Australian Dance Awards

The annual Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian dance. The event aims to publicly honour and reward those who have, through their achievements, raised the standards of dance in Australia; raised the profile and prestige of dance and acknowledge the depth and diversity of the dance profession in our society; or presented a performance program representing excellence and diversity in the pinnacle of both innovative and established dance.

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Presented in an evening of performances showcasing some of Australia's best dance from the previous year, the annual Australian Dance Awards (ADAs) are a non-commercial event relying on the generosity and goodwill of the committee and the dance sector.

The ADAs began in NSW in 1986 in the form of a Dancers’ Picnic to celebrate International Dance Day (29 April) and to acknowledge achievements of our professional dance artists and practitioners. In 1997 Ausdance NSW, with support from the City of Sydney and The Australian Ballet, presented the inaugural ADAs at the Sydney Opera House.

2008 marked the beginning of a new era, with the Awards celebration held in Melbourne and produced by Ausdance Victoria for three consecutive years, thanks to the generosity of the Joan & Peter Clemenger Trust and The Australian Ballet.

Since 2010 the ADAs have been traveling around the country, with state/territory Ausdance organisations hosting and producing the event. With a truly national focus, the Australian Dance Awards promote the art form, raise the profile of Australian artists and provide a focal point for the celebration of excellence. 

Visit the Australian Dance Awards website  to see all the ADAs winners from 1997 - 2016.


Ausdance is grateful for the ongoing support by the following ADAs sponsors:

Harlequin Floors, AON Australia, Equity Foundation, Gaynor Mindon and DanceInforma.

Eligibility and nominations

All nominees must be working in the professional dance sector and making innovative and exceptional work of national significance OR have made an outstanding and enduring contibution to the dance industry through their work as a teacher, writer, designer etc.

To be eligible for an award for outstanding achievement in choreography, film, musical or physical theatre, or a youth, community or independent project, the work must have premiered between 1 January and 31 December the previous year. If a work was not a premiere in this period, you can still nominate a dancer or company for an outstanding performance award.

To be eligible for lifetime achievement, services or education award, nominees must have a long-standing national, and perhaps international, profile.

Ausdance National compiles a list of eligible works throughout to help you when you come to nominate. (Sometimes a work or an artist slips through the system and does not make it onto this list. Please email the Nominations Coordinator if you think a work is missing.)

To make an effective nomination please read the selection criteria for each award category and include a thoughtful, descriptive and concise explanation of why you think the nominee was outstanding, exceptional, innovative etc. These comments help convince the selection panel who may, or may not, have seen the performance. (Please note: the number of times a work or person is nominated is not a deciding factor.)

Nominations close each year at midnight 28 February.

Voting process

All eligible nominations and the supporting comments are collated for the 13 members of the selection panel. Companies and independent artists are invited to submit video excerpts of their nominated work for viewing. The panel is also provided with CVs/biographies for those people nominated for lifetime achievement, services to dance and services to education, to ensure that panel members can make a well informed decision about who makes it into the shortlist.

Each panel member rates their top four in each category by allocating 4 points for first place, 3 points for second place etc. Once the first round of votes are compiled, the results are submitted to the panel for second round of voting which produces a shortlist of four for each award. If the scores for the winners are even or very close, the panel consults with the advisors until a majority is in agreement.

Selection panel

The panel is made up of 13 dance professionals from all states and territories, and of different generations. Members represent the various dance sectors, including teachers, independent artists, dance company directors, writers/critics, administrators and youth dance specialists. The recommended term served by panel members is 3 – 4 years. If a member of the selection panel is nominated for an award, he or she is excluded from voting in that category and excluded from any discussion about that category.


Ausdance National manages the nominations and the Selection Panel, and is responsible for maintaining relevent Award Categories and Selection Criteria and a rigorous and transparent voting process. The ADAs management committee consists of:

Nominations Coordinator: Leanne Craig, Ausdance National
Chair, Selection Panel: Robina Beard OAM
Advisers: Lee Christofis, Jeff Meiners, Julie Dyson AM


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Recent News

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2017 Australian Dance Awards recipients

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