2013 National Dance Forum

Exploring the unique qualities of dance as an artform and why we choose it as our mode of expression, communication or storytelling, this forum embraced views from multiple perspectives: maker, dancer, educator, audience member and the broader community, while focusing on a central question, 'Why dance?'

Project Status

National Dance Forum 2013

A conversation for the whole dance sector—choreographers, dancers, independent artists, artistic directors, educators, researchers and dance producers.

When: Friday 15 to Sunday 17 March 2013.
Where: Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne


  • Foster the artistic development of Australian dance through inspiration, reflection and critical dialogue
  • provide an opportunity to gain a national perspective on Australian dance practice through the forum and attendance at associated performances, showings, workshops and classes
  • build leadership in the Australian dance sector
  • foster connections across the dance sector, and provide an opportunity for national networking
  • build the profile of Australian dance
  • explore the unique qualities of dance as an artform and why we choose it as our mode of expression, communication or storytelling
  • embrace views from multiple perspectives: maker, dancer, educator, audience member and the broader community.

Through the National Dance Forum, we:

  • embraced and valued diversity of culture and practices across the forum program
  • fostered robust debate and encouraged surprising and sometimes provocative ideas
  • provided a positive environment focused on achievements and ideas
  • focused on the future but acknowledged Australian dance lineages
  • challenged each other to be rigorous and strive for deeper understanding


Download the full program and list of speakers.

Program overview

Keynote artist-in-conversations

  1. Dalisa Pigram in conversation with David Pledger
  2. Garry Stewart in conversation with Anne Thompson

Breakout # 1

  1. BlakDance First Nations dance panel. Marilyn Miller and speakers Eric Avery, Tammi Gissell, Gary Lang, Rita Pryce.
  2. 'Whose responsibility is it to make sense of this?' Chair: Elizabeth Walsh. Speakers: Lee Christofis, Raewyn Hill, Marion Potts, Jake Shackleton and Maija Eränen (Zodiak Festival, Finland)
  3. Dramaturgy, outside eye or feedback? with facilitator Janenne Willis and provocateurs Martin del Amo and Rachael Swain

Breakout # 2

  1. Industry preview screening—Virtuosi, with an introduction from Sue Healey
  2. 'What role does dance education play in shaping Australian culture for tomorrow?’ Chair: Jeff Meiners. Speakers: Janice Deans, Assoc. Prof. Jenny Kinder, Sue Mullane and Gerard Veltre
  3. Beyond hybridity: current Australia/Asia Pacific dance practices. Chair: Associate Professor Cheryl Stock. Speakers: Julia Mageau Gray, Annalouise Paul, Ade Suharto and Tony Yap

Breakout # 3

  1. A Lifetime's Collaboration. Presented by Steve Jampijinpa Patrick (Lajamanu), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Tracks co-Artistic Directors)
  2. Between us: Connections within and beyond the independent dance sector. Chair: Brian Lucas. Speakers: Byron Perry, Kristina Chan, Sam Chester, Paea Leach, Jo Pollitt and Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal
  3. What is dance doing in Australia? And what is Australian dance doing in the world? Facilitator: Janenne Willis. Provocateurs: Phillip Adams, Michael Whaites and Gie Baguet (Frans Brood Productions, Belgium)

Postcards from the future—Future visioning session facilitated by Jeff Khan and Janenne Willis.

Project team

The forum was a project of Ausdance National and the Australia Council for the Arts, presented in association with Footscray Community Arts Centre. It was facilitated by Jeff Khan, co-Director of Performance Space, Sydney, with Janenne Willis as a guest co-facilitator. Producer Kath Papas managed the project with a curatorial panel made up of Matthew Day, Julie Dyson, Margrete Helgeby, Raewyn Hill, Carin Mistry and Frances Rings shaping the program.

News + Events

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