Industry news

Ausdance National AGM 2017

The 2017 Annual General Meeting for Ausdance National will be held on Sunday 19 March 2017 from 1.00 – 2.30 pm at Arts House in Melbourne.

The agenda, minutes, proxy form, membership information and biographies of the new eight-member national council are available below.

This is an important moment for the future of Ausdance National as your peak sector organisation. The AGM has been scheduled during Dance Massive in the hope that some of you may be able to attend to hear about current plans and the appointment of the new national council. I am delighted at the calibre of nominations received by the due date. As the number of nominations does not exceed the required positions, there is no need to hold an election.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please consider providing a proxy on the form included below. Email your signed proxy form to Ausdance National by Friday 17 March 2017.

Please note that a performance of Lucy Guerin Inc’s Split is at Arts House commencing at 3.00 pm, so you may like to take advantage of that following the AGM. More information and tickets are available on the Dance Massive website.

I look forward to seeing some of you on Sunday 19 March 2017. Many thanks.

Shane Colquhoun
Interim National President

2017 AGM papers

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Australian Youth Dance Festival 2017

14 – 17 April, Melbourne, Victoria

Registrations are now open for the Australian Youth Dance Festival (AYDF) 2017.

For the first time, the AYDF will be held in a major city – Melbourne!

Under the artistic direction of Adam Wheeler, AYDF2017 provides opportunities for young dancers aged 14 – 25 to access some of the finest dance experiences available in Australia, in a supportive, non-competitive environment that encourages participation and learning.

This year’s program includes:

  • an opening ceremony (14 April) celebrating the vibrant and diverse youth dance sector in Australia
  • a full day of 90-min intensives in various dance styles (15 April)
  • choreographic intensives (16 April)
  • performance-based intensives (17 April).

Participants will work with some of Australia’s most respected and prolific dance artists/choreographers and dance companies including two special international guests from a Swedish dance company.

In addition to the workshops, AYDF2017 will highlight at least six new works from youth dance companies across Australia at the gala evening titled ‘Emergence’. Never before has a major city had some of our country’s best youth dance companies under one roof, presenting new works to an open audience.

For more information and to register your spot at AYDF2017 visit Ausdance Victoria.

For regular updates on AYDF2017, follow the AYDF on Facebook.

For more information, please email Sasha Leong.

AYDF2017 is organised by Ausdance Victoria, in partnership with the Youth Dance Australian committee.

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Nominate now for 2017 Australian Dance Awards!

Nominations close 28 February.

Were you excited or moved by a performance in 2016? Did a particular dancer deliver a stunning performance? Perhaps you saw some outstanding and innovative choreography? Now is the time to submit your nominations for the 2017 Awards, to be presented in Melbourne in November.

You can nominate a choreographer, a dancer, a company or a piece of choreography for an Australian Dance Award. 

You might like to look at the eligible works list if you need help remembering what your saw last year. This list is collated throughout the year and is intended as a reminder only. If you think a work is missing please email the nominations coordinator.

For an effective nomination in the most appropriate category, you should read the selection criteria first and be sure to provide a meaningful and concise comment about why you think a performance/performer is exceptional and worthy. 

Professional writers, teachers, designers etc. working extensively in the dance sector over many years may also be nominated for an award for services or education. Nominees for a Lifetime Achievement award must be prominent senior figures in the Australian dance community who have dedicated at least 40 years to the industry. 

Six dancers performing Sydney Dance Company's 'Frame of Mind'Sydney Dance Company's Frame of Mind, shortlisted for the 2016 Award for Outstanding Performance by a Company. Photo: Peter Greig

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Ausdance National President’s report

The single biggest challenge for Ausdance National in the coming months is the election of a new skills-based National Council at the March 2017 Annual General Meeting. The formal call for nominations has now opened and members have until 17 February 2017 to nominate yourself or a colleague to join the new Council. 

If you care about the future of dance in Australia, and of its peak professional body, then please take some time to consider whether you or any individuals you know have the skills and experience to contribute to the future of dance. Under recent changes to the Constitution, all members of Ausdance state and territory organisations, together with our national members, have the opportunity to nominate and vote for the new Council.

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Ausdance advocacy report

Ausdance National's dance sector advocacy update ​Ausdance National's new interim National Executive has formally appointed Ausdance National (volunteer) representatives to attend and speak for Ausdance at the following organisations and forums: ArtsPeak, National Advocates for Arts Education, World Dance Alliance and Tertiary Dance Council of Australia.

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ArtsPeak update

Ongoing work

As well as recovering from the ArtsPeak National Arts Election Debate six months ago, there has been ongoing work: following up with the Australia Council on the Service Organisations Scan (complete, to be released by the Australia Council in the first quarter of 2017); advocating for the arts courses that will be affected by the VET student loans proposal (ongoing); and continuing to voice the sector’s concerns about the impact of the 2015 budget changes. The Executive has also played a part in Arts Front, and is currently monitoring (with great interest) the new initiative for a Myer, Tim Fairfax Family and Keir Foundations cultural think tank.

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LEAP Together Conference report

Toronto, Canada, 11–12 Nov 2016

LEAP Together: Career and Life Transitions in Dance and Sport was one of the key initiatives of a pioneering partnership between Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO), and is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. 

The conference included a wide diversity of stakeholders from the sport and dance sectors to learn and exchange knowledge on various topics related to transition for high performers – professional dancers and elite athletes.

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New Constitution for Ausdance National

The Special General Meeting of September 19 this year adopted a vastly amended constitution for Ausdance National.

The main purpose of the changes is to implement a skills-based board and governance structure. The board of the National Council before the changes was the Ausdance National Executive (president, two vice presidents and treasurer) with the president of each Ausdance state and territory organisation a director on the board.

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Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy

The Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training invites you to make a submission to the inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the New Economy 

'On Wednesday 9 November 2016 the Committee adopted an inquiry referred by the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, asking the Committee to inquire into and report on matters that ensure Australia’s tertiary system—including universities and public and private providers of vocational education and training—can meet the needs of a future labour force focused on innovation and creativity.'

Make your submission by addressing the terms of reference by 13 January 2017.

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Ausdance announces new constitution and interim executive leadership

As a member of the Australian dance sector, I wanted to let you know of some changes to Ausdance National in recent weeks.

In September 2016 the Ausdance National Council agreed to significant changes to the Constitution—moving away from a network-led board to a new skills-based governance structure and extending the membership to engage more directly with a range of stakeholders. We are opening up membership at a national level to engage directly with individuals through the state and territory offices.

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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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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.

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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, and AON Risk Services. 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 National.

Terri Charlesworth was awarded the 2016 Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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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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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