Professional resources

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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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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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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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. 

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Apply for the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance 2017

Apply now for the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance. Applications close 1 June 2016.

Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance

The Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance is a six-month Fellowship offered by the University of Otago (School of Physical Education) in Dunedin, New Zealand. It is one of five prestigious Fellowships offered by the University and the only one offered internationally. Tenure is usually from 1 March to 31 August. It offers project costs and a salary equivalent with a Level One Lecturer at the University. 

The Fellowship was set up by Caroline Plummer’s parents in memory of Caroline who died of cancer in 2004 at the age of 24.

Successful applicants will create and perform a community dance project. Projects can be wide-ranging and diverse but must embrace Caroline’s passion and vision for dance in the community. 

For more information please visit the University of Otago Fellows website and the Caroline Plummer website.

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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. ceo@ausdance.org.au

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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.”

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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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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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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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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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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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