The March 2011 National Dance Forum (NDF) at Arts House North Melbourne Town Hall was the first national forum of its kind since Greenmill.
What was its purpose?
The National Dance Forum 2011 was an Australia Council for the Arts and Ausdance National partnership. The Forum’s aim was to reflect on the state of dance practice in Australia now, and to chart a course for the future. The depth of forum presentation and discussion provided many opportunities to do this. We also wanted to give artists the opportunity to focus on their practice rather than on survival issues such as funding and touring. The NDF also provided an opportunity for artists from all over the country—often separated by vast geographic distances—to share ideas, network with others and see performances.
With the advisory panel and producer Kath Papas, we identified important principles of diversity and inclusivity, and of privileging dance artists’ voices. They came up with ideas for keynote discussions, chairpersons and panellists. We then gathered together some of Australia’s most exciting dancers, choreographers, curators, critics and producers who provided many lively discussions over two days at the Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall.
Dance topics explored included career development, dramaturgy, new media and the digital technologies, hybrid and interdisciplinary practice, dance on film and dance in local communities.
Facilitated by Kristy Edmonds and held against the backdrop of the contemporary dance festival, Dance Massive and Ausdance Victoria's Industry Day and Masterclasses, the NDF inspired these comments:
“Being able to get together in such a hothouse environment will lead to new collaborations and different ways of thinking about and enacting practice.”
“… inspired moments listening to artists talk about their work and their processes, considering and reviewing our own creative processes, and finding synchronicities and differences within practice and process.”
“… it provided an opportunity for networking—not only with peers and colleagues but (importantly) with national and international presenters, producers and representatives. I came away from the event with numerous new contacts and relationships.”