Brolga 30 an Australian journal about dance

Editorial

In 2009 Brolga is celebrating fifteen years of publication, so it is very fitting that its founder-editor, Michelle Potter, is a contributor, responding to Garry Lester’s article on his adventures with MAVIS in the National Film and Sound Archive. This response inaugurates a new occasional section called Forum, a place for discussion, provocation, and the exchange of ideas. The wide-ranging diversity of topics which has been the hallmark of our journal from the beginning continues, illustrated in this issue by graphic art and photographs from the old, archives, and the new, digital cameras.

Nina Melita explores the response to Anna Pavlova’s first Australian tour and finds it was not always ecstatic. The very successful Ballets Russes symposium held in Adelaide in May last year is a lively subject for one of the organizers, Lee Christofis, and Sue Street offers challenging ideas in a paper based on her Peggy van Praagh Memorial Address given at last year’s World Dance Alliance Global Assembly in July. (It was quite a year for dance gatherings, 2008.) In his article ‘Brain, Dance and Culture’, anthropology and dance student Paul Mason presents some of the results of a research project enquiring into the evolutionary properties of collaborative choreography, while Felecia Hick takes us on a journey to Taiwan and the creation of a dance work with well trained young dancers. Three books, from very different fields, are reviewed. And Robin Grove pays tribute to one of Borovansky’s stars, the effervescent Dorothy Stevenson.

In her editorial to that 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.’ It is good to be able to say that this aim is fulfilled in all respects in this issue. She also gave thanks to a private sponsor who had made the publication of the first issue possible ‘by a generous donation’. In these straitened times (and the price of paper has recently doubled) it would be wonderful to be able to again thank a generous donor, or donors, who had given Brolga financial assistance. Our designer, David Bonsall, has made his contribution by giving the journal a new look, without diminishing the quantity of content. You, our readers, can also help by encouraging other dance lovers to become subscribers. Seize the opportunity!

Articles

Anna Pavlova’s 1926 Australian tour

Nina Melita gives an account of Pavlova's first Australian tour, during which the famous dancer astounded her audiences with her artistry and passion. Pavlova was an honest and outspoken person who did not particularly enjoy attention from the press.

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.