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Publications

Brolga 40

Articles in this issue explore ideas that relate to improvisation as it has been experienced in a practical, bodily way.

Marchant’s article Dance Improvisation: Why warm up at all? considers what takes place before improvising begins, while warming up. In Improcinemaniac, Reid describes her simultaneous practice of screendance and improvisation. Reid uses language that is deliberately poetic, and deconstructs and reassembles words in order to question or reconfigure meanings, particularly those of conventional dance language. Using improvisational play with light and lens is also described by Wilson who applies a deeply embodied approach, developed over years working as a dancer, to her visual art practice in experimental photography. Millard’s What’s the score? explores the use of scores or verbal propositions as supports for dance improvisation. In Gaps in the Body, Fraser writes of having arrived at an understanding of improvisation that, rather than being about moving, is about ‘attention’. McLeod’s article, The Ethos of the Mover/Witness Dyad, describes the response of an invited public to a performative Authentic Movement event over three evenings.

Brolga 39

In this issue of Brolga, the writers outlay the reaches of what education in various dance contexts may mean. In its formal sense, education spans the time of learning which takes place in institutions such as schools, colleges and universities, whether public or private, or in classrooms and studios. While learning to learn still resonates through the actualities of such institutions, in today’s culture, the pervading principle is centred on vocational ends, on equipping the individual to take a place in employment statistics and the much vaunted economic progress.

Brolga 38

Australians and those who connect with Australian dance experiences in one way or another need to know that their ideas, memories and research are valued as the vibrant electricity to keep the dancing-talking duo spinning on through time. This issue of Brolga, edited by Associate Professor Maggi Phillips gives a sense of the multiple voices and approaches that weave into the repertoire of Australian dance, its history, present and future.

Brolga 37

This issue—the final one to be edited by Alan Brissenden—encompasses a wide geographic range and varied discussions of different kinds of people and different styles of dance. All articles in Brolga 37 have been peer reviewed.

Brolga 36

This special and exciting edition of Brolga investigates and documents the making of Anatomy of an Afternoon by Martin del Amo in collaboration with dancer Paul White.

Brolga 35

This significant issue of Brolga publishes eight papers from a conference held at the University of Otago in June 2010. The focus of the conference was discussion around interdisciplinary perspectives on dance that strive to both understand historical developments and to anticipate new directions of dance scholarship and performance.

Brolga 34

The relationship of dance with society and with other art forms within a society is a fertile ground for exploration, and each of the essays in this issue of Brolga considers such relationships in some way.

Brolga 33

This edition of Brolga brings together the thoughts and ideas of a collection of dance makers who are writing about their craft.

Brolga 32

This edition of Brolga includes some history of Pavlova in Australia, an article about the youth dance work that happens in Canberra with Quantum Leap and some perspectives from independent contemporary dance makers.

Brolga 31

In this issue of Brolga, editor Rachel Fensham focuses on discourse on Australian choreography, so contributors were invited to consider the ‘edges’ of contemporary choreography in Australia.

Brolga 30

In her editorial to the very first Brolga, Michelle Potter announced that the aim of the new journal was "to provide a space for the publication of current research, critical thinking, and creative activities to, and impinging on, dance in a cultural context in Australia and elsewhere." This aim is fulfilled in all respects in this issue.

Brolga 29

Amanda Card is the editor of this edition of Brolga, which features articles by Garry Lester, Marianne Schultz and Lee Christofis. Michelle Potter pays tribute to two Australian dance icons who passed away in 2008—Valrene Tweedie and Meg Denton.

Brolga 28

In this issue you can read about the genesis and development of the World Dance Alliance – Asia Pacific, a thriving dance program at a South Australian high school, Cheryl Stock's ambitious cooperative choreographhic project at QUT called Accented Body, and issues around the sustainability of collaborative dance ventures.

Brolga 27

This issue of Brolga includes an exploration of the music of Menotti used in both Martha Graham and Gertrud Bodenweiser's version of Errand into the Maze, an analysis of Lucy Guerin's Aether (2005) and a site specific work by Sela Kiek, Circulate.

Brolga 26

This issue of Brolga well illustrates the richness of our dance history and the diversity of people who have contributed to it. Jill Sykes pays tribute to Graeme Murphy and the Sydney Dance Company, Mark Carroll continues his research into the Ballet Russes in Australia, and three Ballet Russes dancers share some personal memories of de Basil's ballets. Other articles are by leading dance writers, Lee Christofis and Garry Lester.

Brolga 25

Robin Grove, English lecturer at the University of Melbourne from 1964 – 2006, edits this issue of Brolga which presents a selection of topics that the journal promotes: dance history, cultural theory, discussion of new works and a re-investigation of past achievements.

Brolga 24

This issue presents a diverse range of dance writing, as usual, with articles by Joan Pope OAM, Harry Haythorne OBE, Laura Ross (photographer).

Brolga 23

In this issue Rodney Stenning Edgecombe, lecturer in English Literature, assembles a miscellany of interesting discoveries made whilst researching music for ballet, and Katrina Rank presents the narratives of Australian dance work Marvellous (2000).        

Brolga 22

This issue of Brolga includes a personal account by Tamara Finch (nee Tchinarova) of her career during the 1940s following her decision to stay Australia, and a history of the Perth-based company Buzz Dance Theatre.

Brolga 21

This issue of Brolga includes an exploration of Simon Dow's new La Boheme by Lee Christofis, a paper by Garry Lester on the "volatile grace" of New Zealand dance artist Douglas Wright, and the second part of a research paper on Margaret Barr's work by Joanne Harris. 

Brolga 20

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 19

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 18

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 17

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 16

This is an unusual edition of Brolga with it's focus on West Australian Ballet—the oldest ballet company in Australia. WAB celebrated it 50th birthday in 2002.

Brolga 15

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 14

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 13

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 12

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 11

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 10

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 9

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 8

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 7

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 6

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 5

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 4

This special edition of Brolga honours Laurel Martyn OBE, one of Australia's most illustrious dance people.

Brolga 3

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 2

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Brolga 1

With its eclectic mix of writers and topics, Brolga–an Australian journal about dance always presents, shares and comments on dance—both past and present—in this country.

Articles

Improcinemaniac

In this paper, Dianne demonstrates the intersections of her research/practice, mixing live and screen bodies, poetic and academic writing. She is posing an improvisational approach to screendance and an embodied approach to writing as possibilities for seeing, imagining and being in the dancing, researching body. She is interrogating her own embodied knowledge as hybrid site within a live screendance body.

Dance improvisation: why warm up at all?

This article looks at a particular moment in the practice of improvisation when the individual is still attending to unique or specific needs. In time, it comes before preparations that involve others, or the doing of something that is organised into an ‘exercise’. A practice rarely begins at zero moment with a group of improvisers arriving together with everyone ready to start. An allowance is made for a transition, and what the improviser chooses to do during this time is left up to them. This is the moment I am calling–‘warming up’ or ‘to warm up’. Taken literally the expression ‘to warm up’ indicates actions a dance improviser can do to prepare their body to improvise; a body-based preparation to attend to particular bodily needs in order to be physically ready to do dance improvisation.

Extending Underscore Alchemy

Vahri MacKenzie takes the framework of Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore—a contact improvisation program developed in the US to promote a “deepening/releasing and sensitising to gravity and support” in bodies that pass and meet each other—to a multi-disciplinary gathering of artists.

A Place and a Space

20 years on, Paige Gordon speaks about her work title Shed—A place where men can dance which premiered in Canberra in 1994 and prompted some wonderful post-show discussions.

Dancing the Design

This article is an account of Sela Kiek-Callan’s postgraduate research journey in “Dancing Design”, an exploration of affinities between architecture and dancing bodies which become manifest in embodied responses of weight, rhythm and intensity when dancers pay attention to the built environment in which they are encased.

A historical overview of dance in the New Zealand curriculum

A historical overview of the development of the New Zealand dance curriculum from the early twentieth century to the present day reveals shifting meanings and emphases from military drills to gymnastics, eurhythmics, creative movement, European folk dance and cultural Maori dance. In the last decade however, dance in the New Zealand school curriculum has arguably gone through its most influential change as it shifted from the physical education curriculum to the arts curriculum.

This curriculum shift refined and focussed the academic study of dance in New Zealand primary, secondary and tertiary education contexts. This article focuses upon curriculum and the key persons shaping curriculum development and its delivery in New Zealand from the early 1900s to the present day.

Jack Gray

Ann-Maree Long, a Butchulla woman of Fraser Island, introduces us to West-Auckland born, Jack Gray, a Maori contemporary dance artist and choreographer.

Ausdruckstanz, faith and the anthropological impulse

Jonathan Marshall elaborates on Shona's own research into indigenous and ‘tribal’ dance in the Philippines, drawing links between the early history of modernist dance in Europe and the German language states, and later developments in the Asia-Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia. Particular attention is paid to the often neglected issue of religion and spirituality, with MacTavish’s project being identified as a specifically Christian ecumenical approach.

Facilitated marriages

This paper outlines the Future Landings project run by Ausdance WA, examining how the artistic relationships between the choreographers played out, and suggests steps that may be taken to ensure that such ‘facilitated marriages’ have the best chance of success.

Research and ‘Anatomy of an Afternoon’

Amanda Card talks about her research with Martin del Amo on Anatomy of an Afternoon which was part of a project funded by Critical Path's Responsive Programme. The intent of Martin’s research was to expand and challenge his choreographic process by using a historical source as stimulation as well as experimenting with the transference of his particular choreographic framework onto another dancer.

Transposing style: Martin del Amo’s new solo works

At a showing at Critical Path in 2011 Erin Brannigan responded strongly to Paul White’s performance of Martin del Amo’s work-in-progress, Anatomy of an Afternoon, believing it to signal a new direction for the choreographer. She shares her thoughts on the transposition of del Amo’s movement style as witnessed in White’s performance.

Conundrums of placing and timing: making new from the old avant garde

Designer, curator and scholar of contemporary dance, Justine explores two aspects of the performative event of Anatomy of an Afternoon by Martin del Amo. One has to do with its placing; what happens when the avant garde moves to inhabit big ‘C’ cultural institutions. The other concerns its timing; how can work that has entered the canon of the historical avant garde retain newness and experimentation, the power to startle or even shock, in present-day reinterpretation.

Graeme Murphy and the SDC

Only one Australian choreographer has produced a body of work for a mainstream audience over such a substantial period. Graeme, with his associate, Janet Vernon, have made and staged dance that makes audiences laugh and cry, think about ourselves and others, ponder the unique business of being Australian and look beyond into worlds overseas, consider the past and the present.

An errand into two minds

In 1947 American modern dance pioneer Martha Graham commissioned a score from Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti for a new work. The resulting collaboration, Errand into the Maze. Only a few years after premiere, another version of the piece premiered in Sydney, Australia, choreographed by Gertrud Bodenwieser to the same score.

Dancing te moana: interdisciplinarity in Oceania

This seed for this article began at a conference at the University of Otago where there was much debate about the connections between, and the definitions of, 'interdisciplinarity' and 'interculturalism' within the Oceania context. The featured dance ethnography investigates the creative process and somatic philosophies of the Atamira Dance Company.

Body commons: toward an interdisciplinary study of the somatic spectacular

Kohe and Newman investigate the parallels between sport and dance studies and also consider the emerging discipline called 'physical cultural studies'. They suggest that an intercourse between study of dance and study of sport "could provide novel methodological, theoretical, and metaphysical spaces which transcend disciplinary moorings."

Dance site: re-conceptualising digital dance

From her research into the mehtods of capturing dance on camera, Karen concludes that with the expansion of film techniques and practices, the dancer/artist is enormously empowered. Her methodolgy offers a means to perform improvised dance for camera and to capture footage for editing into short digital dance works.

Sociography

In a departure from conventional Western concert dance choreography, Larry talks about his collaborative works with performers who "disengage aesthetic design-based constraints carried by codified dance techniquers and choreographic principles."

Body knowledges: dancing/articulating complexity

With a particular interest in the ways that dancers reflect social, cultural, political and economic currencies, Ananya talks about the intersection of dancing, dance studies and social justice work. Many of her questions come from experiences of art-making that encompass a broad range of race, gender, class and sexuality.

The Ballets Russes symposium

The Ballet Russes symposium was devoted singularly to the collaborative practice in the creation of ballets since the advent of Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in 1909. Curator of Dance at the National Libray of Australia, Lee Christofis gives his account of the conference.

Yumi Umiumare’s DasSHOKU Hora!!: critique through ‘cross’-cultural femininity

Postcolonial theorist, Homi Bhabha proposes an interstitial space exists in between polarities along axes of subjectivity. Georgie Boucher uses Bhabha’s notion of the interstitial subject to investigate how Umiumare might utilise strategically in-between subjectivities in performance.

Fitting in: reflections on a dance research project

Eleanor Brickhill reflects on a 2005 research project which was not intended to come to any conclusions, but to hopefully illuminate certain ironies or conflicts. She talks about "taste" and how it can create boundaries and divisions between people.

Brain, dance and culture: evolutionary characteristics in the collaborative choreographic process

This is part 2 of a broad hypothoses of an intuitive science of dance. Elizabeth Dalman and neuroscience researcher Paul Howard Mason (1982 – ) joined forces to explore the evolutionary characteristics of a discrete social system, with a belief that choreography involves processes that expose the social machinery of human expressive systems.

Quantum leaping

Shona Erskine interviews Mark Gordon, director of the Australian Choreographic Centre, and Ruth Osborne, artistic director of the Quantum Leap Youth Choreographic Ensemble in Canberra. This discussion of the program, indicates how this kind of project can have a direct influence on the community and the public perception of dance.

Homage and critique in contemporary dance

Amanda Card writes about American iconoclast Yvonne Rainer, French scientist/choreographer Xavier Le Roy and Sydney dance group The Fondue Set. According to Card the work of both Le Roy and The Fondue Set pay homage to dance and its history, and she offers a critique of it.

Working solo

Martin del Amo talks candidly and elegantly about the way he makes work—how he begins, how he collaborates with others and how they "get things done".

The mentor—mentored

Brain Lucas writes a generous, reflective musing on how even established artists are in a constant and continuing state of development and growth.

Mystory #5

Julie-Anne Long takes us on a journey, through the inspiration, creation and realisation of a working process. She reflects on collaboration and the influence of place with a word skill that replicates her expertise as a dancing devisor.

Retrospective

Shelley Lasica talks candidly and elegantly about the way she makes work – how she begins, how she collaborate with others, and how they get things done.

Thoughts on work, October 2010

Helen Herbertson provides some poetic reflections about the nature of her. This results in some beautiful, powerful prose that evokes, rather than explains, the why, when and how of her devising processes.

The Fondue Set present…The Fondue Set

The Fondue Set – Jane McKernan, Elizabeth Ryan and Emma Saunders – offer up a fascinating response to a set of provocations. They reveal their process in a three-part harmony that speaks to the particular concerns of this group of female artists.

Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow: Toward a definition of the ‘Ballet Lyrique’

Rodney Stenning Edgecombe looks for a new genre within ballet itself, making connections between other musical forms and such works as The Merry Widow, which was part of The Australian Ballet’s 2011 season. Reaching back into the history of ballet and opera, he proposes a new term, ‘Ballet Lyrique’.

The two Cups of 1962: the dancing horses of The Australian Ballet and the National Theatre

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere season of The Australian Ballet's Melbourne Cup, choreographed by Rex Reid. Melbourne Cup was a popular hit of 1962 and the ballet drew on the country’s most famous social sporting event for its story and setting. Jordan Vincent has investigated the surprising facts connecting Reid’s work with a second ballet on the same subject by Melbourne's National Theatre, titled Cup Fever: a fantasy on The Cup.

Thinking bodies, dancing minds: research with communities of creative minds

In seminal investigations, researchers from the Victorian College of the Arts and the Universities of Melbourne and Western Sydney collaborated with dance artists and scholars to explore the nature of thinking in the embodiment of kinaesthetic, cognitive, emotional and aesthetic perceptions.

Maybe we’re not human

Jonathan Bollen explores the utility of actor-network theory for researching performance. The focus of his analysis is Australian Dance Theatre's Devolution created as a collaboration between choreographer Garry Stewart and robotics artist Louis-Philippe Demers.

Designing for Nina Verchinina’s choreographic vivacity: a new light on Loudon Sainthill’s art

Art historian Andrew Montana presents his perspective on the designs the young Australian artist Loudon Sainthill made for the ballets of the beautiful Russian ballerina, Nina Verchinina. The story of this collaboration, and the fate of Verchinina as choreographer is intriguing.

In/between/Place: Tess de Quincey’s bodyweather of the central desert

Mary Elizabeth Anderson gives an account of Tess de Quincey’s experiments in Bodyweather training, place-based performance-making and documentation at Hamilton Downs, an old cattle station and youth camp about 100 kilometres beyond Alice Springs.

Variations in proximity as a tool for audience engagement

Clare Dyson illustrates her account of proximity in the relationship of audience and performer with examples from her own intriguing choreographies. How close is close? What does being a member of an audience, as opposed to being an ordinary person in an ordinary place mean?

Embodied histories of contemporary dance

Dr Katrina Rank discusses the role of memory, narrative and individual perception in relation to a live dance performance called Marvellous, which was a synthesis of five separate works she choreographed in 2000.

My dancing years the Borovansky Ballet

This is the fourth part of Tamara Finch’s story of her career as a dancer. The first three parts were published as ‘My dancing years’ in New York in Dance Chronicle, Volume 27, Numbers 1 – 3, in 2004. Part three concludes with the decision of Finch (then Tamara Tchinarova) and her mother to remain in Australia at the end of the 1938 – 39 tour by the Covent Garden Russian Ballet, and with an account of some of her early experiences in Australia including her time with the Polish-Australian and Kirsova Ballets.

The historical buzz on Buzz Dance Theatre

Adrian J. Lowe writes a history of the Perth-based contemporary dance company Buzz Dance Theatre. He writes from the perspective of an observer for those who may have an interest in dance, but not necessarily a working knowledge of the art form.

Dancing to the right tune

Past research indicated that dance companies use strategic public relations for various audience development activities that are innovative and successful in the short term. Recommendations from Madeline Wilson's research include long-term strategic audience development plans to ensure dance companies continue to develop audiences and remain viable in the future.

Volatile grace

New Zealand dancer and choreographer Douglas Wright has been inspirational for many dancers with his innovative approach to both the creative process and to embodying the movement.

Margaret Barr, storyteller Part one: Snowy

Choreographer Margaret Barr developed a rich style of dance-drama to communicate her strong social conscience. Since dance is ethereal, works are often lost after their performance, but fortunately, two of Margaret Barr’s choreographies were captured on film so we are able to observe her dramatic skills, sophisticated wit, manipulation of dance elements and the societal issues that were important to her.

Emergent kapa haka and ballroom dance forms in Aotearoa, New Zealand

Susan Graham examines macro level environmental and political influences on two dance forms that represent the cultural origins of modern day bicultural Aotearoa New Zealand—kapa haka and ballroom dancing. The historical origins, foci and functions of both forms will be compared and traced over the past one hundred years.

Drama and music in ballet scores a glossary in the form of an essay

Once character, emotion and action are added to abstractly satisfying movement, some questions may arise: "What and how does dance mean?" "Must it necessarily turn to mime, and strive for ‘verbal’ representations without words?" Music scholar, Rodney Stenning Edgecombe, explores this fission by discussing the key terms that became current over time, starting with Noverre’s scène d’action, and ending with Gorsky’s mimodrama.

Perceiving dance bowing to the ineffable

Although a great deal of philosophical thought has gone into dance as art over the last few hundred years, little if any has attempted to take a more dispassionate, scientific view, let alone conduct any original research into dance. That may all be about to change.

Theatres of life

Paige Gordon talks frankly about her career as a dancer and choregrapher in Canberra before she was appointed Artsistic Director of Buzz Dance Theatre in Perth.

Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker

Music scholar and passionate balletomane, Rodney Edgecombe makes a thorough analysis of Murphy's The Story of Clara with comparisons to previous choreographic versions of The Nutcracker.

Madame Ballet

Kira Bousloff's name is synonympous wth ballet in Western Australia. She was a consumate performer and a personality to be reckoned with. This paper proposes that she saw her life as romance or fairytale, and tended to ignore the historical, political and cultural complexities of her creative enterprise.

The more things change…WAB 1952 – 1982

Susan Whitford explores the home-grown nature of West Australian Ballet and the outward-looking strategies that the company embraced. WAB experienced a long list of significant directors and choreographers (both Australian and international) who led the company from strength to strength.

‘Crazy link-ups all over the place’

Dance scholar Maggi Phillips has chosen a particular intersection of destinies to illustrate the unpredictable and complex lineages of dance. Her focus here is on three major and influential Perth artists: Boris Kniaseff, Lucette Aldous and Barry Moreland.

The Bolshoi ballet only the strong survive

In the 90s both the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre in St. Petersburg and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow—homes to two of the world’s most famous ballet and opera companies—have been struggling to survive in the radically changed socio-economical environment of post-communist Russia. Dance writer and photographer Marc Haegeman, talks about these companies and their ability to survive.

Tivoli a tribute

No-one should be surprised that it was Graeme Murphy who conceived the idea of a dance musical to honour the Tivoli, the variety show that entertained audiences around the nation for over seventy years. Dance writer and critic Lee Christofis tells the story.

Moving mind: the cognitive psychology of contemporary dance

The production, performance and perception of music has been studied in detail by cognitive psychologists. Music has been recognized as a window into cognition. The status of dance, however, is less clear. The authors propose that contemporary dance too affords insight into human cognition and can be powerfully communicative.

Destroying illusion or ‘the unmasking of ballet’

Dance writer/critic, Stephanie Glickman gives an in-depth exploration and analysis of Philip Adams’ Amplification, which she concludes is a 'contemporary ballet....that exposes not only the painful process of performing the dance technique....but also works to express his obsession with 'morbidly beautiful' aspects of death that often remain latent in Romantic ballet'.