Industry news

Shaun Parker & Company seeks executive producer

Shaun Parker & Company is one of Australia’s most far-reaching dance companies, having toured extensively internationally to 18 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. Based in Sydney, the Company has delivered a range of award-winning dance theatre productions, outdoor festival works and transformative dance education programs. Shaun Parker & Company has secured funding until the end of 2020, having been awarded multi-year funding from Arts NSW and four-year funding from the Australia Council. Shaun Parker & Company is renowned for its powerful, humanist, dance theatre productions, which have touched audiences across the globe, transcending borders and demographics.

Position overview

The Executive Producer drives the strategic management of the company and oversees delivery of its artistic programs. Reporting directly to the Board of Directors and working closely with the Artistic Director, the Executive Producer supports the Company’s artistic vision with strong management and producing skills to generate and implement the company’s repertoire of world-class work at a national and international level.

For position description, visit Shaun Parker Company.

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2016 Australian Dance Awards recipients

The annual Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian dance.

Presented by Ausdance and Harlequin Floors, the 2016 Australian Dance Awards were held at The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, Sunday 18 September at 6.30 pm as part of the MoveMe Festival 2016. 

Ausdance thanks presenting partner Harlequin Floors; Gaynor-Minden, Equity, AON Risk Services; and other partners. Ausdance is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.  

The Australian Dance Awards are produced by the Australian Dance Council—Ausdance.

Outstanding Performance by a Company

Bangarra Dance Theatre's Lore for an uplifting, intense and beautiful double bill, incorporating myriad choreographic styles performed by an ensemble of versatile and superb dancers. 

Outstanding performance by a company: Bangarra Dance Theatre for Lore

Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer

David Mack in Sydney Dance Company's Frame of Mind for a mesmerising and sensational performance, demonstrating exceptional technique and clarity of line, along with extraordinary focus, strength and fluidity.

David Mack performing in Frame of Mind

Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer

Elma Kris in Bangarra Dance Theatre's Lore for her charismatic and stand-out performance in a pivotal role that showed great wisdom, skill and ability to connect with an audience through her commanding and magnificent storytelling.

Elma Kris performing in Lore

Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance

​​​​Sue Healey for On View: Live Portraits—a sophisticated, perceptive and ingenious work that was entertaining, beautiful and powerful, with stunning, innovative choreography and photography throughout.

Performers in On View: Live Portraits

Services to Dance

Roy David Page (composer, performer, Nunukul Munaldjali man) for his many talents across multiple genres and art forms, and particularly for his prolific production of memorable and exceptional compositions for Bangarra Dance Theatre.

Services to dance

Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance, Musicals or Physical Theatre

Circa Contemporary Circus for Il Ritorno—a compelling and dramatic story presented via circus, acrobatics, opera and physical theatre with astounding vision, technique, design and music.

Circa performing Il Ritorno 

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance 

Force Majeure & Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT) for Jump First, Ask Later—a brilliant and life-altering collaboration creating an urban choreographic portrait of the culturally diverse streets of Western Sydney as experienced by the young performers.

Powerhouse Youth Theatre & Force Majeure performing Jump First, Ask Later

Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media

Meryl Tankard for Michelle’s Story—an intimate and uplifting film about Meryl Tankard’s long-time friend and colleague Michelle Ryan—a testament to a dancer’s transformative ability to gather strength through her art. 

Performers in Michelle's Story dancing in front of white salt dunes

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

Lucy Guerin for Motion Picture (Lucy Guerin Inc.)—an innovative, sophisticated and surprising work inspired by the film noir aesthetic and meticulously crafted by a visionary choreographer.

Performer in Motion Picture

Services to Dance Education  

Dr Joan Pope OAM (teacher, Dalcroze Eurhythmics educator & researcher, community activist)—for more than 50 years of inspired and passionate leadership, for her commitment to education through dance and music and for a lasting impact on generations of young artists and communities.

Joan Pope teaching a movement class to primary school students

Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance

Dancenorth for Twilight—Cheryl Stock’s spectacular, multi-site, intergenerational and culturally diverse dance and music journey from dusk to dark in a meaningful and memorable anniversary celebration of Dancenorth and Townsville. 

Performers in Twilight dance beside the ocean

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Nominate a dance artist for a 2017 Australia Council Award

Australia Council for the Arts Awards 2017

Nominations are now open for the 2017 Australia Council Awards and the National Indigenous Arts Awards. These awards recognise outstanding achievements of individuals in the arts and their meaningful contributions to our cultural landscape.

The Australia Council Awards combine outstanding and sustained contribution to music, literature, community arts and cultural development, visual arts, theatre, dance and emerging and experimental arts. The awards will be presented in 2017 in a ceremony on the 2 March.

The Australia Council Award for Dance recognises outstanding and sustained contributions of individuals working in the dance sector. Last year’s recipient was Lucy Guerin, founder of Lucy Guerin Inc. and multi-award winning choreographer. Garry Stewart received the first Australia Council Award for Dance in 2015.

You may know of a dancer, choreographer or an artist from the dance sector that should be nominated.

Nominations close on Tuesday 4 October.

To nominate, visit 2017 Australia Council Awards nominations.

#greatausartists

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NAAE archives donated to the National Library of Australia

In an important development for arts education research in Australia, the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has negotiated with the National Library of Australia (NLA) to accept its archival material. After almost a year of cataloguing and sorting, the NAAE archive is now safely rehoused at the NLA from its original home in the Ausdance National library.

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Terri Charlesworth receives 2016 Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement

Terri Charlesworth’s initiative, dedication, generosity and passion have greatly influenced generations of Western Australian dancers. As well as being a dazzling performer, Terri has had outstanding success as a teacher and leader in dance education and training. 

Born in Perth, she began her early ballet training in Melbourne with acclaimed dancers such as Kira and Serge Bousloff and Xenia Borovansky. She joined West Australian Ballet for its inaugural 1953 season and was later appointed Assistant Artistic Director.

Terri Charlesworth teaching balletPhoto: Darren Clark

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2016 Election wrap—what’s next?

Remember 2 July? What a day for the arts in Australian democracy. Over the previous 12 months, the Arts sector had engaged with the Senate through the inquiry into the ‘Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts’. The strong recommendations from that process set a tone for the election campaign. Arts became an issue for parties; the ALP, Greens, and Xenophon Team released policy positions and the Arts Party claim that between 40-50,000 Australians gave them their first preferences. An election debate, focused solely on the arts, allowed the sector to explore key issues with the major parties. 

Here we are, now four weeks later, and we’re still waiting for the full results of the Federal Election. We know the Liberal-National Coalition will form government, and who the Arts Minister (Senator Mitch Fifield from Victoria) and Shadow (former Minister Tony Burke from NSW) are, but we still wait for the full results of the Senate count. 

So, what happens now?

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Have you done the Safe Dance IV survey?

Ausdance National has a long history of researching dancer health and well-being, and Safe Dance IV is the latest in a series that looks at how professional dancers manage injuries and sustain their careers. Safe Dance IV is a little different to I, II and III, as it is being conducted online by PhD student Amy-Jo Vassalo under the auspices of the University of Sydney. 

What do we hope to learn from Safe Dance IV? For starters, the survey will update the authoritative findings from the previous surveys that helped to improve the management of injuries. One of those findings was the importance of the warm-up, especially a warm-up with a cardiovascular component for rehearsals. 

And the definition of a professional dancer is probably wider than for the previous surveys as the range and style of professional practice has expanded, so the potentially wider data pool may bring in new information. 

In the past few months, information about the survey has been widely circulated through our e-news and on Facebook. Ausdance staff have sent hundreds of emails to dance companies and individual dancers requesting them to share and take the survey. Hard copies have been printed and sent to The Australian Ballet, the West Australian Ballet, and the Queensland Ballet. Don’t be shy about sharing it further! 

But we still need more responses to create the size of data pool Safe Dance IV deserves, to allow for the authoritative findings that can help to sustain careers. If you are a professional dancer—and the very first question is a filter question to help answer this—please do the survey. It will take a little time but it is completely worth doing to help sustain your career. 

Read more about Safe Dance IV.

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daCi and WDA announce World Dance Congress for 2018

How can dance help in transforming society? This and many more questions will be a focus in 2018 at one of the world’s largest gatherings of dance educators and young artists in Adelaide, Australia. 

During the week of 11–15 July 2016, delegates from daCi (dance and the Child international) and WDA (World Dance Alliance Education and Training Network) met in Adelaide, Australia to collaborate in planning for a joint congress to be held from 8–13 July 2018. How to connect with UNESCO and initiate global advocacy informed our planning. 

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The 2016 Australian Dance Awards – Perth!

Presented by Harlequin Floors and Ausdance as part of the MoveMe Festival 2016. 

Australian Dance Awards 2016 Ochre Contemporary Dance Company performing outdoors

Perth is ready to host the 2016 Australian Dance Awards straight after the MoveMe Dance Festival—put Sunday 18 September at The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia in your diary! Tickets on sale at Ticketek

This night-of-nights for professional dance sees twelve Awards including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, Outstanding Performance by a Company, and Outstanding Performances by Female and Male dancers. 

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Big Dance Australia 2016 update

Big Dance is a biennial festival of people dancing led by the Mayor of London in partnership with People Dancing and the Big Dance Hubs, a network of leading dance organisations across the UK.

Big Dance Week ran from 2 to 10 July 2016 and Ausdance Queensland and Tracks Dance in Darwin hosted Big Dance events.

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Australian Dance Awards 2016 shortlist

Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees. 

Presented by Ausdance and Harlequin Floors, the 2016 Australian Dance Awards will be held at The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, Sunday 18 September at 6.30 pm as part of the MoveMe Festival 2016.

Get your tickets from Ticketek.

2016 Shortlist Australian Dance AwardsOchre Contemporary Dance Company performing at the 2014 Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe beach, WA. Photo: Dana Weeks Photography.

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Call for applications—Sydney Dance Company pre-professional year 2017

We are pleased to announce that applications are now open for Sydney Dance Company's 2017 Pre-Professional Year. Australian and New Zealand dancers aged 18 or over are eligible to apply.

Led by course Director Linda Gamblin, this nationally accredited one year intensive offers students the chance to work with some of Australia’s most renowned choreographers and dance educators. Students will develop their technique, artistry and performance skills alongside members of Sydney Dance Company led by Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela.

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National Advocates for Arts Education supports implementation of the Arts curriculum

National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) met in Canberra on 19 & 20 June to discuss a range of outstanding issues affecting implementation of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. Several projects were identified that would assist classroom teachers, students, governments and other decision makers in the implementation process. NAAE plans to develop these projects in the coming months, and seek partnerships and funding to bring them to fruition. 

I stand with the arts.Members of the National Advocates for Arts Education at the National Library Australia, 19 June 2016. Taking time out to #‎IStandWithTheArts‬ ‪#‎ArtsChangesLives‬ while talking Arts Education advocacy! L–R: John Saunders (Drama Australia), Roger Dunscombe (Australian Teachers of Media), Sandra Gattenhof (Drama Australia), Bradley Merrick (Australian Society for Music Education), and Julie Dyson (NAAE chair).

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Sir Matthew Bourne auditions male dancers for Melbourne production

Arts Centre Melbourne, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and Re:Bourne, the charitable arm of New Adventures are working towards a major creative project that will culminate in a one week season at Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre in Autumn 2017.

This project offers an opportunity for Melbourne-based dancers to work for one month with choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne’s leading international dance company. 

Sir Matthew Bourne and other members of the New Adventures team will be in Melbourne in August 2016 to audition six male dancers to join the company for this one-off project at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Key information

  • Audition date: Saturday 6 August 2016 (applications required)
  • Recalls: Sunday 7 August 2016
  • Where: Auditions and recalls will be held in a centrally located venue in Melbourne
  • Rehearsals & season: Sunday, 14 August 2016 (workshop) & Monday 13 March – Sunday 9 April 2017
  • For Melbourne-based male dancers with at least three years of professional level training in classical or contemporary dance with a stage appearance age between 14–22.
  • Audition notice and application information on the Arts Centre Melbourne website.
  • Applications close COB Tuesday 12 July 2016.

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Arts Centre Melbourne seeks two community dance artists for one-off project

Arts Centre Melbourne, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and Re:Bourne, the charitable arm of New Adventures are working towards a major creative project that will culminate in a one week season at Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre in Autumn 2017.

This project offers an opportunity for Melbourne-based dance artists and physical performers to work with a leading international dance company.

Sir Matthew Bourne and other members of the New Adventures team will be in Melbourne in August 2016 to find two community dance artists to join the company for this one-off project at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Key information

  • For artists with experience in classical or contemporary dance, physical performance, mentoring of young people and dance workshop delivery.
  • Interview & workshop date: Monday 8 August 2016
  • Training: Friday 12 – Monday 15 August 2016
  • Outreach workshops: Monday 3 October – Sunday 11 December 2016 (P/T) &  Saturday 18 February and Sunday 19 February 2017
  • Rehearsals & season: Monday 13 March – Sunday 9 April 2017 (P/T and F/T)
  • Further details and position description on the Arts Centre Melbourne website.
  • Applications close COB Tuesday 12 July 2016.

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Asia-Pacific Channels June 2016 issue out now

Asia–Pacific Channels is the bi-annual newsletter of the World Dance Alliance (WDA), published by Ausdance National in collaboration with MyDance Alliance in Malaysia. It profiles dance events and activities from WDA members throughout the Asia–Pacific region.

Download the June 2016 issue (2 MB)

Asia–Pacific ChannelsImages from the June 2016 issue.

We produce and publish Channels as a contribution to the World Dance Alliance and dance in our region. It also helps us build the international networks that provide professional development opportunities for Australian dance artists.

Our work producing this publication helps us contribute to the World Dance Alliance's goals, which are:

  • To promote the recognition, development and mutual understanding of all forms of dance.
  • To facilitate communication and exchange among dance individuals, institutions and organisations interested in dance.
  • To provide a forum for discussion of matters relating to dance.
  • To encourage and support the research, education, criticism, creation and performance of dance.
  • To liaise, co-ordinate and participate in activities with other dance organisations in the world.

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Write for Brolga—an Australian journal about dance

Submissions are open for Brolga #41 under the broad theme 'A place for dance'.

Key information

Brolga covers

The art and community ecology in which dance exists is delicate and complex. As with the fight for survival by animals in compromised environments perhaps it is the ‘charismatic’ or ‘innovative’ artists who survive. If so, where is the place for the dancers and dance makers who exist outside the realm of publically notable; who eschew spectacle or even notoriety? And how is it possible for a dancer to find their dance place in the rich history of skill and experimentation?

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WA hosts the 2016 Australian Dance Awards

Australian Dance Awards 2016 key information

  • 6.30 pm Sunday 18 September 2016
  • Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth
  • Tickets: ticketek
Ochre Contemporary Dance CompanyThe 2016 Australian Dance Awards image is from WA-based Ochre Contemporary Dance Company. Photo: Dana Weeks

The dance community in Western Australia is gearing up to host the 2016 Australian Dance Awards at the Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, on Sunday 18 September. Ausdance WA is working with Claudia Alesssi, creative producer of this year’s event, to curate a truly memorable evening, showcasing Western Australian dance companies, and more.

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Update: 2016 Australian Dance Awards nominations process

With about three months until this year’s Australian Dance Awards (ADAs) in Perth, the selection panel has finished looking at all the viewing links for the long list of nominations and have submitted first-round votes. The next step is for the panel is to look at the top four or five contenders in each category and then submit another round of votes. Sometimes a teleconference is convened so that everyone can contribute to the discussion about any issues, tied or close scores etc.

We hope to have the 2016 shortlist confirmed by early July. The nominations coordinator will then contact all shortlisted nominees. 

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Support Ausdance—the organisation that supports dance

The Australian Dance Council—Ausdance, has for nearly 40 years been at the forefront of inspiring, supporting and informing the dance community in Australia. Working with and for artists, we want to see dance take its place as a premier and integral activity in Australia.

Now we need your support to continue this work. We face a future without ongoing operational funding via the Australia Council for the Arts, putting at risk all that we do. 

As a service organisation, the ability to secure philanthropic and ticket revenue is limited. With a focus on developing and supporting an under-resourced sector, maintaining a stable base of funding is needed to leverage relationships to enhance the standing of dance in the community. 

A vital part of the Australian dance community since 1977, Ausdance has been at the forefront in promoting dance; through the establishment and delivery of the Australian Dance Awards and Australian Dance Week; understanding dance, through research, partnerships and publications such as Brolga–an Australian journal about dance and the World Dance Alliance Global Summit papers available on http://www.ausdance.org.au; and developing the place of dance in the national dialogue through advocacy engagement with Federal and state governments.

Activities such as the Safe Dance reports and development, resulting in better health outcomes for professional and developing dancers, have delivered real data and results for the industry and are only able to progress through stable funding for Ausdance.

Donate now

Paypal

Direct Deposit to the AUSDANCE FUND

Westpac BSB: 032-719 
Account number: 565527

Once you've made a donation, be sure to email [email protected] to make sure you receive your tax receipt. 

Donations of $2.00 or more are tax-deductible 
http://arts.gov.au/roco

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Ausdance honorary life members respond to Ausdance National’s loss of operational funding

The founders and honorary life members of Ausdance—the Australian Dance Council—are extremely disappointed that an organisation with such a high national and international reputation for innovation and creativity has not been supported with four-year organisation funding by the Australia Council.

Funding cuts to the organisation’s innovative partnerships, public forums, its advocacy campaigns to support the small to medium dance sector (including years of work with the Australia Council to increase the Council’s own profile and funding—petitions to both Houses of Parliament in 2006, Dance Plan 2012 etc.); its seminal publications, dance education programs, and its international leadership in Safe Dance research leaves us believing that the Australia Council no longer sees value in the leadership shown by Ausdance National over the last four decades. We do not believe the Australia Council’s offer of ‘transitional’ or project funding would be adequate to fully support an efficient and effective arts service organisation.

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Dancenorth experiment fills in the blanks

Media release

Next week Dancenorth opens their tour of the double bill ‘If _ Was _’

Tour performance dates and locations

  • 9–11 June, Dancenorth, Townsville
  • 15 June, Mackay Entertainment Centre
  • 16 June Proserpine Entertainment Centre 
  • 23–25 June, Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane
  • 29 June – 2 July, the Substation, Melbourne

Delve into the fanciful and illusionary worlds of two extraordinary choreographers, Stephanie Lake and Ross McCormack, as they fall down the rabbit hole of imagination and fill in the blanks for Dancenorth’s most recent double bill.

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2016 International Arts Education Week message by Li Cunxin

The World Alliance for Arts Education and UNESCO share an inspiring message for International Arts Education Week (23–29 May) by Li Cunxin (Mao's Last Dancer), Artistic Director, Queensland Ballet:

In a world of constant pressures, of noise, of expectations and distractions, art can be the thing that sustains us. Art has the capacity to take us to another world; allows an escape even if just for a moment. Be it in a gallery, a theatre, a music studio or on the street, art is a powerful thing. It has the power to transform, to transport, to enrich and therefore, sustain.

My world of ballet is one such artform. In my experience ballet, and the personal nature of creative expression, is a power like no other. I truly believe ballet can sustain communities by enriching lives through prioritising physical and mental wellbeing, connecting diverse communities with each other and bridging socio-cultural divides.

True art should not exclude, it should invite all to explore, experience and enjoy. Ballet can do just that. Ballet develops individual skills such as confidence, creativity, reflection, determination, persistence, and resilience. It encourages a drive for excellence and can develop skills that can sustain us for life, with many great artists taking on leadership roles and becoming shapers of society.

I would not be the dancer I became or the person I am today without the incredible arts education I received as a young person. Knowing how vital that training was to me, I have long been committed to the development of young people in the arts. It’s something that is at the very heart of my vision personally and professionally. A key part of that development is finding what makes people passionate.

Passion is the most important thing in achieving one’s best and is what sustains one in reaching for a goal. Passion made me work harder than most, passion made me hungry and drove me to pursue perfection and excellence. To catch up to my fellow classmates and to improve, I often woke up at 5am or earlier to practice, hopping one-legged with sandbags strapped to my ankles and pirouetting under the candle lights to gain the necessary muscle strength for jumping and turning, I did this for years. Hard work paid off, I graduated as one of the top dancers in China and the rest is history.

I found my passion for ballet thanks to an incredible teacher I had, Teacher Xiao. I credit Teacher Xiao with changing my outlook on life, for inspiring me, for making me who I am today and for igniting my passion. That passion for ballet was what sustained me through years of being away from my family, through all the challenges and hard work.

I hope many others will benefit from arts education like I have. They may not all grace the stage, but I do believe it will transform their lives and the lives of those around them. I do believe arts education will not only help sustain our precious artforms but also our communities. Creating passionate people that strive to understand, respect and challenge each other.

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Dancenorth hosts inclusive professional dance exchange

Adelaide Dancer Chris Dyke has returned to Townsville as part of the first ongoing inclusive professional dance exchange in Australia.

Dancenorth's Kyle Page and Chris Dyke in front of a fig tree's giant roots. Chris Dyke and Kyle Page. Photo: Amber Haines

During the two-week secondment, Chris has choreographed a new solo work with the guidance of his mentor, Dancenorth Artistic Director Kyle Page, trained with the company each day and watched dancers rehearse for their upcoming performance of ‘If _ Was _’ a double bill created by Stephanie Lake and Ross McCormack.

Chris, who visited Townsville from Adelaide based Restless Dance Theatre and has Downs syndrome, described the opportunity as “a dream come true”.

"When I come here we do workshops and I make friends with the Dancenorth team, then we work on my choreography. Working with Kyle is my dream. My other dream is to create a 3D film with live dance for me to perform in SA, Sydney, Townsville, NYC and the world. I want to put my dance film on TV, YouTube and all over Facebook.”

Chris’ mentor Kyle said it is vital to have these opportunities and to highlight the immense benefit for not only Chris but also the Dancenorth Ensemble.

“Chris is a very talented dancer who inspires me daily, I actually can’t be sure who gets the most out of this exchange, him or me. That is the magic of mentoring—it is a two-way street.”

“Chris is extraordinarily creative, passionate, calm and generous; it is this combined with immense talent that led me to want to work with him in an ongoing exchange of ideas and movement” he said.

“Dancenorth is currently developing a proactive disability action plan ensuring we offer an inclusive environment filled with genuine collaboration and opportunities for all abilities,” he said.

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ArtsPeak calls for restoration of Australia Council Funding

Media Release, 16 May 2016

ArtsPeak, the national confederation of peak arts and cultural organisations, says the Australian arts ecology is under serious threat following the announcement of four-year funding decisions by the Australia Council.

Sixty-five previously funded organisations have lost funding for their core operations and of the 262 applications to the round, over half were not funded. It seems clear from these statistics that the jobs and growth mantra does not apply to the arts.

Nicole Beyer, ArtsPeak co-convenor and Director of Theatre Network Australia said: 'This is an incredibly tough time for the arts sector. We go from relief at the news of a company that has been successful to sadness when we hear of really vital and outstanding organisations that have missed out. We know that the Australia Council has been stretched. We know people will have been doing their very best in an incredibly difficult situation. There is a lot of support within the sector for those who missed out this time round and everyone understands it is no reflection on the quality or importance of their work'. 

With the Federal election looming, ArtsPeak is calling for the restoration of Australia Council funding as a matter of urgency so that the Australian arts ecology can remain viable and vibrant. This call was made unanimously by 2700 individuals and organisations in submissions to last year’s Senate inquiry into arts funding, the largest ever response to such an inquiry.

Tamara Winikoff OAM, ArtsPeak co-convenor and Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), said today: 'It couldn't be clearer that essential ingredients are missing: a national plan for growing and valuing Australian cultural ideas and expression; political courage to embrace experimentation and risk taking; celebration of the arts as core to our national character and achievement; and a real investment in building a vibrant, confident arts environment. It's time to stop tinkering at the edges. The arts has proved itself time and again to be an incredibly valuable investment. Please can we see all the political parties put this on the election agenda.'

ArtsPeak urges politicians to recognise the value of arts and culture to all Australians, to invest in it appropriately and to ensure that the arms-length approach to funding decisions in the arts is maintained.

Media release also available on the NAVA website: ArtsPeak calls for restoration of Australia Council Funding

For media comment please contact:

Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) 0411 162 156 / 02 9368 1900

Nicole Beyer, Director, Theatre Network Australia 0432 609 658

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Ausdance National faces challenge

13 May 2016 media release

The Australian Dance Council—Ausdance congratulates the 12 dance organisations which were successful in the four-year funding announcements by the Australia Council. There is a solid core of highly creative, inspiring and highly productive organisations to create and tour dance around Australia and overseas.

Regrettably, the Australian Dance Council—Ausdance Inc (Ausdance National) finds itself amongst the 62 previously funded organisations that have not been successful. Ausdance National has been notified by the Australia Council that it will not receive operational funding beyond 31 December this year. This brings to an end many years of operational support for the work of Ausdance National.  

Ausdance National has supported the dance industry through development projects such as the National Dance Forum, the Australian Dance Awards, Safe Dance® research, organising the annual meeting of dance company managers, and publishing authoritative guidelines for teaching dance and academic articles about dance. It was the organisation the Royal Commission called on for consultation in private meetings. Ausdance also holds bequests from Dame Peggy van Praagh and Keith Bain to award to professional dancers each year.  

Neil Roach, the Acting CEO of Ausdance National, said today: “Ausdance National has a 40 year legacy of solid support for the dance industry. While there are a number of associated State and Territory Ausdance offices supporting their local dance industry, as a peak body Ausdance National has had the overview of the entire sector and the national and global links to truly support the development of professional dance. This has now been put at risk.”

Ausdance National President, Brian Lucas, said today “Ausdance has been a key player in the development of the Australian dance sector over the past four decades. In that time, the organisation has adapted and grown, demonstrating both the ability to be responsive to the changing needs of its membership and a willingness to assist in driving the growth and strength of the sector through the implementation of key initiatives and programmes. 

It would be virtually impossible to find a dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, dance student, dance academic, or dance audience member who has not been positively and substantially impacted by the activities of the organisation.

Now it is time for Ausdance National to draw on its substantial reserves of experience, knowledge and resourcefulness as we adapt and respond to our drastically changed circumstances. 

The mission of the organisation—to educate, inspire and support the dance community to reach its potential as a dynamic force within local, national and international communities—remains steadfast and unchanged. Our challenge is to assess how best to ensure that this vital mission can be maintained and upheld during this difficult period in Australian arts history, and into the future.”

For media comment and enquiries please contact:

Neil Roach, Acting CEO, Australian Dance Council—Ausdance (Ausdance National) on
02 6248 8992. [email protected]

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ArtsPeak Arts Sector Update #1 2016—an invitation to sector meetings and the Election Debate

Arts Sector update. ArtsPeak—April 2016

Welcome! ArtsPeak is producing a series of National Arts Sector Updates in the lead-up to the Federal election in July.  This work picks up on last year's Free the Arts updates and is being delivered as part of our partnership with Feral Arts. A National Election Strategy Group is coordinating the work. Membership is open to anyone. If you would like to get involved email [email protected]

Please share this update in your networks and with your members.

Register to get future email updates.

National Arts Election Debate 2016

ArtsPeak is organising a National Arts Election Debate in Melbourne on the 8 June. The debate will bring the arts leaders of each of the major parties together to share their big ideas and respond to the burning questions of industry leaders and commentators from across the industry. 

Patricia Karvelas (ABC and Sky news) will moderate a three-cornered contest. Arts Minister Senator Mitch Fifield has been invited, and Shadow Arts MinisterMark Dreyfus and Greens Arts Spokesperson, Adam Bandt are already confirmed. Space is limited so book early.

The debate will be live streamed—details to follow in future updates.

Election debate questions

Ideas for questions for the debate are being gathered online. Everyone is invited to add their thoughts. The final list of questions will be distilled by a steering group of representatives from across the sector.

Add your ideas

National Arts Sector Meeting

  • Where: Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall , Queensberry St, North Melbourne, Victoria 
  • When: 12.45 pm – 5.00 pm, 7 June
  • Register for the National Arts Sector Meeting (Space is limited, so please book early.)

In conjunction with the National Arts Election Debate, we are organising a National Arts Sector Meeting in Melbourne on h June—the day before the Debate. We hope that sector reps from across the country will be able to make it Melbourne for the meeting (and the Debate the following day). An agenda will be developed closer to the day.  We need a group of Melbourne-based people to help out with the organisation of the day. If you can help, please visit our Google doc to connect.

Communications and social media

Collaborative Online Space

We have set up a Google docs folder to help people connect and work together during the campaign.

Media coverage has started to pick up again and we encourage everyone to start to speak up and make noise again. 

Recent Media Highlights include:

Facebook

We are continuing to post updates to the Free the Arts Facebook page.

It would be great to get some more active sharing and commenting on this page over the coming weeks.

Twitter #AusVotesArts

We propose all using this one hashtag for the period leading up to the election. 

Wherever possible it would good to also use #AusVotes with it to make sure the arts issue are part of the broader election sharing.

For more info or feedback

[email protected]

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Government turns its back on the opportunity to fix arts funding mess

ArtsPeak—Confederation of Peak National Arts Organisations

Media Release, 4 May 2016 (31KB PDF)

Hopes that the government would take the opportunity to fix the mess it created twelve months ago were dashed, with no mention of arts and culture in the pre-election Budget handed down in Canberra last night.

ArtsPeak spokesperson and Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts, Tamara Winikoff OAM said, “Unfortunately when it comes to the arts, it seems this government is not concerned about forcing job losses and causing chaos, the very opposite of the PM’s mantra about jobs and growth. The 2016 Budget does nothing to redress the devastating impact of the cuts to the Australia Council and ongoing ‘efficiency dividend’ imposed by the government in 2014 and 2015. The cuts total more than $42 million/year. Massive destabilisation of the arts industry is resulting from decisions made by the current government, and without any policy framework, it looks set to continue.”

Read more…

2016 Australian Dance Awards longlist

This longlist of nominations, along with recorded excerpts of performances, goes to the Selection Panel who will vote to shortlist their top four contenders in each category.

Not every single nomination will appear on this list. A long, unedited list (up to 550 nominations each year) is carefully scrutinised by the ADAs advisors and members of the Selection Panel to eliminate any nominations that do not meet all the Selection Criteria.

As the panel looks at excerpts of all nominated work before deciding on a shortlist, it is essential for the committee to keep only the most outstanding/significant nominations so that it remains a manageable task. The committee also takes care to ensure that the professional dance sector is well represented across all states and territories.

The ADAs Selection Panel members not only generously donote their time and expertise, but do so with great diligence and consideration. Without them the ADAs would not be possible.

The shortlist will be announced about mid July, with winners announced at the 2016 Australian Dance Awards in Perth on Sunday 18 September.

Read more…

ArtsPeak calls for Government to act on Senate Inquiry recommendations

Media Release 7 March 2016

ArtsPeak (the confederation of Australian national peak arts organisations and state arts industry councils), at its meeting on Wednesday 2nd March, called on the Commonwealth Government to urgently provide a positive public response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts.

At the meeting ArtsPeak reaffirmed its full endorsement of all 13 recommendations made in the Inquiry report, highlighting two in particular that need an urgent response before the upcoming election: that the government develop and articulate an evidence-based, coherent and clear arts policy in consultation with the arts sector and that the Commonwealth government restore to the Australia Council the full amount of funds diverted from it in the 2014 MYEFO and 2014 and 15 Budgets (see full set of Senate Inquiry Recommendations attached).

Co-convenor of ArtsPeak, Nicole Beyer said today, “The time to act is now. It has been three months since the Senate Inquiry report was handed down and there has been no action from the government to implement any of the recommendations. Arts companies across the country are now starting to fail, tours are being cancelled and projects abandoned. The government needs to take responsibility, and to make clear public announcements about its intended actions in response the report.”

ArtsPeak Co-convenor Tamara Winikoff OAM agreed, 'What the Minister is being told loud and clear is that the Government’s funding cuts are destabilising the arts infrastructure to a major extent and this needs to be fixed urgently. Despite a token gesture by the Arts Minister, the cuts are incrementally crippling both small to medium arts organisations and major cultural institutions in Canberra.'

Winikoff continued, 'In an election year the arts sector is looking to the government to act quickly and decisively to properly fix the mess it has created over the last two years. Implementing the Senate Inquiry recommendations is a vital first step. The May budget is the government’s window of opportunity to restore arts funding and regain the trust of artists, organisations and arts audiences and supporters across the country.'

The Senate Inquiry recommendations encapsulated the sentiments of almost 3000 submissions from individuals and organisations as well as hundreds of people who spoke at the public hearings conducted in 10 cities around the country.

The volume of the Inquiry response and the weight and unanimity of opinion is unprecedented in the arts in Australia. It has led to a new mood of motivation and co-operation across the whole arts community to ensure that the stability and sustainability of the arts is restored.

For media comment please contact: Nicole Beyer, Director, Theatre Network Australia 0432 609 658 Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) 0411 162 156 / 02 9368 1900

Recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015

Recommendation 1

5.8 The committee recommends that the government develop and articulate, in consultation with the arts sector, a coherent and clear arts policy, including priorities for arts funding supported by evidence-based analysis, and greater clarity about the respective roles of the Ministry for the Arts and the Australia Council, as well as the other statutory arts bodies.

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Ausdance responds to Royal Commission’s public hearing into Centres for the Performing Arts

1 March 2016

Statement regarding hearings by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Public hearing into Centres for the Performing Arts
2 March 2016

Ausdance holds the position that any abuse of a child—sexual, physical or emotional—is abhorrent. A dance studio or class is not isolated from the rest of society, no matter how special it may appear or feel. Studio owners and class teachers, like teachers and activity leaders across the whole of our community, have a special responsibility for the welfare of children in their charge. This holds whether it is a small community dance class or a large commercially-oriented studio.

A dance class or studio is first and foremost a business and as such should be subject to regulatory requirements as any business providing recreational services for children. Dance is also a key art form, which in the view of Ausdance makes any abuse of the trust placed by children in their class leaders or studio principals especially serious.

Ausdance notes that the Royal Commission is not enquiring into abuse in dance studios or the entertainment industry. Rather, the Royal Commission is hearing evidence about two specific centres for the performing arts, one of which was for dance. However, Ausdance supports the invitation for anyone who believes they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing to contact the Royal Commission directly.

Ausdance has a series of guides and fact sheets to assist dance teachers and dance studios. Where relevant, these guides and fact sheets have links to external authorities. The guides include:

Ausdance re-affirms its statement of 15 December 2014 Teaching dance, supporting children.

Download this statement (210 KB PDF)

Neil Roach, A/g CEO Ausdance National

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New study investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers

Safe Dance IV: Investigating injuries in Australia's professional dancers

Ausdance National has joined with the University of Sydney to conduct a research study about the different types of injuries in company and independent professional dancers across Australia, their contributing risk factors, access to health services and return to dance practices. 

We are looking for professional dancers to participate in this research. For more information about the study, or to be involved, please visit Safe Dance IV—Investigating injuries in Australia's professional dancers.

Please help us in spreading the word about this study by forwarding this notice to any dancers you think may be interested in participating. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Amy Vassallo, a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney.

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Aon Ausdance insurance: more cover, cheaper price

Beginning 1 January 2016, our approved insurance partner Aon are proud to launch an even better offering on their Public Liability insurance, tailored specifically for Ausdance members.

While the need to employ best practice is a given, it is still common for a dancer or dance business to be sued for things like providing incorrect advice, damage to a third party and/or injury to students. It’s therefore critical to ensure you also have the right insurance in place.

So, having spoken with Ausdance and listened to the feedback of the dance industry and their clients, Aon’s Public Liability insurance, is now available for new customers with more cover, and at a cheaper price.

Key changes

  • Easy choice of $10million or $20 million Public Liability cover
  • Automatically included Professional Indemnity upped to $5 million cover.
  • Prices now start from as low as $324.40
  • Even simpler & quicker journey through Aon’s no-obligation Buy Online platform.

For any questions, visit A on Ausdance insurance  or call 1800 806 584.

Read more on Aon’s cover, and the importance of Public liability in the dance industry.

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Nominate outstanding performances by Australian dance professionals!

The annual Australian Dance Awards (ADAs) recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to dance. These Awards are non-commercial events that rely on the generosity and goodwill of the committee, the dance sector, the presenting venue and, of course, the nominees and presenters.

The ADAs

  • publicly honour and reward those who have, through their achievements, raised the standards of dance in Australia
  • raise the profile and prestige of dance and acknowledge the depth and diversity of the dance profession in our society
  • present a diverse performance program in support of the awards ceremony
  • provide an opportunity for colleagues and friends from across the dance industry to come together to celebrate and acknowledge outstanding achievement.
SA based company Gravity & Other Myths won in 2015 for Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance, Musical or Physical Theatre for A Simple Space. Photo: Steve Ullathorne.

Nominations close 28 February 2016

Nominations for next year’s awards must be submitted before 28 February 2016.

You can nominate any time during the year on the Australian Dance Awards website. Please read the selection criteria first and say why you think this performance, person or composition is worthy of consideration for an Australian Dance Award.

Each year we compile a reminder list of eligible works (those that were presented the previous calendar year) to help when you go to submit your nominations. Please contact the nomination coordinator if your work is missing.

Work being nominated for outstanding achievement in choreography, independent dance, youth dance, community dance, commercial dance and dance on film for 2016 must have premiered during 2015.

The current members of the selection panel are listed on the website. These people, plus panel chair Robina Beard and advisors Lee Christofis, Jeff Meiners and Julie Dyson, are keen to see new work wherever possible, so please invite them to your openings. You can email invitations to the nominations coordinator or directly to the Selection Panel (ask for a current list if you don’t already have one).

Encourage your audience to nominate!

Feel free to include this invitation in your programs, on your websites and through your social media networks:

Australian Dance Awards – you can nominate!
Were you excited or moved by the performance this evening? Did a particular dancer deliver a stunning performance?
You can nominate a choreographer, a dancer, a company or a piece of choreography for an Australian Dance Award. Nominate now while your memory is fresh! Visit the Australian Dance Awards website.

Have a look at some of our members' work already on the 2016 eligible works list

The 2016 Awards will be held in Perth, Sunday 18 September. All ADAs recipients and Hall of Fame inductees are listed on the Australian Dance Awards website.

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New dance insurance premiums arrive in 2016

Ausdance has a long-standing partnership with Aon Risk Services to negotiate the best insurance cover for the dance industry. Last year premiums for public liability cover were cut by 33%. For 2016, premiums will not only drop further, but you’ll also be covered for more.

Look forward to an Ausdance member discount and extended cover. Dance studio owners and teachers will appreciate a new cover against claims relating to molestation allegations, a cover which is exclusively offered by Aon.

Question: Have you installed your own dance floors? If yes, we recommend talking to Aon about getting business insurance to ensure your floors are also covered.

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Challenging questions explored at Ausdance dance sector meetings

Ausdance coordinated a meeting of eight representatives of the nationally funded dance companies with the CEO of the Australia Council and senior staff on 12 December 2015.

The aim was multiple: to understand the further implications of the diversion of funds to the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (now Catalyst); to query the status of the vacant role of Chair of Dance, as an announcement had not been made about retaining this role; and to discuss the role of funding in sustaining the dance ecology so carefully developed over the past years.

The diversion of funds does challenge the current number of nationally funded small to medium dance companies, and the announcement of funding or otherwise in April 2016 will reveal the extent of the loss. We note the recent departure of the Australia Council Director Dance Carin Mistry and thank her for many years of dedicated championing of professional dance. We congratulate the new Arts Practice Director, Dance, Adrian Burnett, and look forward to a similarly productive relationship.

Other meetings attended include a teleconference with ArtsPeak; a teleconference convened by the MEAA at the request of freelance commercial dancers to consider minimum pay rates, which will result in a first-ever survey of this sector (think #paythedancers); and a teleconference to consult with youth theatre companies with the thought of learning for youth dance funding.

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2016 Keir Choreographic Award finalists announced

Congratulations to the eight commissioned artists Sarah Aiken, James Batchelor, Chloe Chignell, Ghenoa Gela, Martin Hansen, Alice Heyward, Rebecca Jensen and Paea Leach.

The Award increases the profile of and cultivates new audiences for contemporary dance within Australia by commissioning and presenting new choreographic works in a competitive context.

For more information, visit Carriageworks.

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World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific 2016 conference: call for performances, choreolab and symposium

In 2016, the Korean chapter of World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific (WDAAP) will host the WDAAP Annual General Meeting and surrounding activities as the event Dance routes—danced roots: connecting the local and the global. It will include showcase performances, an international choreolab and a symposium.

Key information

  • Conference theme: Dance routes—danced roots: connecting the local and the global
  • Conference location and date: Seoul, Korea, 21–24 July 2016
  • Apply to present: performances, scholarly, performative and Pecha Kucha style presentations
  • Apply to participate in the Choreolab
  • Submission deadline: 10 January 2016
  • Acceptance notification: 28 February 2016
  • For detailed information and to apply, visit the World Dance Alliance website

Applications are now open for participation in the following events:

  • Showcase Performances
  • International Choreolab
  • Symposium—call for proposals

The Showcase provides a concert platform for professional choreographers and performers, and pre-professional artists training in dance academies. The performances will take place in the theaters located in the ShangShin Univeristy or Arko Theater and will be open to registered participants of the WDAAP event and the general public.

The International Choreolab is designed for four emerging and mid-career choreographers to work intensively for almost one week under the mentorship of one Korean established dance artist and one internationally known choreographers (to be announced) resulting in a public showing of works in progress. You can apply to participate in the Choreolab as a choreographer or as a dancer.

The Symposium theme focuses on the idea of global and local connectivity through dance, looking at roots as well as routes that dance and dancers negotiate in different cultures of the contemporary world. Presentation formats include scholarly, performative and Pecha Kucha style presentations.

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Single tickets on sale for Arts Learning Forum opening reception and keynote

Opening reception and keynote by Katherine Zeserson (UK)—Single tickets on sale

We are releasing extra tickets to the opening reception of the Arts Learning Forum featuring international arts learning champion Katherine Zeserson and followed by a reception by the Maribyrnong River. This opportunity to hear Katherine Zeserson, Uncle Larry Walsh and Tony Grybowski, CEO of the Australia Council is open to anyone interested in arts learning: from tour guides to marketers, educators and CEOs, funding partners and board members. Bring a colleague!

  • Time: 3.30 pm registration for 4.00 pm start
  • Date: Wednesday 25 November
  • Single tickets price for Opening function: $40 available online

The Arts Learning Forum program is a three-day event for arts professionals with a role or interest in arts education, learning or engagement across all art forms, ages and communities. Delegates will exchange insights, practices and creative ideas and be inspired by Australian and international leaders including Katherine Zeserson (UK), Anna Cutler Director of Learning from the Tate in London, and Deborah Cheetham Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Company.

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Arts Learning Forum workshops

On Wednesday 25 November, before the official opening of the Australia Council for the Arts’ inaugural Arts Learning Forum, a series of free and low-cost workshops are open to all interested artists and organisations, whether or not you are attending the forum main program. They will provide focussed practical skills and knowledge for artists, educators and facilitators interested in brushing up on their arts learning skill set.

Included are opportunities to learn about inclusive and accessible arts learning and programs, working and forming partnerships with schools, and thinking strategically about digital engagement and design in learning programs.

Workshops

  • Open Your Eyes: Disability awareness and inclusive arts programs with Tim Dakin and Janice Florence, through Arts Access Victoria ($50)
  • Great Partnerships: Your Art in Their School with Heather Marsh (FREE! thanks to Creative Victoria)
  • Let’s Get Digital with Stuart Buchanan ($50)

Visit the website to see full details and register for the workshops.

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2015 Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare annual conference

Key information

The Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH) recognises that all performing artists, young and old, amateur and professional, have unique needs that may not be met by standard models of healthcare.

The 2015 conference theme is 'A Career in the Spotlight: Enhancing Performance Health and Wellbeing'.

This year’s theme will inspire attendees to consider the health and well-being of the whole artist through evidence-informed practice, whether this is in the private teaching studio or the rooms of a healthcare professional.

Keynote speakers include international and national experts in performing arts healthcare: Dr Kate Hays, Associate Professor Rae de Lisle and Dr Cate Madill.

Researchers and clinicians in the fields of dance, drama, voice and music health will present their latest research and discuss possible strategies to overcome the health challenges associated with being a performing artist.

There will also be themed workshops about dance, music, voice and performing arts medicine research.

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NAAE welcomes final endorsement of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) welcomes the endorsement of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts by the Australian Education Council, and the release this week of the updated Australian Curriculum website (version 8.0).

The NAAE, which represents the five art forms included as separate subjects in the curriculum, has been campaigning for seven years on behalf of arts educators across the country. The Arts were not initially included in the national curriculum at all, and this week therefore marks a significant occasion, when The Arts are not only in the curriculum, but they include all five art forms: Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and the Visual Arts.

NAAE welcomes ACARA’s response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum, which had recommended a reduction of the Arts curriculum from five arts subject to two. In response to the review's concerns about the 'crowded curriculum', ACARA has introduced optional, single learning area achievement standards for The Arts, while keeping existing subject specific achievement standards as an alternative (NAAE's preferred option). There will be no changes to content descriptions.

The Australian Curriculum: The Arts has already received international recognition as a leader in 21st Century curriculum. Australia is in the unique position of having an Arts curriculum that provides sequential development for each art form, achieving language cohesion without homogenisation, and using appropriately more specialised language in the secondary years. The curriculum provides teachers with information for implementation support across the five art forms.

However, NAAE recognises that schools and teachers have flexibility to make decisions about how they teach the curriculum in accordance with the needs of their students, the requirements of their school and local curriculum authorities. We will continue to work on advocacy and implementation issues as the curriculum is rolled out across the country.

Download the media release. (550 KB PDF)

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Working with children in performing arts—industry consultation

Working with Children in performing arts? Innovation and Business Skills Australia, in conjunction with Focus on Skills and Ausdance, is developing a working with children skill set and units of competency in performing arts.

This project will involve working with AUSDANCE to address identified gaps in the current Dance qualifications and units:

  • Safe dance environments and equipment
  • Dances appropriate to age groups
  • Student health and wellbeing
  • Regulated environment for good teaching practice and code of conduct.

The first round of industry consultation has been completed and revised drafts of the Working with Children in Performing Arts skill sets and units have been updated to reflect stakeholder feedback. A new draft unit applicable to all people working with children in performing arts environments and an additional skill set were developed in response to feedback. All materials are now available for final validation and stakeholder input. Responses are required by close of business Monday 19 October.

Draft materials f or feedback

IBSA invites final comment on the following new materials:

Skill set:

  • CUASS00054 Working With Children in Performing Arts Skill Set
  • CUASS00055 Assistant dance teaching skill set

Units of competency (and their assessment requirements):

  • CUADTM412 Promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of children in performing arts
  • CUAWHS405 Provide a safe performing arts environment for children
  • CUAWHS406 Interact appropriately with children in performing arts environments

To read the draft materials for feedback, visit the Working with Children in performing arts web page on the IBSA website.

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The Arts Learning Forum

Key information

  • When: Wednesday 25 November – Friday 27 November 2015
  • Where: Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne
  • Registrations close on 20 November 2015 (unless sold out prior)
  • For program and registration, visit the Arts Learning Forum web page.

The Arts Learning Forum program is a three-day event for arts professionals with a role or interest in arts education, learning or engagement across all art forms, ages and communities. Delegates will exchange insights, practices and creative ideas and be inspired by Australian and international leaders including Katherine Zeserson (UK), Anna Cutler Director of Learning from the Tate in London, and Deborah Cheetham Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Company.

The forum is part of the Australia Council’s continued commitment to build the capacity of the sector and to help make the arts more accessible to all Australians. It extends the work of the Arts Education Forum established by Major Performing Arts companies in 2010.

Drawing on the talents of over 60 contributing speakers, workshop leaders, panellists and provocateurs, the Forum will harness the collective knowledge and experience of arts learning leaders from around Australia. The Forum will include workshops, pecha kucha sessions, panels discussions, open space facilitation, open mic sessions, debate and resources across the breadth of the arts sector. Participants will be encouraged to share and discuss approaches to arts learning including: strategic vision, programs and their delivery, engagement methodologies and other issues.

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Call for applicants—a secondment/professional development program with Shaun Parker

Shaun Parker & Company is calling for applicants for its annual TRIGGER program, which will take place in December 2015.

Key information

  • What: TRIGGER secondment program.
  • Where: IO MYERS Theatre, University of NSW, Sydney.
  • When: 9.30 am – 6.00 pm, 7–18 Dec 2015
  • Who: We are looking for five dancers who were born with the XY male chromosome. ie. Male dancers or dancers born with the male XY chromosome, but who identify as being female.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Deadline for application: 19 October 2015

The five chosen applicants will join our company of nine dancers who will be working on the creative development of our new work XY.

The program will include a daily technique class in yoga and contemporary dance, followed by task-based improvisation processes with artistic director and award-winning choreographer Shaun Parker. This two-week workshop is free of charge and is invitation only, so please ensure that you submit a strong application for selection.

Shaun Parker will be using this time to develop the skills of the applicants, as well as looking for dancers for various projects for 2016 and 2017.

To apply

Please email the following material to the General Manager Sonia Grebenshikoff at: [email protected]

  • 1-page CV
  • Headshot
  • Link to edited footage of your performance work.

(Please choose carefully the footage you include, as this will be what the artistic director will be basing selection upon.)

Successful applicants notified by early November.

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Nominate for the 2016 Australia Council Awards

The Australia Council Awards recognise the significant achievements and contribution an artist has made to the vibrancy of Australian arts.

We have so many outstanding dance artists; we encourage you to nominate one for the Australia Council Award for Dance, which recognises the outstanding achievements and considerable contribution of an artist in dance. The 2015 recipient was Garry Stewart, artistic director of Australian Dance Theatre.

Nominees must not self-nominate; nominations are accepted from other individuals and organisations.

Support material includes:

  • up to two pages about the nomination
  • a CV of the nominee.

Nominations close on Thursday 12 November 2015.

As well as the significant recognition of achievement, the recipient receives $25,000.

Head over to the Australia Council Awards web page and, if you haven't already, register for access to the Australia Council for the Arts Online Systems. You'll find award nominations under the 'Grants and Reporting' menu.

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Ausdance WA seeks new Director

Key information

  • Job title: Director, Ausdance WA
  • Location: King Street Arts Centre, Perth
  • Applications close 5.00 pm 16 October 2015
  • Annual salary: $60,000—$80,000

Ausdance WA exists to ensure dance is integrally embedded in the cultural life of Western Australians as an art form, career pathway, recreational pursuit and healthy life choice.

‘Lifelong Dance’ is the vision informing our strategies for the 2016-18 triennial. The proposed program of activities will realise this vision across the spectrum of professional and non-professional dance.

We are seeking a leader in program delivery, dance education and policy development to champion innovation, excellence and creativity in dance.

The successful candidate will provide a range of assistance and support to the elected Management Committee; manage the day-to-day affairs of Ausdance-WA; be accountable and responsible for the organisations financial, human and physical resources; and create and maintain effective relationships to be an active advocate and provide leadership for dance in WA.

To express your interest in this role, please email the following to [email protected]:

  • Your resume
  • A statement outlining why you would be effective in this position (max 1000).Your statement must relate to the responsibilities of the position and provide evidence indicating you have the required competencies and experience for the position.

Applications must be received by 5.00 pm 16 October 2015.

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Adoption of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

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

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

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2015 Australian Dance Award Winners

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

Hall of Fame Inductees

Marilyn Jones OBE

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

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

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

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

Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM

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

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

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

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Australian arts funding—September 2015 update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Job opportunity: Dancenorth General Manager

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

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

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

In the first instance, please email [email protected] for a full job description by 5 pm Sunday 19 September.

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2015 Australian Dance Awards announces two inductees to the Hall of Fame

The Australian Dance Awards is delighted to announce two inductees to the Hall of Fame for 2015.

The Hall of Fame is the most prestigious of all Australian Dance Awards and is made directly by the Awards Advisory Panel in recognition of the individual’s unique contribution and role in professional dance.

The inductees are Marilyn Jones OBE and Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, who will both attend on the night.

Marilyn Jones OBE

Marilyn Jones on pointe and wearing a white tutu, leans over arms outstretched towards Jonathan Kelly who kneels before her clasping her arms.Marilyn Jones & Jonathan Kelly rehearse Anne Wooliams' Swan Lake. 1978 Flemington studios. Photo Michael Cook

Marilyn Jones OBE, Australia’s first new prima ballerina of The Australian Ballet, founded in 1962, remains an iconic figure of dance. From her first season with the company to her last, she sustained an innately lyrical aesthetic.

Her warmth and humility in the classics made her a favourite with audiences nationally and abroad. She was Artistic Director from 1979—1982.

Today Marilyn is the artistic director of the Australian Institute of Classical Dance, which she established during an Australia Council Creative Artists Fellowship to produce a new, Australian ballet-training syllabus.

In 1996 she launched the Dance Creation competition for emerging choreographers. Marilyn continues to lead the Institute’s valuable work, which comprises workshops for students, teachers’ seminars, examinations, scholarship competitions and residencies at the Royal New Zealand Ballet School and the Houston Ballet School in Texas USA.

Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM

A black and white photo of Elizabeth Cameron Dalman jumps high in the air, head stretched back, with arms reaching above her. She is smiling.Elizabeth, 1974. Photo: Jan Dalman

Nationally and internationally renowned as a director, choreographer, teacher and performer, Elizabeth is one of our foremost dance pioneers. A passionate artist with a life-long dedication to dance, Elizabeth has been a prime mover in shaping the Australian dance landscape for over 50 years.

Part of a generation of artists seeking a spiritual and holistic way of expressing themselves, she has helped to define Australia's cultural identity and expression in the modern world and has made a significant and lasting impact on the development of Australian contemporary dance.

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

She continues to dance, teach and choreograph around the world.

The Australian Dance Awards 2015

The Australian Dance Awards 2015 are presented by Ausdance and Harlequin Floors with the Adelaide Festival Centre, 7.30 pm on 12 September at Her Majesty’s Theatre Adelaide. Get your Australian Dance Awards tickets from BASS outlets.

Ausdance thanks presenting partner Harlequin Floors and the Adelaide Festival Centre, Equity, AON Risk Management Services, Innovation & Business Skills Australia, Australian Dance Theatre and TAFE SA, and welcomes new partners Gaynor Minden and Novatech Creative Event Technology.

Ausdance National is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Neil Roach, Project Officer for the Australian Dance Awards 2015

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Award for Lifetime Achievement 2015

The Australian Dance Awards committee is pleased to announce that the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015 will be presented to Marilyn Rowe OBE in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to dance.

After an outstanding career as an internationally acclaimed principal artist with The Australian Ballet, Marilyn dedicated her life to The Australian Ballet School and its students, helping shape the future of young dancers through her leadership, vision and innovative education programs. Marilyn has been instrumental in developing a world-class unique dance training institution that produces distinctly Australian dancers who have learned through a holistic educational program which balances technique, artistry, academic education and student care. She is the driving force behind the establishment of Marilyn Rowe House, a residence for The Australian Ballet School.

Clockwise from top L: with Dame Peggy van Praagh in the studio; with John Meehan in The Merry Widow Photo: Branco Gaica; with Gary Norman in Spartacus Photo: Branco Gaica; in rehearsal at The Australian Ballet's Flemington studios 1971 Photo: Paul Cox. Images courtesy of The Australian Ballet.

Marilyn performed and created a phenomenal body of work in her performing years, equally outstanding in both classical and contemporary techniques. Her reputation in the latter was forged, when American choreographer Glen Tetley chose Marilyn, Alida Chase, John Meehan and Gary Norman for his ground breaking ballet, Gemini in 1973. Also that year she formed an acclaimed partnership with Kelvin Coe, with whom she won the prize for most outstanding couple plus individual silver medals at the Moscow International Ballet Competition. Her talent inspired other choreographers who illuminated the most brilliant partnerships: with John Meehan in The Merry Widow (Ronald Hynd) and Gary Norman in Anna Karenina (André Prokovsky) as did John Cranko’s existing ballets, Romeo and Juliet and Onegin.

A multi-award winning performer, artist, director and teacher, Marilyn’s legacy to dance, dance education and to Australian arts and culture is far reaching and will be long-lasting. Her contribution has been acknowledged with her appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1980 for her services to ballet in Australia.

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ArtsPeak’s response to the draft guidelines for the National Program for Excellence in the Arts

ArtsPeak's response to National Program for Excellence in the Arts draft guidelines (360KB PDF)

Dear Minister Brandis

Re: draft guidelines for the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA)

ArtsPeak (the confederation of Australian national peak arts organisations and arts industry councils) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the recently released draft guidelines for the Federal Government’s National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). ArtsPeak particularly welcomes the Government’s statement about the intrinsic value of the arts:

While valuing the many secondary benefits which flow from arts activities, the Program seeks to celebrate the intrinsic capacity of the arts to engage, inspire and make meaning for all Australians.

1. Sustainability

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Child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would like to hear from anyone who has experienced, or has information regarding, child sexual abuse in institutions in the entertainment industry.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said that the Royal Commission is calling for people with information about child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry to contact the Royal Commission.

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Congratulations Australian Dance Awards 2015 shortlisted nominees

Image courtesy Australian Dance Theatre. Photographer: Chris Herzfeld Camlight Productions. Dancers from L to R: Kimball Wong, Samantha Hines, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, Matte Roffe & Lonii Garnons-Williams.

Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees.

Services to Dance

  • Jeff Busby
  • Philippe Charluet
  • Nicolette Fraillon
  • Jennifer Irwin

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News from the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific

Our friends at the World Dance Alliance Asia–Pacific bring us the first edition their newsletter for 2015—Asia–Pacific Channels. For past editions, visit Asia–Pacific Channels.

This edition includes many moving and wonderful messages honouring the memory of Maggi Phillips.

These messages speak for themselves about her extraordinary qualities and her far-reaching positive influence in so many ways and in many countries across the world.
—Cheryl Stock

Asia–Pacific ChannelsChannels also outlines many exciting projects from the Education & Training Network, the Support & Development Network, the Creation & Presentation Network, and the Research & Documentation Network. Ralph Buck reports from the World Alliance for Arts Education conference with a summary of the WAAE Strategic Planning discussion and five new education projects. And Chapters across the region have contributed updates and photographs summarising their extensive and diverse dance activities.

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Watch National Dance Forum 2015 panel discussions

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

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

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

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Senate Inquiry into Arts budget confirmed—add your letter by 17 July!

At the beginning of June, Ausdance joined ArtsPeak (the confederation of national peak arts organisations) in calling for a Senate Inquiry into the 2015 Budget funding cuts to the Australia Council and the rechanneling of those funds into a new funding program called National Programme for Excellence in the Arts.

Now a reality, the Senate Inquiry into the 2015 & 2014 budget cuts to the arts is calling for submissions from artists and arts organisations.

If you're an artist, and you can write down how the funding changes have affected you, you should write a letter and submit it to the Inquiry.

We urge you to add your submission by the 17 July closing date. Check out the 'how to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry toolkit' from ArtsPeak member National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA).

You can read examples of the submissions already made.

Submission deadline: 17 July 2015.

In case you missed it...

Here's what Ausdance has been saying about the recent changes to the Australia Council's funding and its impact on artists and the arts ecology.

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2015 Australian Dance Awards

In 2015 the Australian Dance Awards are bound for Adelaide for the first time. The Awards celebrate the achievements of Australian dance companies and dancers in a night-of-nights event combining performances and Award presentations. They will feature past winners and notable guests hosted by well-known Adelaide identity Jane Doyle.

Key information

Date & time: 7.30 pm Saturday 12 September 2015
Location: Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Tickets: Get your Australian Dance Awards tickets from BASS

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New book: Dance Education Around the World

Dance Education Around the World

Perspectives on Dance, Young People and Change

Edited by Charlotte Svendler Nielsen and Stephanie Burridge
Foreword by Sir Ken Robinson.

Dance has the power to change the lives of young people. It is a force in shaping identity, affirming culture and exploring heritage in an increasingly borderless world. Creative and empowering pedagogies are driving curriculum development worldwide where the movement of peoples and cultures generates new challenges and possibilities for dance education in multiple contexts.

 

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2015 Queens Birthday Honours for dance

We congratulate members of the Australian dance community who received Honours in the recent Queens Birthday honours list.

Stanton Welch received an AM for significant service to the performing arts as a ballet dancer, mentor, choreographer and artistic director.

Mrs Janice Ethel Conroy (Qld) and Mrs Diana Cecile de Vos-Beck (WA) (former member of WA Ballet) both received an OAM for service to the performing arts through dance. Mrs Margaret Jean East (Tas) received an OAM for service to the performing arts through dance administration roles.

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Ausdance National President Brian Lucas responds to Australia Council funding cuts

Dear Ausdance members,

I am writing to you as the President of Ausdance National, in response to the recent funding cuts to the Australia Council, and the rechanneling of those funds into a new funding mechanism entitled the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts.

I am clearly aware of the substantial levels of anger, confusion, disillusionment and anxiety which currently exist throughout the Arts sector as a result of these cuts and the flow on changes to Australia Council funding processes.

As an independent artist who works in and across many aspects of the Australian Arts ecology, I personally share the anxieties and anger that are a result of seeing the future of our practices, our livelihoods and the continued survival of our fragile economy threatened and undermined.

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Honorary life members add their voices in support of the Australia Council

3 June 2015

Senator The Hon. George Brandis QC
Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House
CANBERRA  ACT  2600


Dear Senator Brandis,

We, the undersigned honorary life members of the Australian Dance Council – Ausdance, write to add our voices to the many letters and statements made in support of the Australia Council. The Australian arts profession has fought hard over many years for the independence and peer review principles embedded in the Australia Council’s charter, and we are now concerned that a commitment to excellence through the peer review process will be compromised as further cuts and conditions are imposed on the smaller organisations by a reduced Australia Council. This decision has the potential to dismantle much of the Australian dance ecology and dissipate the constantly growing audience it has developed over the last decade.

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ArtsPeak calls for Senate Inquiry

Ausdance joins other members of ArtsPeak (the confederation of national peak arts organisations) in calling for a Senate Inquiry into the recent federal Budget announcement that $104.8m over 4 years will be stripped from the appropriation of the Australia Council for the Arts to establish a National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA) under the control of the Arts Minister.

ArtsPeak aims to ensure that Australians can continue to enjoy diverse rich cultural experiences at all levels. Until the outcome of a Senate Inquiry, we call on Senator Brandis to restore all the funding cut from the Australia Council and its programs, and repeal his decision to establish the NPEA.

Read the full media release: ArtsPeak Calls for Senate Inquiry

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Expressions Dance Company performing Natalie Weir’s 7 Deadly Sins

When: 21–29 August
Where: Playhouse, QPAC

Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, Gluttony. 7 Deadly sins

Wrath. Greed. Sloth. Pride. Lust. Envy. Gluttony. Plunge into a wicked tale of ancient sin unleashed on the modern world. Spotlighting the inherent frailty and imperfections that exist in us all, 7 Deadly Sins explores the age-old sinful nature of mankind retold through electrifying contemporary dance characterised by Natalie Weir's unique insights into the human condition.

Rich imagery, extravagant costumes and breathtaking movement will pack an emotional punch in this devilishly delicious adventure!

Book now as tickets are already selling fast!

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Australia Council grants programs suspended or cancelled after 2015 Federal Budget cuts

In the 2015 Federal Budget, the Government announced cuts to the Australia Council’s budget to establish a new funding structure called the 'National Programme for Excellence in the Arts'. Yesterday the Australia Council outlined the significant effect the 2015–16 budget measures will have on their funding programs.

'To manage the transition to the new funding framework the Council needs to take the following actions:

  • the Australia Council June grant round, including government programs, will not proceed
  • existing applications can be assessed within the September round, which will include multi-year project support for individual artists and arts organisations
  • the six-year funding for organisations program is suspended
  • the Australia Council will honour the current contracts of multi-year funded organisations until their conclusion at the end of 2016
  • the ArtStart, Creative Communities Partnerships Initiative and Artists in Residence programs will not be offered in the future.'

Yesterday Ausdance met with other peak arts organisations to discuss joint actions and to draft a joint response. We will update you in the coming week.

In the meantime, you may like to add your name to the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA) joint letter to George Brandis. Sign the letter here: http://bit.ly/1IOfz6c

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Federal Budget 2015—some changes for Arts funding

The 2015 Federal Budget was announced on Tuesday 12 May. While detail and analysis will come to light over the coming days, the main item for the Arts is the establishing of a 'National Programme for Excellence in the Arts' to support endowments, international touring and strategic projects, with an emphasis on attracting private sector support.

The program will be delivered through the Ministry of Arts, but money is being redirected from the Australia Council to fund it. Minister for the Arts, George Brandis stated 'here will be no reduction in the Australia Council’s funding to the 28 major performing arts companies as a result of this initiative'.

From the Minister's press release:

The National Programme for Excellence in the Arts will allow for a truly national approach to arts funding and will deliver on a number of Government priorities including national access to high quality arts and cultural experiences.

Arts funding has until now been limited almost exclusively to projects favoured by the Australia Council. The National Programme for Excellence in the Arts will make funding available to a wider range of arts companies and arts practitioners, while at the same time respecting the preferences and tastes of Australia’s audiences.

Accordingly, the Visions of Australia and Festivals Australia programmes will return to the Ministry for the Arts after being transferred to Australia Council by the previous government. The Major Festivals Initiative will also be transferred with support for this programme to be doubled to $1.5 million.

The program will also provide $5.3 million over three years for the continuation of Creative Partnerships Plus1 matched funding.

Additionally, following on from the savings announced last year more efficiencies are being required of the Australia Council and arts agencies. An additional $13.2 million through until 2019 is being cut from arts and cultural programs administered by the Australia Council, Screen Australia and the Ministry for Arts. The Australia Council will need to find an additional $1.8 million in efficiencies per year, with Screen Australia looking for $0.9 million and the Ministry $0.7 million this year, and $0.5 million in the future years. According to the Budget papers 'the savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities'.

The Australia Council has noted their savings will be met through reduced funding to the ArtStart, Capacity Building and Artists in Residence programs.

The Australia Council has issued a statement:

The Board of the Australia Council will be giving careful consideration to the Council’s priorities for the next year and beyond, and the implications for delivery of the Australia Council Strategic Plan.

Until the Board and Executive have had the opportunity to undertake these considerations in response to the Budget measures further detail will not be available.

The Australia Council remains committed to supporting Australian artists and arts organisations, and working collaboratively to achieve strong outcomes for the arts in Australia.

News reports and articles

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2015 CHASS Australia Prizes

The CHASS Australia Prizes honour distinguished achievements by Australians working, studying or training in the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS), including academics, practitioners, philanthropists, policy makers and students.

Nominations close 1 June 2015.

Individuals, agents, publishers, teachers and organisations are invited to make nominations for any of the four categories:

  • Book (cash prize of $3,500 sponsored by Routledge)
  • Distinctive Work (cash prize of $3,500 sponsored by Routledge): an exceptional artistic performance, exhibition, film, television show, play, composition or practical contribution to arts policy.
  • Future Leader (cash prize of $2,000 sponsored by Future Leaders): for an individual under 35 years of age who is demonstrating leadership skill and potential in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
  • Student ($500 voucher sponsored by The Co-Op): for a student essay, exhibition, performance, project or thesis.

Self-nominations are welcome. To nominate, visit the CHASS website.

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2015 Australian Dance Awards longlist

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

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

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

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DANscienCE Festival 2015 call for presentations

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

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

DANscienCE Festival

Directed by Liz Lea and Associate Professor Gene Moyle.

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

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

Visit DANscienCE Festival 2015 for full program and submission details.

Submissions due 15 May 2015 to [email protected]

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Vale Maggi Phillips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today Cheryl noted

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

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

Vale Maggi Phillips, by Nina Levy. Dance Australia

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Chunky Move position vacant—Executive Producer

An exciting opportunity exists for a dynamic and experienced arts producer to take up a senior leadership role with one of Australia’s leading contemporary dance companies.

Led by internationally acclaimed choreographer Anouk van Dijk, Chunky Move has an enviable reputation nationally and internationally for producing a distinct yet unpredictable brand of genre-defying dance performance. The Company’s multi-tiered programming initiatives nurture a strong and vibrant dance culture in their home city of Melbourne.

The Executive Producer is responsible for the overall management of the Company, producing new works, initiating national and international touring and collaborations, and generating income through actively fundraising and developing entrepreneurial activities.

This position requires an impressive track record at a senior level in the performing arts, strong producing credentials, and excellent communication and management skills.

Your application should address the selection criteria and received no later than COB Tuesday 14 April 2015.

For position description and company profile, visit Chunky Move's website.

For further information contact Hillary Coyne,  Business and Program Manager on (03) 9645 5188 or email [email protected].

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Tracks Dance Company position vacant: General Manager

Tracks Dance Company is looking for a general manager to manage the day-to-day operations of the organisation and play a leadership role in its marketing and sponsorship campaigns.

The successful applicant will have a passion for the arts and a desire to be an integral part of the Tracks Dance Company team under the artistic direction of David McMicken and Tim Newth.

Tracks is a recognised centre of excellence, producing exceptional performances built on an extended history of trusted community collaboration. The company, a not for profit organisation, is located in Darwin, Northern Territory.

For selection criteria and more information about the position, please contact Susan Congreve on [email protected] or call 0488 287 042.

Applications close 5 pm Monday 20 April.

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2015 Hotbed #1 with Martin Nachbar—applications open

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

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

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

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

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Asia-Pacific Dance Bridge 2015: Connectivity through dance

16 – 18 October 2015

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

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

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

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

Submissions deadlines

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

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

WDA members can register here now.

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Tanja Liedtke Fellowship

The Tanja Liedtke Foundation is is pleased to announce South Australian dancer and choreographer Gabrielle Nankivell as the winner of the 2015 Tanja Liedtke Fellowship. Congratulations to Gabrielle!

Gabrielle was also the inaugural recipient of the Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship, presented at the 2014 Australian Dance Awards last November.

Read the Media Release.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australian Government. Australia Council for the Arts

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2015 Winter Brisbane Contemporary Dance Intensive with Expressions Dance Company

Applications are now open

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

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

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

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

For more information email [email protected] or call 07 3257 4222

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

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

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

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

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

Lemi Ponifasio

Lemi PonifasioLemi Ponifasio. Photo: Christian Westerback

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Australia Day Honours 2015

Ausdance National congratulates those from the dance community recognised in this year's Australia Day Honours.

Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

Ms Leanne Faye Benjamin OBE
For significant service to the performing arts, particularly ballet, as a dancer and role model. Principal, The Royal Ballet, London

Mr Noel Christian Tovey
For significant service to the performing arts, to Indigenous performers, and as an advocate forthe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community.

Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division

Miss Carole Oliver
For service to the performing arts through dance education. Founder, Owner and Artistic Director, Carole Oliver School of Ballet

Ms Daele Fraser
For service to the performing arts, particularly dance. President, Dance Master International Association.

Citations can be found at It's An Honour.

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

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New in 2015: 33% lower premiums for Aon dance insurance

Ausdance Public liability–33% lower premiums. New prices start January 1st, 2015. Buy online today.

After recent discussions with Ausdance, cashflow pressures were identified as an important issue for many Ausdance members throughout 2014. Following this feedback, Aon have strongly negotiated with insurers to secure a more affordable dance insurance package.

Aon are subsequently very pleased to announce that their dance insurance premiums are now 33% lower.

This discounted rate is available for new policies placed from 1 January 2015 and for all current Aon dance customers (see your renewal pack for more information).

For a no-obligation quote and option to buy online, visit Aon’s Ausdance page or give Aon’s Dance service team a call on 1800 806 584.

If you’d like to learn more about the importance of having public liability insurance as a dance business, check out a recent Aon article: How does public liability insurance protect me?

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Teaching dance, supporting children: information from Ausdance National

For almost thirty years Ausdance has been working with dance teaching societies, organisations and teachers looking for the best approach to support the industry and students. Ausdance continues to compile and distribute information and guidelines about dance training, focusing particularly on issues of quality and safety. The Australian Guidelines for Teaching Dance suggests minimum standards for dance teaching and ways teachers can maintain or upgrade their teaching skills. You can also access the code of ethics for dance teachers and for parents, information about child protection and choosing a dance studio for your child.

We remain committed to providing resources which help to facilitate the highest possible quality of dance education and training in this country. We continue to work with studio teachers, the broader dance sector and the wider community in reviewing and investigating additional strategies to ensure positive dance experiences within a dance-training environment.

Children have a fundamental right to be safe from any form of abuse while involved in dance, sport or any activities. This is a legal requirement as well as a moral obligation. Child protection requires a commitment from everyone, including individuals teaching or leading dance and movement activities, to ensure the dance environment is safe for all children.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback on these resources and the broader discussion on dance for young people. Please join the discussion and leave your thoughts below or contact us directly.

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New Artistic Director for Force Majeure

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

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

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2014 highlights from the Ausdance network

Ausdance WA

It’s been another busy year for Ausdance WA with many memorable dance events and projects.

Our Act-Belong-Commit Dance 100 program included five separate projects to inspire, educate and engage with dance at all ages and levels. As well as live performances, lunch-time discos, secondary school workshops and film screenings, we piloted a new type of workshop series called Act-Belong-Commit Monkeyfunk. This paired young children and their parents together to play and groove with a dance artist and live musician and was a gorgeous example of the elation that dance can bring us both socially and physically.

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New artistic leadership for Dancenorth

North Queensland’s contemporary dance company has announced the appointment of its new artistic leaders. In the wake of the company’s September announcement of a new structure to support a reinvigorated artistic model, Mr Trevor Goldstone, Chair of the Dancenorth’s Board of Directors, announced today (5 December) of the appointment of three artistic leaders who will steer the company into the future.

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National Dance Forum 2015: join our Volunteer Program

Are you passionate about dance?

Are you seeking experience in arts management/administration?

Do you want to have the opportunity to share ideas and discuss the most important issues facing the dance sector today?

NDF2015 is searching for bright, organised, motivated individuals interested in dance to be part of the National Dance Forum 2015 Volunteer Program. Volunteers will gain experience in arts management, access networking opportunities and participate in the National Dance Forum from 19 to 21 March 2015, free of charge, and all while being part of a valued team making the forum a fantastic and welcoming event.

Apply now

Please email a bio or CV outlining your relevant experience by Friday 6 February to NDF2015 co-producer Kath Papas on [email protected]. Successful applicants will be notified mid February 2015. For any queries call Kath on 0422 570 837.

National Dance Forum, Melbourne 19–21 March 2015: energise your practice with discussion, reflection & networking; for three days connect with other creative minds & bodies; in March 2015 join us as we explore current professional practice in Australia

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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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Motion capture

Edith Cowan University is excited to announce that WAAPA has a new motion capture facility that will be used 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 extended articles

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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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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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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

SDC 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. 

Image: Salome, 1998 Choreography: Graeme Murphy. 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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Publication of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

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.

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

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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)

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Review of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) made a submission to the review panel for the Australian Curriculum (500 KB PDF) strongly urging it to recommend that the Australian Curriculum: The Arts be implemented in its present form. The NAAE said that processes of refinement should be managed by classroom teachers piloting the curriculum, not a review panel.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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