National Dance Forum 2017

The 2017 National Dance Forum will bring together makers, producers and presenters to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum will focus on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain. It will engage artists in developing and sharing skills in this environment.

The fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) will take place from 25–26 September 2017 at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Victoria.

Project Status

Artists are asking ‘how can I expand my audiences and get my work out there more? What are the mechanisms?’

We know the sector wants a chance to share, inspire, connect and to be inspired by the whole of dance industry—that includes the broader ecology, from independents to majors—and not remain isolated with static audience numbers.

In recent years, the NDF has been a key event for many artists to touch base with other artists from across Australia to discuss practice, keep up to date on industry trends and extend knowledge. Significantly, the forums have also provided a platform for artists to help understand their positioning within the larger Australian dance context, to strengthen ties across the dance industry, and to have a robust conversation about industry-wide issues. — Elizabeth Vilmanis, co-founder and moderator, Brisbane Dance Artists Hub 

Why attend? 

Make technology work for you, and your work will have greater reach.

Dance artists, companies and presenters looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend. You will learn about digital distribution, access skills and resources, and learn new ways to make your work accessible to audiences while maintaining artistic integrity.

Dance practice in the digital age

This central theme of NDF2017 investigates how we work in a digital age while exploring the best innovative practice possible to ‘make’ and distribute dance work to a wider audience. The digital age calls for a discussion on ways to provide more access to more Australians to see and experience dance in the virtual realm.

The NDF will pose some major questions and seek answers and ideas from across the sector and beyond:

  • How do we approach or adapt artistic practice to take advantage of new, smart and ubiquitous digital technology, at the same time maintaining artistic integrity and achieving social and economic value?
  • How is work curated and created for digital distribution; where does it sit in relation to core business and how can it engage audiences differently as an activator?
  • How can artists expand their reach to new and existing audiences, to urban, regional and international audiences?
  • What can we achieve, what do we look out for, where is it all going?


We have a range of speakers confirmed, and several still to be confirmed but who have indicated strong support and commitment to participating in a program that will facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge, strengthen industry collaboration around a critical 21st-century scenario and focus on the application of technical skills and resources. We will also seek curatorial advice from leaders in the digital dance environment.

Wesley Enoch will give the keynote address, placing dance in a wide cultural context and providing provocation about the place of dance and dance makers in our cultural landscape.

Other speakers from organisations that have experience in digital platforms will be invited to contribute, and other experienced practitioners will focus on innovation and creative strategies for the future. Australia’s eminent cultural economist Prof. David Throsby will present his recent ‘live performance v live-streaming’ research.

Following recommendations from the 2015 NDF, we have engaged with the Indigenous dance community through Merindah Donnelly and BlakDance (the national Indigenous dance service organisation). Members of our curatorial team attended the Indigenous Dance Forum in May to enable its recommendations to be taken forward to the NDF.

We will also be calling for expressions of interest from the S2M and independent sectors to participate in an afternoon of skills development through ‘the pitch’, three-minute practitioner presentations that demonstrate innovation and digital distribution, at the same time encouraging development and providing opportunities for ‘the artist as advocate’.


The program will be announced in July. Please contribute your ideas in the comments section below, or email Ausdance.

Project partners and funding

Ausdance Victoria will produce the NDF2017 event alongside the Australian Dance Awards in September. The NDF2017 will be supported by the Ausdance network. 

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

News + Events

Recent News

National forum to explore dance practice in the digital age

Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events for this project.

Related Projects

2013 National Dance Forum View this project

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?'

2011 National Dance Forum View this project

Some of Australia’s most exciting dancers, choreographers, curators, critics and collaborators met to discuss and reflect on the state of dance practice in Australia now, and to chart a course for the future.


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