Ohl, Sarah-Vyne Vassallo, Gavin Webber.

Participants at the inaugural Corner Dance Lab, January 2014. Photo: Tim Standing / Daylight Breaks

As an independent artist who grew up in Byron Bay, it was my immense pleasure in returning to the region to participate in The Corner Dance Lab. Having the opportunity to work with a number of world-renowned leaders in dance and physical theatre, amongst such an inspiring and rich natural landscape made this experience unbeatable. Working alongside such a diverse range of artists in such a collaborative manner was truly remarkable and the artistic connections created are invaluable. The intensive needs to exist as a mainstay annual event for both the local and Australian wide artistic community.—Harrison Hall, Independent Artist (Melbourne)

Early Bird Expressions of Interest are now open. Register now and save $100!

Request an EOI form or telephone Philip Channells on +61 432 073 304 for more information.

Read about The Corner Dance Lab 2014.

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Help us shape the NDF2015 program: submit your ideas, proposals and feedback

Submit your ideas and proposals

Please use the NDF2015 proposals form (1MB PDF) to submit your ideas and feedback. Email the form to NDF2015 by Friday 3 October 2014.

We welcome your suggestions for topics, speakers or proposals for sessions including but not limited to:

  • Five-minute presentations that may be thematically grouped with others to form the basis for longer sessions that will include both presentations and discussion
  • 'Pecha kucha' style presentations (20 slides x 20 seconds)
  • Studio-based sessions such as lecture demonstrations

Please note: proposals for showings and classes will not be eligible. NDF2015 is about fostering critical dialogue, and there will be other avenues for showings through Dance Massive managed by Ausdance Victoria. For more information visit Dance Massive.

Give us your feedback

We encourage any feedback you have about the proposed NDF2015 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?

Please use the NDF2015 proposals form and complete the feedback section.

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Ministers agree about the importance of arts education

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) continue their work to ensure 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.

In August representative of NAAE met in Brisbane progressing discussion on the role of the Minister for Arts, working with the Minister for Education, to support arts education. NAAE was pleased to hear that there had been agreement between Ministerial offices about the importance of arts education, and the centrality of the arts to a liberal education.

The meeting noted NAAE’s support for Minister Brandis’s statement about ‘taking the arts to a new place of creative excellence’.

Read the full statement from NAAE.

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Kate Champion resigns from Force Majeure

Artistic Director and CEO of Force Majeure, Kate Champion today announced her resignation from the company she founded in 2002. After 12 years at the helm she will be resigning at the completion of her pre-existing duties in 2015.

Force Majeure, the company I established together with my colleagues Roz Hervey and Geoff Cobham, has been the most important and meaningful manifestation of my career as a choreographer and director so far. The experiences I’ve had, working with the collaborating artists, producers, staff and crew, are amongst my most cherished and we’ve achieved a great deal since the premiere of our first major work, "Same, same But Different" in 2002.

Inching our way from life as a project based concern through to annual funding, then as an ‘emerging Key Organisation’ to finally becoming a Key Organisation in 2012. I’m satisfied that I have fulfilled all I had hoped and dreamt of for the company during my tenure as founding director and I now wish to take the opportunity to explore new creative possibilities outside the framework of a company structure.

—Kate Champion

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Community dance conference—call for submissions

25–29 November 2015, University of Otago, New Zealand

Call for submissions

‘Moving Communities’ is an exciting four-day conference that will provide an opportunity to bring together practitioners, academics and students to celebrate and discuss themes and topics within the broad field of community dance.

The conference will be co-hosted by the Dance Studies Programme at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences and the Caroline Plummer Fellowship Committee.

A special feature of the conference will be the reunion of the ten recipients of the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance. This prestigious six-month Fellowship was made possible by the family of the late Caroline Plummer and was first offered in 2005.

The school is now inviting submissions for paper presentations, workshops, panel discussions and community performances from those who are engaged in Community Dance practice, education and research internationally.

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ACHPER International Conference calls for papers/presentations

3 – 15 April 2015, Adelaide

The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) invites submissions for presentations at the 29th ACHPER International Conference: Values into Action—A Brighter Future.

Presentations will be structured in concurrent sessions of 20 minutes, 45 minutes or 90 minutes in length, and can be structured as a paper, presentation, workshop, forum, or poster under one of the following sub themes:

  • the educative purpose of health and physical education
  • strengths based health and physical education
  • learning in, through and about movement
  • health literacy
  • critical inquiry and problem solving in health and physical education
  • sport pedagogies

Deadline for submissions: 10 September 2014.

To submit your abstract, or for further details about the submission process, please visit the ACHPER website.

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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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Honours for dance—Cheryl Stock AM

The Ausdance National Council, staff and network congratulate former National President, foundation member, advisor and collaborator Cheryl Stock on being made a member (AM) in the general division of the Order of Australia. Cheryl's AM is For significant service to the performing arts as a choreographer, educator and administrator. This is a wonderful acknowledgement of a long and outstanding career.

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Creative tax deductions

The financial year ends soon, so why not make a tax-deductible donation that supports your favourite art form.

Through givenow.com.au, some of Australia's best dance companies are now inviting you to help support new Australian work, choreographic development, kids dance activities, community dance and dance touring.

Imagine yourself attending a work you helped make happen! Here's your chance.

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Sydney Dance Company Heritage Collection

Sydney Dance Company is excited to announce that work has commenced on the editing and digitising of film and video recordings of some of the major works created by long-standing former Artistic Director, Graeme Murphy AO and his Creative Associate, Janet Vernon AM.

Graeme Murphy’s Salome, 1998.  Dancers: Josef Brown, Tracey Carrodus and Bradley Chatfield. Photo: Lois Greenfield
 

The Heritage Collection will include re-mastered films of many works created by Murphy on the Sydney Dance Company ensemble during his 31 year tenure from 1976–2007, in addition to a new documentary resource of Murphy in conversation, interweaving a myriad of interviews filmed over a period of three decades, with new footage in which he reflects on his body of work.

A free screening of a selection of works from the Collection is being planned for October. For a sneak peek, check out this teaser.  

Download the full Media Release for more information.

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World Alliance for Arts Education Global Summit 2014 calls for abstracts

Theme: ‘Transform: from inception to innovation in arts education’

We invite you to share your research evidence, innovations and best practices in arts education globally.

Participation in this summit is by invitation only. If you are successful you will be part of approximately 90 presentations from quality arts educators across the globe in dance, drama, media arts, music, visual arts and cross-arts education.

Abstracts due 30 June 2014.

Summit date and location

26 – 28 November 2014
Griffith University, School of Education and Professional Studies, Mt Gravatt Campus, Brisbane

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The Federal Budget 2014

The Federal Budget for 2014 was announced on 13 May with some big impacts for the arts sector.

The Government will look to achieve savings of $87.1 million over four years by reducing 'uncommitted funding to arts programmes' administered by the Attorney‑General's Department (the Ministry of Arts), the Australia Council for the Arts, and Screen Australia. In 2014-15 these cuts will be $9.6 million from the Australia Council specifically, with $6 million in 2015-16.

There are cuts to the Adelaide Festival Centre's support for Asian cultural activities program, and a raft of changes slated for the collecting institutions based in Canberra (including the National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia and others). There are also cuts in education, with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) facing efficiencies and refocusing of its work.

However, the Government has supported the Australian Ballet School, with $1 million towards the purchase of a residence for boarding accommodation for students at the School.  Funding has also been extended for Creative Partnerships Australia - $5.4 million over four years. However, the agency is being asked to manage efficiencies, with a halving of the staffing profile.

The Government is bringing back the Community Business Partnership to advise on philanthropy in Australia. The Community Business Partnership, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, will bring together prominent business and community leaders to provide leadership and high level advice for encouraging growth in volunteering and philanthropy and promote partners.

For further analysis read the views of some arts academics at The Conversation and the full Australia Council Portfolio Budget Statement

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Vale Gailene Stock CBE AM

Gailene Stock AM CBE 
28.1.1946 – 29.4.2014

Australian-born Gailene Stock, Director of the Royal Ballet School since 1999 and former Director of The Australian Ballet School, has passed away following a battle with cancer.

Gailene trained as a dancer in Australia and then at the Royal Ballet Upper School as a result of a scholarship awarded by the Royal Academy of Dance. As a principal artist with The Australian Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, she performed many leading roles in the major classics and twentieth century dramatic works, most notably John Butler's Sebastian and Antony Tudor's Pillar of Fire and The Divine Horsemen.

Following a sixteen year dancing career, Gailene accepted the position of director of the National Theatre Ballet School, Victoria, for eight years and The Australian Ballet School for nine years, before taking on the role of director of the Royal Ballet School in 1999.

Internationally acclaimed, Gailene's knowledge and experience was regularly sought in the dance community worldwide. She participated as a jury member in many international competitions including in the role of president of the Prix de Lausanne, Switzerland and the Youth America Grand Prix, New York.

Gailene was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1997 and awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2013.

The Ausdance networks pays tribute to Gailene for a lifetime of outstanding achievements in dance and dance education.

Read obituary by Valerie Lawson in the Sydney Morning Herald

Read obituary in the UK Telegraph

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Pay the dancers

The payment of professional dancers has been an important discussion over the last few days for independent performers in Australia. Following an initial call-out for performers to be part of a new video clip for Kylie Minogue filming on Friday 25 April, concerns were raised about remuneration for participating dancers. 

Paul Malek of Dancechat and Jordan Beth Vincent, President of Ausdance Victoria have helped raised awareness of the ongoing problems associated with the valuing of performers in the commercial dance sector, noting this is not an isolated incident.

Ausdance believes that dancers are trained professionals who study and work hard to maintain their performance abilities. Like other artists, they deserve recognition and remuneration for the work they do. There may be times a dancer chooses to donate their skills and time, but we hope a professional video opportunity would come with professional remuneration.

The Media Entertainment Arts Alliance have been in negotiations with the production company since the filming was announced, resulting in award payments now being offered to performers under the Broadcast and Recorded Entertainment Award.

Ausdance and MEAA will continue discussions with dancers on how best to support dancers to access appropriate remuneration.

Ausdance Victoria is currently surveying free-lance and studio based teachers of dance on rates of pay and qualifications. Participate here before 30 June.

If you have any thoughts on this topic please leave them in the comments below.

You can read more about the issue here.

Contribute to the twitter discussion

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Complete nominations list for 2014 Dance Awards

Here is the long list of nominees for 2014 Australian Dance Awards.

This list, along with recorded excerpts of performances, will go to the Selection Panel who will vote on a shortlist of the top four contenders in each category.

The shortlist will be announced late July/early August. Shortlisted nominees will be notified directly before the public announcement.

The winners will be announced at the 2014 Australian Dance Awards in Sydney on Sunday 9 November.

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Ausdance 2013 Annual Report

The Ausdance National Council met in Canberra in late March for strategic discussion and our Annual General Meeting.

The Annual Report of activities for 2013 highlighted some great achievements over the year, including the National Dance Forum 2013, Australian Dance Awards and the Dance Education in Australian Schools roundtable.

The AGM also included election of the executive team for 2014–16. Congratulations and big thanks to President Brian Lucas, Vice-Presidents Claudia Alessi and Marilyn Miller and Treasurer Peter Bayliss. We appreciate your leadership, insights and dedication of volunteer time.

Motions of thanks were also adopted in recognition of long-time Ausdance SA Director Phil Callaghan, who finished up with Ausdance earlier this year, and Catherine Osborn – Ausdance WA President and National Council member who is finishing her term in May after six years in these roles.

The National Council also undertook some strategic discussions on the structure and focus of Ausdance National with Kristine Riethmiller of KMR Consulting. These discussions will continue across the year, please stay tuned for opportunities to include your thoughts.

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Keith Bain on Movement

Keith Bain—champion dancer, actor, choreographer and legendary teacher of movement at NIDA—was the first in Australia to create a comprehensive discipline in the study of movement for performance.

For over fifty years Keith profoundly influenced Australia's actors and dancers for stage and screen and his book is full of examples of the gentle wisdom recalled by many. With wit and simplicity he unveils the sources behind his belief in the infinite capacity of the human body to convey emotion and defy gravity.

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Supporting arts in the curriculum

Ausdance National has prepared a submision to the review of the Australian Curriculum. The review has been established by the Federal Government to examine the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum.

In February the National Curriclum for the Arts was published and we are keen to see it implemented. Ausdance has long been an advocate for well-resourced and informed curricula for dance and the arts. The benefit of a consistent curriculum across jurisdictions allows teachers, educators and arts professionals to develop and share approaches to learning.

Read Ausdance National's submision to the review of the Australian Curriculum.

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UNESCO International Arts Education Week

Arts for Peace

May 19–24

On 23 May 2012 Irina Bokova, Director General, United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO), launched the inaugural International Arts Education Week (IAEW) at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.

Attended by leading international arts education scholars and practitioners, the shared vision was to define an integrated strategy that responds to a critical moment in human history: social fragmentation, a dominant global culture of competition, endemic urban and ecological violence, and the marginalization of key educational and cultural languages of transformation.

The launch and celebration drew attention to the role arts education plays in a global agenda of peace and cultural understanding (see UNESCO charter).

Read Sir Ken Robinson's inaugural International Arts Education Week message.

Advocacy kit

The World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) is pleased to launch an advocacy kit that celebrates the contributions of the arts to the lives and learning experiences of individuals and groups across the globe.

The advocacy kit has been developed  by WAAE members A/Prof Ralph Buck (World Dance Alliance) and Dr Robin Pascoe (International Association for Drama/Theatre Education) in collaboration with representatives from InSEA and ISME.

The kit is intended to provide those involved in arts education in schools and communities with ideas and practical strategies to promote the arts disciplines as a fundamental human right. The kit also provides an historical overview of the WAAE and its organisation, and the contributions and partnerships that exist between the arts education sector, UNESCO and other key organisations.
 

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Arts curriculum available online now

Five art forms for all young Australians!

The Australian curriculum for the arts, health and physical education, technologies, economics and business, and civics and citizenship for Foundation – Year 10 is now available on the Australian Curriculum website.

The publication of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts represents a special moment in the history of Australian dance education, with dance now officially one of five art form subjects in the national curriculum. States and territories and education authorities will determine implementation timelines for schools. This is the result of many years of advocacy by Ausdance through the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) and the Australia Council with teachers, associations, education departments and State and Territory education ministers.

However, the Education Minister has recently decided to review the National Curriculum and the NAAE has made a submission to this Review, calling for the implementation of the Arts curriculum in its present form. The NAAE is concerned about the prospect of more delays and tweaking that may result in a less-than-optimal curriculum. The NAAE acknowledges that there is some content that is still subject to further revision, but this revision must take place in the context of rigorous trials by classroom teachers.

The Chairman of the ACARA board, Professor Barry McGaw has made a clarifying statement about the cross-curriculum priorities noting that they are "options, not orders".

Sandra Gattenhof, Assoc. Professor, QUT Creative Industries Faculty, School of Media, Entertainment, Creative Arts, Drama said:

This is a historic moment in Australian arts curriculum. For the first time ever, and even internationally I would argue, we have a curriculum that provides an entitlement for young Australians to all five art forms. This will have enormous implication on the expectations of what can be achieved in secondary schools, in tertiary institutions and ultimately on the cultural life and heritage for Australia.

Listen to Sandra Gattenhof's keynote delivered at the Educators' Performing Arts Market.

The Benefits of Arts Participation in Schools

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Talking dance—meet the makers at the 2014 Australian Performing Arts Market

Ausdance celebrates Australian dance makers at APAM 2014

In February 2014, Ausdance National and Ausdance Queensland hosted Talking dancemeet the makers, a networking event for the dance makers participating in the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM).

The following slideshow, which was projected during the event, showcases the latest work of Australian dance companies and independent dance artists who were presenting work at APAM 2014.

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Benefits of arts participation in schools

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Sydney University and the Australia Council for the Arts have just released this video about how participation in the arts at school has valuable and long-term benefits for children of all ages and abilities, in terms of both academic and non-academic outcomes and achievements.

Studies have shown that students who frequently participate in the arts are "more academically engaged...and motivated...and also have higher self-esteem..and a greater sense of meaning in life."

Speakers are Associate Professor Michael Anderson (Sydney University) Dr David Sudmalis (Australia Council for the Arts) and Professor Andrew Martin (Sydney University)

Watch video now.

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Australia Day honours

Ausdance National congratulates all those from the dance community recognised in the Australia Day honours.

Co-Directors of Tracks Dance, David McMicken and Tim Newth, have been recognised by being made members (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia. David and Tim have been recognised for their tireless work with Tracks Dance and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern Territory. Tracks Dance were also recognised at the 2013 Australian Dance Awards for outstanding outstanding achievement in youth or community dance.

Ausdance National life member and former President Sue Street was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division for ‘distinguished service to the performing arts, particularly to dance education at a tertiary level, as a teacher and administrator, to professional organisations, and as a mentor’.

Professor David Throsby was also made an Officer (AO) in the General Division for ‘distinguished service to the community as a leading cultural economist, to the promotion and preservation of Australian arts and heritage, and to tertiary education'. David authored Dance in Australia - A Profile.

Lucinda Dunn, principal with The Australian Ballet, was recognised with an OAM for service to the performing arts through ballet. Entertainer Rhonda Burchmore also recieved an OAM for service to the performing arts and to the community.

Nominations for Australian honours can be made all year round here.

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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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Celebrating Dance in the Asia Pacific—2 new books

Evolving Synergies: Celebrating Dance in Singapore

by Dr. Stephanie Burridge & Dr. Caren Cariño

Evolving Synergies tells the Singapore dance story and will be of interest to dance teachers, lecturers, researchers and students in universities, colleges, schools of higher education, the education sector including junior colleges, the professional dance world and professional dance training institutions.

It crosses into many fields that are offered at graduate and post-graduate level including anthropology, ethnography, philosophy and religion, social and cultural studies, arts criticism and aesthetics, theatre studies, women's studies, politics, inter-disciplinary arts, teaching pedagogy and many more.

Read more…

Congratulations to Aimee Smith

West Australian dancer and choreographer Aimee Smith has received a 2013 Realise Your Dream Award through the British Council Australia. The award includes an individual professional development program based in the UK, return flights and $5000.

Aimee was recognised with the Award for Emerging Artist at the 2007 WA Dance Awards, after graduating from WAAPA in 2004. Aimee’s projects and performances have included working across the globe in places such as the Arctic Circle, India, Japan and Taiwan. She has recently completed a Masters in Sustainability. You can find out more about Aimee's work here.

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Laurel Martyn remembered

Ausdance extends our sympathies to the family, former students and colleagues of Laurel Martyn OBE.

Laurel was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the 1997 Australian Dance Awards, in recognition of her years of choreography, performance and teaching. Born in Toowoomba, Queensland in 1916 Laurel was the first Australian woman to be accepted into Vic-Wells Ballet (later Sadler’s Wells Ballet) in 1936, and was a featured soloist by 1938.

Read more…

Dance historians captured on radio

Over many years the National Library of Australia has been researching and archiving some of Australia's dance history, and in a nice twist, two of our leading researchers have had their stories captured by ABC radio.

As part of the Canberra Close-up series, produced by radio station ABC666, Michelle Potter, inaugural Curator of Dance at the National Library (2002 – 2006) and Lee Christofis, Curator (2006 – 2013), have shared their experiences capturing some important moments in dance history.

Listen in: Michelle Potter   Lee Christofis

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NAAE concerned for future of UNESCO cultural program

National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), have expressed concern UNESCO has recently voted to downgrade its cultural program (including arts education), thus risking the program's eventual elimination. Writing to the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, NAAE have outlined concerns about the possible downgrading of UNESCO's cultural program, and requesting Australia's representatives prioritise this program when it votes again at its November meeting. NAAE also acknowledges the leadership role UNESCO has played as an active advocate for Arts Education internationally.

Toshi Kawaguchi, Secretary-General of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO has recently responsed:

Australia is not a member of the Executive Board. As such, we were not involved in the decision. The Australian National Commission for UNESCO intends to participate in the General Conference, however, and has registered National Advocates for Arts Education’s (NAAE) views. We appreciate your input as the peak national arts education association.

Australia has much to offer in the cultural and arts education sphere and places value in arts education, including working to elevate creativity and cultural expression nationally.  As you note, education ministers endorsed the Australian Curriculum for the arts in July 2013 so that for the first time, all Australian students from Foundation to Year Ten will have access to an arts education that covers five art forms of drama, dance, media arts, music and visual arts.  To the credit of cultural bodies such as NAAE and Drama Australia, the Australian Curriculum for the arts recognises the opportunities that the arts learning area offers students in relation to further developing their general capabilities such as literacy, personal and social capability, and intercultural understanding.
 

NAAE will continue to monitor the progress of the decision and the outcome of the General Conference.

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DEAS2013 report

In schools there are some good dancers, some who are not. But it doesn’t matter. Dance should be accessible, enjoyable and shared.

These wise words from ACT teacher Mardi Roberts-Bolton underlined why Ausdance continues to focus on Dance Education in Australian Schools (DEAS). The 2013 DEAS forum, with a new national curriculum on the horizon, was focused on providing teachers and policy makers with the capacity to ensure dance is accessible and enjoyed by all. DEAS2013 took place in Melbourne from 26 to 27 September. Policy makers and professional dancers from across Australia joined together for two days of learning, sharing and practical skills development.

Read more…

2013 Australian Dance Week

The Ausdance network celebrates and promotes dance in all its forms every year during Australian Dance Week (ADW).

The dates for the opening and closing of Australian Dance Week vary slightly from state to state according to local events, but it always takes place during the first week of May and follows International Dance Day which is 29 April. Each state and territory Ausdance coordinates a variety of events from book launches and forums to free performances and community classes, and encourages its dance community to promote their own activities throughout the week.

ADW2014 will run from 3 – 11 May.

Contact your local Ausdance to find out how you can get involved in Australian Dance Week 2014.

Here is a sample of some the ADW activities that happened in 2013...

WA

Events in Perth and Western Australia included performances at the State Theatre Centre, WAAPA, King St Arts Centre and Forest Place;  open rehearsals at the West Australian Ballet Centre; many and varied workshops, forums and films screenings. The Perth dance community had the privilege of working with Phillip Channells (Director of Dance Integrated Australia and former Artistic Director of Restless Dance Theatre) who shared his expertise in working with performers and dance-makers of all abilities/disabilities.

The second Oral Histories Project was launched with a gathering of celebrated WA dancers, choreographers, critics, arts managers and teachers on 29 April. This project, commenced in 2011 by Varnya Bromilow and Michelle Saunders, consists of 22 interviews of key WA dance artists and supporters. The first oral histories project was completed by Lynn Fisher and colleagues in 1990, and it was a real joy for Ausdance WA to launch the second installment to this important endeavour.

SA

Ausdance SA presented it's annual free multicultural dance showcase for local dance groups in Rundle Mall featuring a diverse range of styles that included Bollywood, bellydance, hip hop, breakdance and more.

Just a few of the performers at Ausdance SA's free dance spectacular in Rundle Mall. Photos: Alexander Waite Mitchell

ACT

Every ADW Ausdance ACT presents free performances at the Belconnen Fresh Food markets, as well as coordinating dozens of free classes all over town for anyone to sample. ADW2013 was bigger than ever as Canberra celebrated its centenary. The Albert Hall was jumping with its Kick Up Your Heels swing dance party & workshop with Canberra’s own Jumptown! Swing and the wonderful Spectrum Big Band. The variety of dance on offer was impressive: salsa, hip hop, Hilal, clogging, bush dance, African, Bollywood, tap, zumba—you name it!

QLD

Ausdance QLD hosted an exciting 5-night showcase of short works from the Queensland's best independent dancers and choreographers. The work was cutting edge, passionate, daring and varied. There were two big performance events at the Judith Wright Centre: Big Dance Night Out was a showcase from the biggest and best crews, ensembles and troupes of Brisbane’s professional studios; Stay Up Later gave Brisbane’s dance schools and students an opportunity to come together and show their skills and creativity.

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International Solo Dance Theatre Festival

Registrations are now open for the 18th International Solo Dance Theatre Festival—a tribute to Tanja Liedtke, in Stuttgart 13 – 16 March 2014.

The festival provides a competitive platform for contemporary choreographers and young dancers. Choreographers and dancers from around the world are requested to perform a solo piece which is new, original, imaginative, unique and which displays unusual achievement.

The festival aims to provide an overall view of the latest trends in the solo dance-theatre scene. A respected jury will judge choreographic and dance skills as well as musicality, interpretation and performance.

For conditions of entry visit the TREFFPUNKT Rotebuehlplatz website.

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Buzz & STEPS to form new company

The Boards of STEPS Youth Dance and Buzz Dance Theatre plan to create a new West Australian contemporary dance company.

The unanimous decision by both Boards has come after months of consultation. STEPS and Buzz will continue their respective operations until the end of 2014.

Pamela-Jayne Kinder, Chair of Buzz, said the State Government’s Future Moves investment of $1.6 million over four years has strengthened the contemporary dance sector in Western Australia, and the Boards see this as an important response in creating a more sustainable future for the dance sector.

The new company will continue to inspire young people, offer extraordinary dance experiences for young people, support dance in education, and maintain creative opportunities for choreographers.

Read the full Media Release.

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2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

The Australian Dance Awards committee is happy to announce that the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013 will be presented to Ronne Arnold in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to dance.

Ronne has inspired generations of audiences and dancers as a stunning performer, a dynamic choreographer and teacher, and as an academic who has presented and published his research into Aboriginal dance.

Born in Philadelphia, Ronne completed a dance degree in the US with special emphasis on Laban notation. He first came to Australia in 1960 to appear in West Side Story, and has lived here almost continuously since, performing, choreographing and teaching for companies and training institutions throughout the country.

Ronne was founder and Artistic Director of the Australian Contemporary Dance Company from 1967 – 72. The company made history by touring regional NSW and Queensland and bringing a new contemporary repertoire to audiences.

Passionate about Australia’s Indigenous dance, Ronne completed an MA in 1991, researching the dances of the Wanam people of Cape York Peninsula. He taught in various capacities at the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA College) from 1986 until 2003.

(l) Photo: Peter Andrews  (r) Ronne with Robina Beard OAM, in New Blues, Australian Contemporary Dance Company.

Ongoing partner of the Australian Dance Awards, Bloch Dance Australia is pleased to continue its support of the Awards. Bloch’s National Manager–Dance Products & Services Australasia, Sandie Windsor-Richards said

we are delighted that Ronne Arnold is this year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and has been recognised for his generosity of spirit and love of dance.

Ronne is an outstanding pioneer who has made a major contribution to contemporary dance in Australia.

The Australian Dance Awards 2013 are presented by Harlequin Floors with Ausdance ACT.

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Dr Alan Brissenden inducted into Australian Dance Awards Hall of Fame

Dr Alan Brissenden AM was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2013 Australian Dance Awards by Robyn Archer AO and David McAllister AM in recognition of his distinguished services to the dance profession.

Alan has made an enormous impact on how we view dance, with an extraordinary 60 years of dance criticism and scholarly writings. His acute perceptions, developed through an eager engagement with dance and all the other performing arts, have provided insightful reflections and commentaries on Australia's constantly changing dance landscape.

Read more…

New awards celebrating Australian Arts in Asia

The winners of the inaugural Australian Arts in Asia Awards have been announced. These awards recognise, celebrate and promote the significant number of Australian artists contributing to stronger, deeper and broader cultural links with Asian nations.

Minister for Arts, The Hon Tony Burke MP said

Australia’s engagement in Asia isn’t simply about trade, business and foreign affairs, there is a dynamic creative engagement which allows Australian art to be experienced in Asia, great works from Asia to be available here and most importantly fresh creativity which is only possible because of the way we work together. This event is a celebration of diversity in Australia and across the region and how making connections through art promotes understanding and appreciation of all cultures.

Congratulations to these dance artists who made the list of finalists:

  • Annalouise Paul Game On (India)
  • Kyle Page Engi (Japan)
  • Bangarra Dance Theatre Spirit (Mongolia, Thailand & Vietnam)
  • Margie Medlin Time Frames (India)
  • Steps Youth Dance Company & QL2 Scratch the Surface (Taiwan)
  • Tony Yap Company & Multicultural Arts Victoria MAPFest (Indonesia & Malaysia)
  • Tony Yap Company Kekkai–Beyond Fixed Boundaries (Republic of Korea, South Korea)

Read Media Release about Annalouise Paul's Game On. See the full list of winners.

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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.

Read more…

Queens Birthday Honours for dance

Congratulations to Ausdance founding member Professor Shirley McKechnie AO and Head of Dance at WAAPA and former Chair of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia, Nanette Hassall AM for their Queen's Birthday Honours.

Both Shirley and Nan have been recipients of an Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Congratulations also to Sydney Dance Company collaborator Iva Davies, and former Chair Rowan Ross.

Renie Allison-Matini of Victoria and Daryl Powell of the ACT were recognised with OAMs for their contributions to the broad dance community.

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Tanzkongress 2013 performance highlights

What would an international dance conference be if it did not include an array of performances? Even though Tanzkongress itself was only three days, there were a significant range of performance, workshop and class opportunities.

The opening celebrations included the staging of a movement choir entitled Tanz Aller (everyone dancing). Audience members became the performers, directed through individual radio sets with the staging led by the artists' collective Ligna. Movement choirs were popular in 1920s Germany and used at rallies of the working class. The experience was a rich one, a great opportunity to bond with strangers from around the world as we formed patterns and movements, while also hearing the history of the movement choirs.

Tanzkongress 2013 audience performancesLeft: Radio sets were used to direct audience performers in the Tanz Aller movement choir. Right: Audience members performing in the Tanz Aller movement choir (photo Julie Dyson). Below right: Songlines Flash Mob

The main stage opening was a performance of La Creation du monde 1923 – 2012. This performance included a re-staging of the original la creation du monde; a so-called 'ballet negre' originally presented in 1923, book-ended by modern interpretations and questions on the themes presented in the ballet. Colonialism and the appropriations of African cultures were passionately explored by Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula and CCN-Ballet de Lorraine.

Other highlights on the program included a 20th Anniversary presentation by Candoco Dance Company. From London UK, Candoco was formed to provide an artistic vehicle for performers with and without disability. They have gathered a strong international reputation including a starring role in the ceremonies of the London Olympics. Chunky Move artistic director Anouk van Dijk teamed up with longer term collaborator Falk Richter for Rausch (intoxication). Seven dancers and five actors explored themes of freedom and connection in spell-binding mix of high-powered theatre and dance.

Of course there were also less formal performances. Dutch choreographer Erik Kaiel has been working with students from St Benedikt school in Duesseldorf, resulting in some flash mob performances in amongst the Congress participants.

Tanzkongress encouraged participation in the creation of new works, as well as the re-staging of the old, through its dance and workshop program. It was a valuable opportunity to see a range of performances from outside Australia.

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Tanzkongress 2013—Performing Translations

In 2006 Berlin staged the first Tanzkongress of modern times. Now in its third iteration, the conference has established itself as a vital part of European dance discussions. Supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Tanzkongress draws participants from around the globe including New Zealand, USA, Australia, India and throughout Europe. Tanzkongress 2013 has the theme of 'performing translations' exploring commonalities and differences in dance and how we can work across communication forms. 

Translation takes place not only between practices and competences, art forms and styles, ideologies and generations. Art meets politics, practice meets theory, dance meets technology. Tanzkongress program

Around 1000 participants worked with nearly 200 presenters—dancers, choreographers, academics and teachers, producers, and critics—covering areas such as choreography, education, journalism, dramaturgy, politics, architecture, sociology, philosophy, and medicine. 

The Dance Congress is a congress for dance, yet one that treats the concept of dance in an extremely broad sense and thus proves the art form's relevance to other disciplines and the connectivity of its discourse beyond dance. Tanzkongress program

On Mentoring

It was impossible to be everywhere and be part of everything, but highlights for me included the ‘On Mentoring’ discussion led by renowned choreographer Jonathan Burrows.

Jonathan presented his thoughts on the idea of mentoring, noting that any application for arts funding in the UK these days needs to include a mentoring component. The audience then broke into smaller groups to reflect and share experiences. Important in an international forum was the cultural implications of mentoring—in that some places only respect direct teacher-student relations rather than the cross-beneficial concepts understood in mentoring. There was also shared recognition that while mentoring can happen in quite fluid ways, there is benefit in formal mentoring relationships that bring with them time, commitment and patience. 

Tanzkongress presenters and audienceLeft: Tanzkongress venue. Top: ‘On mentoring’ discussion led by renowned choreographer Jonathan Burrows. Bottom: Dance for cities panel and audience for ‘East-Western perspectives on dance journalism’. Photos: Roslyn Dundas.

East-Western Perspectives on Dance Journalism

A panel discussion titled 'The Contemporary and the Critical—East-Western Perspectives on Dance Journalism', explored the cultural understandings of dance performance and review. Session participants were witness to an interesting discussion on the need, or not, to have a cultural understanding on a dance piece being witnessed. Traditional and contemporary as dance forms were dissected, as was the overlap of ritual and entertainment. Indian based choreographer Anusha Lall commented "If I have been moved, shifted in my skin" then that moment of empathy is valuable, even if the cultural background or understanding isn't there. 

The Renaissance of Dance Cities

Bureaucrats, ballet directors and former politicians gathered for a fiery debate about the place of dance within a city's development. The recognition that people of all walks of life enjoy living in a culturally rich community has supported the development of dance and arts hubs; however, recent economic pressures have seen programs across Europe rolled back. It is clear having infrastructure developed while economic times are good can help maintain connection and development in leaner times; however the priority needs to be supported across all levels of bureaucracy and government.

And outside the lectures and panel discussions...

Tanzkongress participants were able to take dance classes, be part of research, see performances and catch-up with colleagues from around the globe. The German Federal Cultural Foundation have indicated their commitment to Tanzkongress continuing, but in the meantime outcomes from the 2013 conference continue to be added to the Tanzkongress website.

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Dance and science—knowledge and creativity.

There is so much we still have to learn about dance. Human bodies have been dancing for centuries and some of our training techniques have been passed on from generation to generation.

At Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Dr Emma Redding, head of dance science, is leading a growing group of researchers and students applying scientific methods to the dance training we do every day, seeking to gain knowledge about the body and the impact of dance.

Read more…

Visiting Harlequin HQ

One of the key supporters of the Australian Dance Awards is Harlequin Dance Floors. Established in 1979, Harlequin supply dance floors around the world, so it was great to meet with them at the Harlequin HQ in Kent, England.

 Ray, Technical Director with Harlequin undertaking a slip test on Harlequin vinyl floors   Paul, demonstrating the innovative locking method of the 'Liberty' panels Ray, Technical Director with Harlequin undertaking a slip test on Harlequin vinyl floors. Paul, demonstrating the innovative locking method of the 'Liberty' panels

Mark Rasmussen, Global Group Marketing Manager, took the time to show me the main workshop and a presentation on how Harlequin are continually refining their knowledge and processes with the aim of ensuring dancers get the best support they can from a Harlequin dance floor. Harlequin supply a range of different floor types including portable and permanent floors. They have recently redone the stages at the Bolshi Ballet in Russia, and supply the floors for Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Ballet. Riverdance performances for the last ten years have been on a portable Harlequin floor.

Harlequin have been interested in research (being undertaken in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and in Australia) looking at the scientific benefits and different impacts of floors on the dancers body. A lot has changed in the last few decades as dancers, teachers and choreographers have become more aware of safe dance practices. A good floor is just as vital to a dancer's wellbeing as a good diet and well-trained technique. Ten years ago research was based on sports floor models, but now we know what a basketballer is looking for out of a floor is significantly different to what a contemporary, classical or ballroom dancer needs. We have known for years that sports floors aren't ideal but research is still underway looking at what is right for dancers. And, of course one of the ongoing challenges is that what a classical dancer requires in a floor is different to what a hip-hop or tap dancer needs. While Harlequin have a growing range of floors available, studio owners, community dancers, performance facility directors and companies need to make an individual assessment about what will work best for their dancers.

Over the coming months DanceUK and Ausdance will be reviewing the recent research on dance floors and updating our dance floor information sheets.

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Libby Christie to join The Australian Ballet

Australian arts administrator Libby Christie has been announced as The Australian Ballet’s new Executive Director. Libby will commence the position in late July.

Libby has been acting CEO of the Australia Council since 1 January 2013, with Tony Grybowski recently appointed to take on that role. Ausdance thanks Libby for her leadership and dedication at the Australia Council, leading the Australia Council as the National Cultural Policy was launched, and the review of the Australia Council considered.

The Australian Ballet has issued a media statement with comments from Artistic Director David McAllister and Libby.

“I’m delighted to be working with Libby on realising the company’s vision. She’s a well-respected leader who values collaboration and understands the unique challenges of leading a high-profile and complex arts organisation. I look forward to partnering with her as we enter our next exciting chapter,” said Artistic Director David McAllister.

“I’ve long admired The Australian Ballet for its artistic integrity, progressive approach and strong business achievements behind the curtain. They are one of the world’s busiest ballet companies and lead the way in best practice across many areas,” said Libby Christie.

“I welcome the opportunity to work alongside David, the Board, talented dancers and resourceful administration staff who make up this wonderful organisation. I hope to encourage artistic risks, foster entrepreneurial thinking, promote digital and technological innovation and above all, deliver beautiful performances for a loyal and ever-growing ballet audience.”

Libby takes over from Valerie Wilder, who announced her depature at the completion of her five year contract in October last year. Valerie joined the company in June 2008 from the Boston Ballet and previously from the National Ballet of Canada.

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Congratulations to winners of Creative Australia Fellowships

Congratulations to dance artists Gideon Obarzanek, Sue Healey and Ashley Dyer on receiving an Australia Council Creative Australia Fellowship!

Creative Australia Fellowships is a major initiative to support the professional development of outstanding artists working across the sector and Australia.

The Fellowships are the centrepiece of the Federal Government's Creative Australia Artist Grants initiative, with $10 million going to individual artists over five years, delivered by the Australia Council.

The Fellowships consist of two categories: established artists (each valued at $100,000 over one year) and early career artists (each valued at $60,000 over two years).

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Budget delivers on Cultural Policy promise

The Federal Budget, presented on 14 May, delivers on the promises announced as part of the National Cultural Policy - Creative Australia

Ausdance is relieved to see the money promised at the launch of Creative Australia confirmed through inclusion in the Budget and estimates for the forward years, under the heading "a creative nation is a productive nation". The National Cultural Policy included a $235 million vision and strategy to place arts and culture at the centre of modern life.

As part of this commitment the Australia Council will receive $75.3 million over the next four years (from 1 July 2013), with $15m per year to be targeted to arts organisations to address the demand for "high quality creative content from established, emerging and hybrid art forms". $1.25m per year will be used to establish a funding pool for the major performing arts organisations, subject to matched funding from the states and territories.

The Creative Young Stars Progam will provide $8m over two years for financial assistance to young people (up to 25) to put towards the cost of representing their community in training, cultural, artisitc, academic or community based activities and events. Successful applicants will receive a grant of $500 (individuals) or $3000 (groups), with 23 individual and 4 group grants awarded in each federal electorate per year.

Other initiatives include the continuation of the ArtStart program for graduates, additional funding for Arts Training Organisations such as the Australian Ballet School and NAISDA, and additional funding for some major performing arts companies including Bangarra Dance Theatre and the West Australian Ballet.

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Dance on Tour

Dance on Tour (DOT) is a joint initiative of four internationally acclaimed and award winning dance companies, Expressions Dance Company, Australian Dance Theatre, KAGE and Shaun Parker & Company.

This initiative has been created to maximise awareness, access and engagement with outstanding dance theatre in regional and remote areas of Australia.

The four dance companies will collectively tour to all eight Australian states, and visit a total of 55 venues, between March and September 2013 with their productions of Garry Stewart’s G (ADT), Natalie Weir’s R&J (EDC), KAGE’s Sundowner and Shaun Parker’s Happy as Larry.

All four companies have been supported to tour in 2013 by Playing Australia, the Australian Government’s national touring performing arts program.

Find out more on the Dance on Tour website.

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Touring dance in 2014

Congratulations to Lisa Wilson who work Lake has been selected to tour in 2014 through Performing Lines' Mobile States program!

Performing Lines develops, produces and tours new and innovative Australian performing arts regionally, nationally and internationally.

For more information about touring opportunities through its various initiatives, visit Performing Lines website.

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Lee Christofis retires from NLA

Ausdance National Honorary Life Member and former Vice-President Lee Christofis is retiring. After six and a half years as Curator of Dance at the National Library of Australia he will finish up on Friday 5 April.

Margy Burn, Assistant Director at the National Library notes Lee's significant contribution:

Notable new collections acquired for the Library arising from Lee’s work include the papers of Irina Baronova, Janet Vernon and Graeme Murphy, and the records of the NAISDA Dance College. Lee has completed more than fifty oral history interviews with dancers, choreographers, administrators and others associated with dance. Lee has selected beautiful photographs documenting the work of leading companies, choreographers and performers as well as designs for sets and costumes, including the archive of Kristian Fredrikson.

Two major projects which occupied Lee during his curatorship were the Ballets Russes project, a long running research collaboration with the University of Adelaide and the Australian Ballet and a project to document Indigenous contemporary dance. Both projects leave significant enduring research resources for the study, enjoyment and understanding of dance in Australia.

Dr Isobel Johnston, Lee's curatorial assistant, will be the initial contact for dance research, advice and assistance. Lee will continue to undertake Oral History interviews for the Library and support the acquisition of dance resources.

The position of Dance Curator will not be replaced, following a decade of special focus on dance at the NLA. It has been announced the next special focus area will be on Indigenous collections and a new Curator of Indigenous collections will continue to build on Lee’s work to document and collect resources for the study of Indigenous dance.

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National Dance Forum finishes

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?

(left) Brian Lucas (National President, Ausdance & independent artist) and Jeff Khan (Co-Director, The Performance Space & Facilitator NDF2013) welcome delegates to the Forum.

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.

Happy snaps of some of the NDF2013 delegates

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.

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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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Leap forward for dance education in 2012

The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

This has been an important year in the evolution of the new national dance curriculum.

One of five arts subject with its own body of knowledge, teaching strategies and learning outcomes, dance is soon to take its place in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

We have continued to work with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on various drafts of the curriculum throughout 2012, engaging with teachers where the tight timelines for consultation have allowed, and keeping dance educators up to date with regular email bulletins.

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The Australian Ballet & dance education

'Out There' is the unique dance education program of The Australian Ballet.

Designed by dance educator Helen Cameron, the program engages with primary schools, students and teachers, led by a team of dancer/educators who have been especially trained by Helen to deliver the program. It's proving that dance in the curriculum not only provides skill development and expressive opportunities, but supports other curriculum areas in the process.

The ABC's 7.30 program recently profiled the 'Out There' program and interviewed Helen about its success.

After a lifetime of research and design of innovative dance curricula for primary schools, Helen was awarded the Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education in 2008.

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New CEO for Ausdance National

The Australian Dance Council – Ausdance is pleased to announce that Roslyn Dundas has been appointed as the new CEO of Ausdance National, commencing on 14 January 2013. Roslyn will replace long-standing National Director Julie Dyson AM, who will retire at the end of the year. Julie has been with the organisation, in both voluntary and paid capacities, since its inception in 1977.

Roslyn has extensive experience in the arts, and in government, strategy, policy development and advocacy. She was the Director of Ausdance ACT for almost three years from 2005, and prior to that appointment was the youngest woman elected to an Australian parliament when she joined the ACT Legislative Assembly in 2001.

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Ausdance honours 80th birthdays of Dr Alan Brissenden & wife Elizabeth

On behalf of the Australian dance community, Ausdance wishes Alan and Elizabeth all the very best on this happy occasion.

Dr Alan Brissenden AM has a long association with Ausdance and a life-long association with the arts. He has been writing dance criticism since his student days in 1950, first in the University of Sydney student paper Honi Soit and then, while still a student in 1952 when he was invited to review for the Sydney Morning Herald. Throughout his long career as Reader in English, specialising in Shakespeare at Adelaide University, Alan has been a regular critic for The Australian, Dance Australia, the Adelaide Review and Radio Adelaide. He was for many years a member of the Board of Governors of the Adelaide Festival and President of the Friends of the State Library of South Australia.

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TAFE funding cuts and the arts

At the recent meeting of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia (TDCA), serious concerns were raised about the massive cuts to TAFE training in several eastern States.

In this article for Artshub, Tamara Winikoff, Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts, also raises these concerns, and the broader issues of career pathways for artists. While Tamara focuses on the visual arts, much of her analysis could be applied to dance in the TAFE sector, especially with the imminent introduction of the new Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

We'll be making our concerns known to the Victorian, New South Wales, South Australian and Queensland governments about their proposals to so drastically cut TAFE funding. We suggest you read Tamara's article and respond to your own governments about the future of arts training in your State.

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Good news from major performing arts companies

The latest Australia Council Snapshot of Major Performing Arts Company Key Trends shows that Australia’s major performing arts companies are robust, stable and have continued to expand their city audiences in line with population growth. They have also extended their reach and engagement in regional and remote communities.

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Report on NSW multicultural arts forum

Groundswell has published the final report on the Multicultural Arts Forum 2012  held in April this year. The forum brought together over 180 artists, arts workers, policy-makers, arts leaders and critical thinkers from NSW and across Australia to share ideas, perspectives and experiences on how to reap the benefits of our culturally diverse arts.

This report presents the main outcomes of the forum as well as a comprehensive evaluation of its results.

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A night to remember at the Australian Dance Awards

The 2012 Australian Dance Awards were presented in spectacular fashion at the beautiful new Heath Ledger Theatre in the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia on 1 September.

Catherine Osborne (l) President, Ausdance WA and Lauren Malkin (r) Client Manager AON Risk Services, presented Lucinda Sharp with her award for Services to Dance. Photo: Matthew Thompsett

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Nanette Hassall—Award for Lifetime Achievement 2012

Nanette Hassall is the 2012 recipient of the Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement. This Award honours the career and achievements of an outstanding senior figure in the Australian dance community who has dedicated at least 40 years to dance as a performer, choreographer, advocate, educator, administrator or visionary.

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Report on national dance research forum

Thank you for a great weekend. The National Dance Research Forum was stimulating, energising and so well organised with great food and venues. (Dr Cheryl Stock)

Last weekend we had the pleasure of partnering with the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia to welcome 35 Australian and five international dance researchers to the first national dance research forum held for many years.

The forum provided a unique opportunity for everyone to hear some high-profile speakers, share their own research, join small discussion groups and make plans with potential collaborators.

Speakers included: (l to r) Dr Carol Brown (Uni of Auckland), Dr Kim Vincs (Deakin) & Ruth Gibson (igloo).

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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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National crowdfunding strategy

The Australia Council for the Arts with its philanthropic arm, Artsupport Australia, has commenced its national crowdfunding roadshow as part of a strategy to explore the opportunities in crowdfunding for cultural and creative projects.

The roadshow is the culmination of a multi-stage strategy which included a pilot mentoring phase by Artsupport Australia for a group of crowdfunding projects, and the Australia Council commissioning the first piece of research in Australia into barriers and motivations of donors to crowdfunding projects in the cultural and creative sectors.

Caroline Vu, NSW Manager of Artsupport Australia said:

With crowdfunding reaching a tipping point in Australia, there’s huge potential to increase individual giving to arts and culture...the key to this is improving the understanding and skills of the sector; leading to better and more successful campaigns. As the success rate for crowdfunding projects increases, people will become more confident that crowdfunding truly enables creative ideas to become reality.

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Brolga in 2013

Brolga 35 (December, 2011) was the final print edition. From issue # 36 Brolgaan Australian journal about dance will be published on our website and available for purchase either as a complete volume (PDF) or as individual articles. All you need to do is create an account and become an Ausdance customer.

Brolga is pleased to welcome Professor Maggi Phillips from WAAPA, as its new editor.

By the end of 2013 we intend to have all back issues of Brolga online. We believe that this collection of articles will be a valuable resource for students, researchers and dance lovers all over.

Harobo Perth, 2005. Dancer: Hannah Cann. Photo: Laura Ross

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Ausdance advocacy

The last few weeks have seen us engaged in quite a diverse range of advocacy activities across several states and territories.

We’ve chaired a National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) meeting in Sydney, attended the Arts & Health Forum at Parliament House in Canberra, discussed arts policy with Minister Crean’s arts adviser and the Secretary of the Office for the Arts in Canberra, and lobbied Schools Minister Peter Garrett about the implementation of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

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Dance in the Northern Territory

In June we visited Darwin and participated in Monsoon Sessions, a professional development program for local artists. The two dance forums considered a range of issues of particular concern to NT artists, including Indigenous dance opportunities, career pathways, dance policy and the future of Ausdance NT.

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NAAE welcomes arts curriculum

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) have welcomed the release of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts for public consultation.

Launching the draft on Monday, Schools Minister Peter Garrett said that he had been "a passionate advocate of the importance of arts as part of a comprehensive, well-rounded education", and that learning in the arts "inspires creativity, encourages young people to think critically, helps develop their sense of identity and can provide great benefits for learning in other core areas".

The NAAE is now advocating for improved teacher education in the arts, and for the allocation of more resources to enable the arts curriculum to be properly implemented.

The NAAE has released a media statement today supporting the draft curriculum, while noting that 'there is still work to do'.

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Draft arts curriculum launched for consultation

Ausdance welcomes the launch of the draft of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts for public consultation, announced yesterday by The Federal Minister for School Education, the Hon. Peter Garrett. The consultation period will be for three months, until 23 September.

The new curriculum will, for the first time, entitle all young people to learning in dance at school, a major breakthrough for students and dance educators. The four other subjects in the arts curriculum are drama, media arts, music and visual arts.

Ausdance has played a strong lobbying role in having dance included in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts, and has supported ACARA—the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority—in the development of the dance curriculum.

We encourage you, as dance teachers in schools, students and parents, to continue having your say throughout this next consultation stage.

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Ausdance welcomes new treasurer

The Ausdance team is pleased to welcome Peter Bayliss from Into Tomorrow on board as its Treasurer. Into Tomorrow is a Chartered Accounting firm that provides a variety of services to music, arts and community sector clients. The company was founded by Peter in 2009 to combine his passions for music, the arts and community services with his skills as an accountant and business manager.

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The National Arts & Health Forum

The forum at Parliament House on 27 June was an important step in developing a meaningful and effective arts and health policy framework. The forum media release gives you further details of speakers, topics and the outcomes of the meeting.

The audio of the forum is now available on Place Stories, as is the opening speech by the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP.

Until recently the forum was referred to as a one-off event. However, the organisers now see the need for it to continue, informing the advice that the Arts & Health Foundation provides to the Ministerial Working Group on Arts and Health.

We have been invited to be part of this ongoing process, and hope that our members will contribute their experiences and amazingly successful dance and health stories via the Arts and Health PlaceStories website. More resources will be posted on PlaceStories in the weeks ahead.

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Keith Bain tribute

Keith Bain OAM passed away in Sydney on 4 July, 2012. He was much loved and repected by the Australian dance community and will be greatly missed. Keith's inspiration, insights, generosity, humour and vision were valued by many.

Keith's funeral was held at the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium on Tuesday 10 July.

About Keith

Keith began as a ballroom dancer in the country town of his birth, Wauchope. He graduated as Dux of the year from Armidale Teachers College in 1945 and taught at Kogarah Boys High and Temora High where his students experienced quality music, drama and dance.

It was in Temora that he saw the Bodenwieser Dance Group perform, and after talking with the dancers, Keith said that he

...sensed that [he] had the eyes to analyse the work, the head to appreciate it and a body that might someday master it.

Keith moved to Sydney to begin his modern dance career.

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National dance research forum

On the weekend of 4 – 5 August 2012 Australian dance researchers will meet in Melbourne to share their work, ideas and develop their dance research networks. Participants include dance researchers working in choreographic cognition, technology, injury prevention and management, intercultural research, audience development and dance education.

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Australia Dancing leaps into Trove

The National Library of Australia has integrated the Australia Dancing service into the national discovery service Trove.

Trove is an exciting destination for dance researchers and expands the potential of finding new and rare materials in many diverse collections. Trove takes you to resources in libraries, archives, performing arts collections, galleries; to biographical databases and online collections including pictures, digitised newspapers and finding aids. Trove also incorporates the National Library's dance resources, which continue to grow each year.

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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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Responses to the Australia Council Review

The Australia Council Review was a comprehensive and complex document covering many facets of governance, funding, peer review and relationships with other agencies, plus important recommendations for additional arts funding.

Ausdance responded to the Review, as did many other arts organisations and individuals.

We then joined with ArtsPeak colleagues to make a joint statement where there was common agreement across art forms.

We now await the Government's response to this consultation, and the eventual release of the National Cultural Policy.

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Graeme Murphy honoured

Congratulations to Graeme Murphy, who was yesterday appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Graeme Murphy, AO. Photo: Greg Barrett

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Ballet companies make news on the ABC!

This year West Australian Ballet (WAB) celebrates its 60th birthday and The Australian Ballet (TAB) celebrates its 50th birthday. ABC TV presented a feature on the two companies on its 7.30 Report, 6 June. The segment includes brief interviews with David  McAllister (Artistic Director of TAB since 2001), Barry Moreland (Artistic Director of WAB from 1983 – 97) and dancers Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson, both originally from WA and now principal artists with TAB.

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Northern Territory dance sector review

Arts NT, which provides Ausdance NT’s operational funding, announced to the organisation its intention to “employ an outside consultant to examine the dance sector’s needs and determine the best model for dance support relevant to the NT.” 

This review is expected to take place between July and September 2012 and will be a joint initiative of Arts NT and Ausdance NT, with Arts NT as the lead agency. Read more.

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Australia Council review released

Arts Minister Simon Crean has released the review into the Australia Council which will help inform the National Cultural Policy.

The Minister notes that 'the review makes 18 recommendations for reform of the Council and provides an opportunity to reflect on its success and to consider the major challenges ahead'.

We'll be commenting with our ArtsPeak colleagues, but we'd also like to hear from you. Please leave a comment when you've read the report.

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The Budget and the arts

In an announcement made by Arts Minister Simon Crean, last night's Federal Budget revealed some welcome new money for the arts, and a new income tax-free threshold of $18,000, which will be of great benefit to the many artists who live close to the poverty line.

As co-convenors of ArtsPeak, Tamara Winikoff and I met this morning with the Minister's arts adviser, Helen O'Neil, for a post-Budget briefing. We discussed many issues around the Budget, including the whole-of-government approach to arts funding, philanthropy and delivery which will be outlined when the National Cultural Policy and the Australia Council review are finally released.

Tamara and I have made an Artspeak statement which reiterates some of the issues already flagged in previous submissions to the National Cultural Policy, and welcoming the new funding in the Budget.

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Federal Budget day

It's Federal Budget day, and we're all keen to see how the arts and cultural industries fare in the absence of the long-awaited National Cultural Policy.

We're off to the Arts Minister's office tomorrow morning to discuss the Budget outcomes and to hear about the Government's plans for the release of the National Cultural Policy later this year.

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National Cultural Policy—messages from the field

We've joined our colleages at ArtsPeak and the Council for Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (CHASS) to comment on the delay in releasing the National Cultural Policy.

On a positive note, the delay will enable us to look more closely at the small to medium performing and visual arts sectors and prepare a more detailed submission to Government. We'll keep you posted about progress once next week's Federal Budget has been delivered.

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National Cultural Policy delayed

It's been reported that the release of the long-awaited National Cultural Policy has been delayed by several months.

We've verified this report with the Office for the Arts in Canberra, and have been informed that full details of the NCP's release will be announced in next Tuesday's Federal Budget.

Ausdance, along with our ArtsPeak colleages, has been supporting the Minister's push for a new National Cultural Policy for several years now, and contribtuing to its development. We hope Arts Minister Simon Crean will continue his strong support for increased funding through the policy, and we'll respond more fully once we see what announcements are made in the Budget.

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National Cultural Policy only weeks away

We understand that the National Cultural Policy is now only weeks away, so we've written to Arts Minister Simon Crean again, this time in response to the media release from the Arts & Cultural Ministers' meeting on 30 March.

This was our last opportunity to comment prior to the NCP's release, so we've reproduced the text here, following correspondence with the Office for the Arts after my colleague, Tamara Winikoff, and I visited the department on behalf of ArtsPeak.

ArtsPeak has also written to the Minister, particularly emphasising the importance of the small to medium arts sector in Federal Budget considerations. The letter reads as follows:

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New member of the Dance Board

Good to see Michelle Ryan's recent appointment to the Dance Board of the Australia Council, adding to the practitioner base of the board.

Michelle has more than 20 years' experience as a performer, choreographer, rehearsal director and producer, and was a peer adviser at the board's November 2011 assessment meeting.

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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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A new arts ‘accord’—will it make a difference?

The State and Territory Arts and Cultural Ministers have announced that they'll be working together on some important arts initiatives.

They've used the word 'accord' to describe this agreement, and we think this means they'll be cooperating on implementing the new National Cultural Policy, which is great news. But it's difficult to interpret some of the language in their media release, so we'll be writing to Arts Minister Simon Crean to investigate. We'll also suggest ways to broaden this commitment from a dance perspective.

If you want to read the Arts Ministers' report (PDF) and send us your ideas, please let us know in the next few days. You could also write to your own State or Territory Arts Minister and suggest ways to support dance in the National Cultural Policy, particularly in the small to medium performing arts sector.

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Arts service organisations—telling the story

Today I went with my ArtsPeak colleague, Tamara Winikoff, to visit the Office for the Arts in Canberra, where we continued the conversation about our work.

It was useful to share the ArtsPeak map that outlines the broad reach of arts service organisations, especially as we’d like to see it acknowleged as part of the bigger arts support picture in the National Cultural Policy .

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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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NAISDA’s new studios

The opening of the new NAISDA studios in Gosford, NSW last week was an occasion to be celebrated by the whole dance community after more than 35 years in temporary accommodation. The studios were opened by the Federal Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Simon Crean MP, at a ceremony that also honoured the founder of NAISDA, Carole Johnson.

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Ausdance network meetings in Canberra

We're meeting in Canberra this week with the Ausdance National Council and network directors.

We're discussing some of the big Ausdance projects such as the Australian Dance Awards, the Australian Youth Dance Festival and Australian Dance week, as well as next year's partnership with the Australia Council, when we'll produce another National Dance Forum. Dance Board Director, Carin Mistry, will be a guest speaker tomorrow.

We're also talking about advocating for dance, dance education and research, Indigenous dance and some of the critical issues around supporting independent dance.

It's a fantastic opportunity to share ideas, achievements and the critical issues that inspire all of us to keep working with and for Australia's dance artists, companies and communities.

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Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts 2011

The Harold Mitchell Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts has just been released by the Minister for the Arts as part of the wider consultation about the new National Cultural Policy.

The Mitchell review recommends several ideas that might help attract new donors to the arts, noting that “The limited funds available to many arts organisations creates a situation where they cannot afford dedicated staff to drive a strategic approach to fund-raising”.

Mitchell also recommends the merging of the Australian Business Arts Foundation with Artsupport Australia “under the auspices of a new body with responsibility for all private sector support for the arts in Australia”.

Today is also your last opportunity to respond to the Australia Council review, another important part of the Cultural Policy consultation process.

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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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ArtsPeak again lobbies the ABC

ArtsPeak representatives met again with the ABC to lobby for more cultural content in ABC news and current affairs programs. General Manager Mark Scott had previously met with the group, and this time ArtsPeak met with Don Lang, the Head of News Programming, and Alan Sunderland, the Head of News Policy,

A process was agreed on to review arts content for news and current affairs programs, and on a process for arts representatives to contact appropriate reporters. The following strategies were suggested to ArtsPeak:

  • Arts representatives should consider what the issues are and whether they are newsworthy.
  • We should develop a central arts representatives contact register.
  • We should focus on stories that utilise ABC research and archives.

We'll be working with our ArtsPeak colleagues to maximise this positive response from the ABC, and making sure dance is part of the story telling!

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Reviewing the new Australian arts curriculum

Arts curriculum writing for Foundation to Year 10 is well underway.

The draft rationale, aims and broad scope and sequence have already been reviewed by a state and territory national panel, and we joined other professional associations last week to review the drafts. We'd been invited to ask four teachers from across Australia to provide feedback, and Dr Katrina Rank, education and training manager for Ausdance Victoria, collated their feedback and led the discussion for dance.

We also represented the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) in the teleconference, which was chaired by the general manager (curriculum) of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Robert Randall.

We'll be calling for further dance commentary in the coming weeks as the drafts are developed by the writers, and ACARA will make the curriculum available for public comment in May. In the meantime, you can sign up for regular ACARA updates.

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Li Cunxin new director of the Queensland Ballet

Li Cunxin has been announced as the new Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet. He will take up his appointment in July this year, six months before the departure of the current Director, François Klaus. His appointment follows an international search by the Queensland Ballet.

Li's autiobiography and the film Mao's Last Dancer have built his international reputation, not only as a fine dancer but as an inspirational leader. We congratulate Li on another great achievement!

Read about his ideas for the company in this interview with the Brisbane Courier Mail.

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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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MyDance Alliance visitor from Malaysia

When the President of MyDance Alliance, Bilqis Hiijas, visited Canberra from Malaysia this week, we took the opportunity to introduce her to several of Australia's leading cultural institutions. We also heard about the artists' residency program she helps to run at her family's compound, Rimbun Dahan in Kuala Lumpur.

Bilqis is the new editor of Asia Pacific Channels, the newsletter we produce on behalf of the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific. It's exciting to be sharing the task with her, and her visit to Canberra gave us a chance to meet her in person for the first time.

Bilqis was very interested in our partnerships with the National Library of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive, so we organised tours of both institutions to meet the curators and get an idea of the great range of dance materials held by both institutions. She's hoping to form similar relationships with archives in Malaysia.

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Dance people receive Australia Day Honours

Former balleriona Josephine Spaull, respected ballet teacher, Tanya Pearson, and Judith Anderson, formerly General Manager of The Queensland Ballet, have today been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Josephine was recognised for “for service to the performing arts, particularly dance, as a teacher and administrator". Tanya's citation was "for service to the performing arts, particularly ballet, as a teacher and mentor to young dancers". Judith's citation was "for service to the Queensland Ballet and to women". We congratulate Josephine, Tanya and Judith for their outstanding achievements.

The website It's an Honour has all the information you'll need to nominate more dance people for Australia's highest Honours!

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Celebrating our Australian of the Year

There have been celebrations around the country today for our new Australian of the Year, actor Geoffrey Rush.

We congratulate him on his acceptance speech that placed the arts at the centre of Australian life and culture. He acknowledged the role of the First Australians, and said he was sure "that my colleagues will see this as an endorsement of our national story of creativity".

Senior Australian of the Year is Laurie Baymarrwangga, an extraordinary elder from the island of Murrungga in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

The Australian of the Year Awards were announced last night by the Prime Minister.

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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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Visit by American Dance Abroad director

Andrea Snyder is co-director of American Dance Abroad, a new initiative in the US that promotes the export of American dance. Andrea was formerly CEO of Dance USA, and is a valued colleague of Ausdance.

Andrea will be visiting Australia for the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in February, so we’re putting her in touch with the Australia Council and dance producers in Sydney and Melbourne before she goes on to APAM. She'll see a lot of Australian dance while she's here and importantly will be establishing Australian networks for possible future exchanges.

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Dance training in Australia

One of the great advantages of working with Ausdance National is the opportunity to see performances and appreciate some of the excellent dance training we have in this country.

In Perth recently for the Ausdance directors’ meeting, I was lucky enough to catch Summerdance, the end-of-year performance by WAAPA students who premiered Balanchine’s great classic, Serenade, staged by Balanchine Trust repetiteur Eve Lawson. The work was beautifully performed, as WA’s 7.30 program reported, and the students also gave outstanding performances of works by Gabrielle Nankivell, Xiao-Xiong Zhang and Natalie Weir.

This week we’ve seen On Course in Canberra, QL2’s program of student work from a range of tertiary dance courses in Australia. Apart from exceptionally strong technique, the students’ maturity in communicating their ideas made for an entertaining and thought-provoking program.

I’d also been lucky enough to see the Paris Conservatoire student season in November in a program that included Noces by Angelin Preljocalj, and works by Hofesh Shechter and Thomas Lebrun. These students were also outstanding, but it's no surprise that it confirms Australian dance training as being up there with the world’s best!

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Canadian cultural policy researcher visits

This week we hosted Shannon Litzenberger in Canberra as part of her research into Australian cultural policy. Shannon is a Canadian dance artist, writer, director and advocate who we first met at the 2009 Dance Congress in Hamburg.

Shannon is particularly interested in the political process of developing a national cultural policy; the ways in which new funding models might be developed; the cultural diplomacy strategies of the government; the National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper and the various (and many) responses received by the government as part of its consultation.

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Tanja Liedtke digital archive

In news that will particularly interest Australian dance researchers, educators and students, the Tanja Liedtke Foundation has announced that it has created the Tanja Liedtke digital archive, now freely accessible to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Tanja’s life and work.

The Foundation has also announced that one of Tanja's works, construct, has been voted by The Monthly magazine as one of 20 Australian masterpieces, across all art forms, since the year 2000. The work was declared the masterpiece in the category of contemporary dance, a great achievement!

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Dance support organisations meet in Paris

Last week 25 dance support organisations met in Paris for three days of talks, presentations and performances. As we are members of the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific, we had also organised for WDA people to provide this mainly European group with more information about its activities.

These annual meetings are an opportunity to share dance support strategies, ideas and visions for the future. We were invited on the first day to share this year’s achievements, a challenge for many European organisations that face severe funding cuts. Despite funding difficulties all round, presentations were inspirational and visionary for dance, and we came away with many ideas for collaborations and future planning with now-familiar colleagues such as Madeline Ritter and Ingo Diehl (Germany), Caroline Miller (Dance UK) and our French colleagues Agnès Wasserman and Frédéric Moreau.

Delegates at Paris meeting of dance support organisations. Ingo Diehl (centre) is the Tanzplan Deutschland Educational Program Director.

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Ausdance directors meet in Perth

Ausdance network directors usually meet twice a year to share ideas, update one another on projects and work toghether on plans for the future.

Last week it was Ausdance WA's turn to host the directors' meeting, and it was great to be back in the purpose built dance spaces at the King St Arts Centre where the meetings were held. While not all directors could be present this time, we heard about many excitinfg national projects, including plans for dance in the new Australian Curriculum, the 2012 Australian Youth Dance Festival to be held in Sydney next Easter, the launch of the Live Performance Training Package, the World Dance Alliance festival to be held in Taiwan next July, and, of course, the 2012 Australian Dance Awards to be held at the Heath Ledger Theatre in Perth on 1 September.

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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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Time for a funding review of smaller dance companies

Recent funding decisions across all sectors of the small to medium performing arts sector have highlighted the widening gap between what was considered to be 'adequate' funding for these companies five years ago, and the reality of their existence today. While we highlighted the issues in our contribution to the National Cultural Policy discussion paper, we also plan see the Arts Minister, Simon Crean, to again draw his attention to the parlous state of funding for smaller key organisations, especially in dance.

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Our new website is here

Hello. Thanks for joining us. Finally we're alive. Bet you were wondering what we've been doing!

Well, last year we talked to our dance partners and contributors about what information they wanted, needed and expected from our website. We also looked at the amazing work they had written and we'd published over the last 10+ years. A lot of it was very interesting and answered many questions, but it was trapped on paper collecting dust on the shelf. We also realised that we spent a lot of time making things happen with not much time left to tell you about it along the way.

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Our contribution to the National Cultural Policy discussion paper

We joined the many artists, companies and community organisations and made a submission to the National Cultural Policy discussion paper.

Because we think it’s important for the dance voice to be heard as part of the wider arts industry, we also coordinated the submissions from ArtsPeak and the National Advocates for Arts Education.

You can keep in touch with the development of the National Cultural Policy by joining the Arts Minister’s e-news.

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Writing the Australian Curriculum in the arts gets underway

Last week we joined other advisers and writers of the new Australian Curriculum in the Arts for a three-day induction meeting with ACARA (the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority). We worked intensively together to understand cross-curriculum, Indigenous and disability priorities, and in our own art forms to look at various aspects of the new curriculum.

Art form writers now have a tight timeline to complete first drafts, and advisers will have opportunities to review them in November and December. It’s anticipated that work will then continue into January and February before broader consultation begins.

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Making an Australian arts curriculum work

When the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) met in Sydney last month, we identified some of the things that all governments—Federal, State and Territory—will have to provide if they're to resource the Australian Curriculum in the Arts.

With the arts curriculum to begin trialling next year, we've lobbying for:

  • Upgraded teacher training and professional development in each art form, especially for primary school teachers.
  • Curriculum materials such as science's Primary Connections.
  • Space within schools for safe learning environments.
  • Clarification of the role of specialist teachers, artists in schools and arts companies.

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Diversifying dancers’ careers

We want dance artists to be able to diversify their careers, get more training if they need it and earn a realistic income.

Because we want to work with governments to reinvent a program that worked so well, we’ve commissioned Shane Carroll to review the SCOPE (Securing Career Opportunities and Professional Employment) program and provide us with the evidence we need to make the arguments. Shane has been one of the program’s leading advocates and drivers.

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Postcard from the future

The Prime Minister, in her role as chair of the standing committee on the arts, today announced a significant program of research and development for dance that she said would provide Australia with a major advantage over France, its nearest rival in recognising dance as its most important cultural export. The ABC interrupted its sports broadcast to bring this contemporary dance update direct from the Prime Minister's office.

This was how we interpreted a request from ABC Radio National for a 'postcard from the future' during an interview about the arts and cultural policy in Australia. The program will go to air early next year, and the intention is to "reflect ... the broad policy shift from a vision about Australia developing and presenting a unique Australian cultural identity, to that of a sustainable arts and cultural industry or sector".

We'll let you know when the program is due to go to air.

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WDA Asia Pacific meeting in Kuala Lumpur

This week I've been representing Ausdance at the Asia Pacific International Dance Conference and yesterday's World Dance Alliance AGM in Kuala Lumpur, where a new Executive Board was elected and the role of the networks reviewed.

The networks are a particularly valuable way for Australian dance people to get involved with WDA, so if you're interested in knowing more about them (see below), please contact us at Ausdance National. All Ausdance members are automatically members of WDA Asia Pacific and it's a great opportunity to extend your own networks and participate in new culturally diverse opportunities at the annual WDA conferences and festivals.

Australian & New Zealanders at the World Dance Alliance conference. L to R: Jeff Meiners, Ralph Buck, Tina Hong

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New Australian dance book launched

Shaping the Landscape: Celebrating Dance in Australia was launched by high profile Malaysian architect Hijjas Kasturi yesterday at the World Dance Alliance conference in Kuala Lumpur, in the presence of the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Miles Kupa, and other dignatories. Read his speech.

This is a new Routledge publication which I've co-edited with Stephanie Burridge, so it was exciting to see it launched along with the Malaysian edition, Sharing Identities. These volumes are the third and fourth in the Celebrating dance in Asia and the Pacific series.

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Ausdance supports submission into ABC arts programming

We've just signed a submission to the Senate Inquiry into recent ABC programming decisions, a move led by our ArtsPeak colleague NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts).

We've been concerned by announcements lately that the ABC plans to axe some arts programs, but we're also keen to see regular arts news integrated across the news rather than as a token 'what's on' item at the end. ArtsPeak also made the point that the ABC's other arts programming should not be left under-resourced or dumbed down for the sake of ratings.

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SCOPE wound up

As SCOPE board members formally wound up the program in Sydney on Friday, we reflected that there was much to be proud of. We developed a model for dancers' career development and management and, with Australia Council support, we've been able to assist 99 artists to realise their dreams through professional career advice and small retraining scholarships.

We are continuing with online advice and support, and we're also planning an evaluation of the program to help us find new funding partners to bring back the scholarships and professional career guidance.

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New User Guide for the Live Performance Training Package

The Training Package will be launched in November, and the User Guide with the section on dance organisations and national qualifications is now available online. It will form the basis of the Innovation & Business Skills Australia (IBSA) free information sessions around Australia and online starting in November.

The information sessions will be advised by IBSA, but we'll keep everyone informed about the schedule.

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Launch of the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: the Arts

The final version of the The Shape of the Australian Curriculum—The Arts was launched by School Education Minister Peter Garrett and Arts Minister Simon Crean in Sydney on 2 September, after more than two years of consultation by ACARA. It's so exciting to see dance there with the other art forms as part of the new Australian Curriculum!

Curriculum writers and an advisory panel have been appointed, and will meet with ACARA for an induction week on 18 October. We will be talking with teachers in schools as the writing progresses, but ACARA has said they will not be announcing publicly the names of the curriculum writers for privacy reasons.

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2012 World Dance Alliance Global Assembly

WDA and daCi met for two days in August to plan for next year’s big event, and it was an impressive team that got together for the first time. Yunyu Wang is head of dance at the Taipei National University of the Arts, and she has assembled team of her colleagues, students and graduates to work on a festival that will welcome up to 1,000 young people, teachers, students and academics.

This partnership will be a first for daCi, an organisation that has never before met in an Asian country. Their team was equally impressive, and the two days were managed with skill and lots of patience by the planning committee of Yunyu, Ralph Buck, Jeff Meiners and Ann Kipling-Brown. We heard about the planned opening and closing events, and helped to plan an amazing program of masterclasses, workshops, keynote addresses and performances. There are also and plans for cultural tours of Taiwan before and after the festival, all of which will be available to groups wishing to come early or stay on afterwards.

Registrations, details of accommodation and the full program will be announced shortly. Keep an eye out on the WDA-daCi website.

WDA/daCi meeting, Taiwan 2011. Top left: Anna Chan, Yeh Chingwen, Ann Tai, Ping Heng. Top right: Ralph Buck, Ann Kipling-Brown, Jeff Meiners, Yunyu Wang. Bottom left: Jeff Meiners, Charlotte Svendler Nielsen. Bottom right: Pan Li-chun, Yeh Chingwen, Lee Hung Fu, Jeff Hsieh

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World Dance Alliance Global Executive meeting

What used to be referred to as "the WDA Presidents’ meeting" has now become the WDA Global Executive, a name change decided at the meeting headed by WDA Secretary-General Cheryl Stock. Others at the meeting included Jin-Wen Yu, President of WDA Americas, Yunyu Wang, President-elect of WDA Asia Pacific, Urmimala Sarkar, WDA Asia Pacific Vice-President elect, and Ralph Buck, Vice President of the Pacific region (and convenor of the 2012 Global Assembly in Taipei). I was also present as Secretary of the Asia-Pacific region, with apologies from current WDA AP President Anis Mohd Nor and WDA Europe President Joseph Fontano.

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Following up the National Cultural Policy ministerial meeting

ABC Radio National is preparing a series of programs about the arts and cultural policy from 1968 to the present day in a series will go to air within Artworks, their Sunday morning arts program.

On Friday the ABC called us to discuss what's in the National Cultural Policy and how it might impact on the dance sector. They also asked about major historical moments in contemporary dance in the last 25 years, so it was good to be able to pinpoint several positive moments, and to say why we thought it was important to have a national cultural policy.

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World Dance Alliance meetings in Taipei

The World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific will be meeting in Taiwan this week to plan two major events. We'll be there, leading plans for the first meeting of international dance support organisations in November, and helping to plan the second – the WDA Global Summit in Taipei in July 2012 in partnership with dance and the Child international (daCi).

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National Cultural Policy meeting outcomes

The meeting was facilitated by Ausdance National President, Professor Susan Street, and included organisations from a diverse range of the arts, education and creative industries. Sue worked with co-convenors of ArtsPeak, Julie Dyson (Ausdance) and Tamara Winikoff (National Association for the Visual Arts) to create a framework of four major principles from the National Cultural Policy that could be agreed to by all arts sectors and would be inclusive of their views. These were: 'Mainstreaming' the arts; the impact of technology; artists' career pathways, and Australia's position in the world, including the promotion of our cultural diversity. This framework gave voice to various views which were shared with the Minister.

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National Cultural Policy meeting with Arts Minister

With the recent release of the National Cultural Policy discussion paper, there has been a flurry of interest in understanding its content and the ways in which it might impact on artists and on Australian society generally. Ausdance National has organised a meeting between Arts Minister Simon Crean and the CEOs of 30 arts service organisations on August 17, an event that will see an extremely diverse group coming together in Canberra for a Ministerial briefing. They include members of ArtsPeak and the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), and their portfolios range across copyright law, Indigenous arts, arts and disability, literature, publishing, visual and performing arts and arts education.

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