Careers in dance

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Australia Council grants for Indigenous artists

Australia Council funding supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, arts organisations and communities to claim, control and enhance their cultural inheritance.

Apply or nominate now for:

Red Ochre Award

This prestigious award pays tribute to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artist who throughout their lifetime has made outstanding contributions to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, both nationally and internationally.

Dreaming Award

This award supports a young artist aged 18 – 30 years to create a major body of work through mentoring and partnership, either nationally or internationally.

Australia Council Fellowships

Fellowship grants provide financial support for two year to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artists so they can undertake a major creative project or program in their artform. This is only open to Dance and Hybrid Cross Arts projects.

Deadline for applications: 31 July

Keir Choreographic Award—winner announced

The inaugural Keir Choreographic Award has been awarded to Atlanta Eke. The People's Choice Award went to Sydney artist Jane McKernan, as selected by audience members at the grand final at Carriageworks.

Four of the eight commissioned artists—Sarah Aiken, Matthew Day, Atlanta Eke, Jane McKernan—competed for the inaugural award at Carriageworks in Sydney in July.

The international and national line-up of judges includes a range of voices from the artistic community, from visual art through to dance from Australia and around the world including: Mårten Spångberg, the acclaimed 'bad boy' of contemporary dance pushing the boundaries of the art form in polite society; Matthew Lyons, curator at experimental cultural hub The Kitchen in New York; Josephine Ridge Creative Director of Melbourne Festival and one of Australia's most experienced arts identities, Becky Hilton a leading Australian choreographer, director and teacher  and Phillip Keir, The Keir Foundation Director and visionary behind the Award.

Earlier this year, Carriageworks, Dancehouse and the Keir Foundation partnered for the first time to present the Keir Choreographic Award, dedicated to commissioning new choreographic works and to bringing significant support and increased profiling to the contemporary dance sector, both nationally and internationally.

Among the many benefits, the Award includes a cash prize of $30,000 for first prize and $10,000 for an audience choice prize.

Out of the 77 entries, the eight artists commissioned of this inaugural edition were:
Sarah Aiken (VIC); James Batchelor (VIC); Tim Darbyshire (VIC); Matthew Day (VIC); Atlanta Eke (VIC); Shaun Gladwell (NSW); Jane McKernan (NSW); and Brooke Stamp (VIC). Read more about their work .

The biennial Keir Choreographic Award is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts.

Calling independent dance artists

Arts House in Melbourne and Taipei Arts Festival in Taiwan are bringing these two cities together in a major new project. Six independent dance-based artists—three from Melbourne, three from Taipei—will join a practice-led cultural exchange, spending time in both cities to each develop a new solo work.

These works will be presented in Melbourne and Taipei to local, national and international producers and audiences, with first developments shown at Dance Massive in March 2015.

Arts House is now calling for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for three independent dance-based artists, at any stage in their career, to participate.

Visit the Arts House website for key dates and information on how to apply.

Deadline for EOIs: 28 July 2014 midnight

Pre-professional training with Sydney Dance Company

Sydney Dance Company is now calling for applications for its 2015 Pre-Professional training program, which is open to Australian and New Zealand dancers aged 18 or older (and those who are turning 18 in 2015.)

This nationally accredited one year intensive offers students the chance to work with some of Australia’s most successful and award winning choreographers and educators.

Students will develop their technique, artistry and performance skills alongside members of Sydney Dance Company led by Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela.

SDC's Pre-Professional Year includes a nationally recognised outcome (qualification CUA40113 Certificate IV in Dance) through a partnering arrangement with ATOD (RTO 31624). As an approved course, students mou may be eligible to apply for New Start Allowance or Youth Allowance.

Watch SDC's 2014 Pre-Professional Year in action.

Apply online here.

Deadline for applications: 18 August 2014.

Successful applicants will be invited to attend an invitation only audition on 14 September at Sydney Dance Company Studios.

Strut Dance seeks new administrator

Strut Dance, the national centre for choreographic development based in Perth, is looking to appoint a full-time Programme / Communications Administrator.


  • Delivery of a benchmark choreographic and performance programme to the nation
  • Assist in the planning of programs and individual projects
  • Coordinate the logistics and delivery of Strut programs and projects
  • Communicating our vision and opportunities to the wider world
  • Manage the communications between Strut, membership and the sector
  • Marketing to general public of Strut programs and projects
  • Digital media and Database management
  • Assist the Business and Development Manager in the administration of governance procedures.
  • Office administration to include management of petty cash, mail, office supplies and reception.

Salary negotiable. Email EOIs and C.V. to Strut Dance.

Deadline for applications: 8 August 2014

Job opportunity New Zealand Dance Company

Community & Education Manager

The New Zealand Dance Company is calling for applications for the contract position as Community and Education Officer.

The NZDC is a vibrant arts company funded at Kahikatea level (bi-annually) by Creative New Zealand, founded in 2011 and launched publicly in 2012. Its vision is to create a sustainable, permanent, high-calibre dance company, with an Auckland home that contributes to the fabric of NZ culture and is dedicated to creating new connections to dance.

The Community & Education Manager's primary role will be to contribute to the realisation of the company’s strategic plan within educational programming, particularly to grow the artform, grow the infrastructure and grow the audience for contemporary dance in Aotearoa.

ACHPER International Conference—call for papers

13 – 15 April Prince Alfred College, Adelaide

The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) International Conference Program Committee invites submissions for presentations at the 2015 conference. The Conference theme is ‘Values into Action—A Brighter Future’ with the following sub themes:

  • The educative purpose of HPE
  • Strengths based HPE
  • Learning in, through & about movement
  • Health literacy
  • Critical inquiry and problem solving in HPE
  • Sport pedagogies

All presentation types are required to submit an abstract for consideration in the program. Abstracts must be submitted via the online form with a maximum of 300 words. Once received, abstracts will be double blind reviewed and reviewers’ comments will be provided in due course. Papers that are accepted are eligible to be published in the Conference Proceedings.

Deadline for submissions: 10 September 2014

Visit the ACHPER website for more information.

ArtStart 2015—applications open now

Applications are now open for 2015, offering up to $10,000 to individual artists who have completed an accredited creative arts course (Certificate IV or higher) in the past three years and are carving out a career in any of the Australia Council supported artforms.

An ArtStart grant can fund services, resources, skills development and equipment to help build an income-generating career in the arts practice you have studied. You  could  use it to:

  • raise your profile
  • set up a studio practice
  • pay for business advice
  • work with a mentor
  • purchase tools of trade
  • and lots more!

ArtStart is open to recently graduated dancers, writers, theatre directors, poets, musicians, ceramicists, visual artists, costume or set designers, jewelers, playwrights, opera singers, community and cultural development practitioners and composers (and more!). ArtStart is designed to help grow arts careers—not to fund the development or presentation of creative works. Take the online eligibility quiz to see if you qualify.

To find out more about ArtStart visit the Australia Council website.

Deadline for applications: 22 September 2014

Dancehouse residency programs

The Housemate programs reflect Dancehouse's commitment to advancing innovative contemporary dance in Australia by instigating and nurturing rigorous discourse and encouraging wide-ranging, movement-based experimentation and innovative choreographic practices.

Both Performance and Research Housemate programs provide the artist with extensive time, generous financial support and a thoroughly mentored environment. The Housemate program is one of the very few fully paid artist-in-residence programs in the world. Artists are given between 8 and 14 weeks of free studio space, a salary package (or pro rata), and administrative, mentoring and production support. Housemates are selected by a peer advisory panel from a national call for applicants.

Housemate research program

August – December 2014

The Housemate Research program offered in the second half of each year concentrates on research and experimentation, with no imperative to present an outcome. It gives space to experimental, cutting-edge and sometimes even insular research, thus supporting the discovery of new ground in choreographic exploration.

Housemate performance program

March — July 2015

The Housemate Performance program in the first half of each year, focuses solely on creative development leading to a new work and formal performance season which is presented in one of the two Dancehouse theatres.

For more information and application forms visit Dancehouse website.

Creative development lab in Melbourne

'Next Stages' —launched in 2012—is a multi-year project developed by Dance Sites with long-time collaborators Dancehouse (Melbourne), Critical Path (Sydney) and STRUT (Perth). The program has brought together three artists from each partner organisation—Fiona Bryant (VIC), Rhiannon Newton (WA), Kay Armstrong (NSW)—and supports the development of three new dance works. The first phase was hosted by STRUT's Eyes Wide in Perth last November. Critical Path hosted a one-week residency 'Process and Method' in February 2014.

The third and final phase of 'Next Stages' is happening in Melbourne in August, commencing with a five-day laboratory focused on creative development for the three participating choreographers. This lab is followed by a three-day open program combining work-in-progress showings, networking sessions and skills development workshops with a view to building capacity for independent makers.

To find out more visit the Dancehouse website.

NAISDA auditions

Australia's premier Indigenous training college is holding auditions in September for developing artists to start studying in 2015. Abstudy will assist eligible participants with their travel and accommodation costs.

Applicants need to go to the NAISDA website to download an application form.

Deadline for applications: 10 August 2014

World Alliance for Arts Education Global Summit 2014 calls for abstracts

Theme: ‘Transform: from inception to innovation in arts education’

We invite you to share your research evidence, innovations and best practices in arts education globally.

Participation in this summit is by invitation only. If you are successful you will be part of approximately 90 presentations from quality arts educators across the globe in dance, drama, media arts, music, visual arts and cross-arts education.

Abstracts due 30 June 2014.

Summit date and location

26–28 November 2014
Griffith University, School of Education and Professional Studies, Mt Gravatt Campus, Brisbane, Australia

Dance, theatre and visual art: engaging students with disability

For those seeking to refresh their creative arts skills, this two day forum will offer primary and secondary teachers practical ways to incorporate the arts into their classroom practice.

Dance, Theatre and Visual Art: Engaging Students with Disability is a NSWIT accredited professional development conference. Sydney Opera House is a NSW Institute of Teachers’ endorsed provider of Institute Registered professional development for the maintenance of accreditation at levels of Proficient Teacher/Professional Competence. Discover how dance, music, theatre and visual arts can unlock your students' learning in stimulating and enjoyable ways.

Teachers will have the opportunity to discuss latest research, participate in creative arts workshops, learn about professional arts education programs and meet key leaders in the arts and disability network.

  • Dates: 5–6 September 2014
  • Cost: 2-day registration  $275

For more information visit or email the Sydney Opera House Education Team or call (02) 9250 7770

Musical theatre audition masterclass

This Masterclass will help demystify what can be a daunting process—the musical audition. Run by WAAPA’s Co-ordinator of Music Theatre David King and resident director Crispin Taylor, this Masterclass will give you techniques to deal with the most challenging musical audition.

The three-hour session includes mock auditions for singing, acting and dance and prepares auditionees for all challenges from cattle-call  to callback. It is suitable for professional and amateur performers, teachers and prospective WAAPA students.

2014 International Dance Day message

On 29 April every year, the international dance community celebrates International Dance Day.

We celebrate our art form's ability to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers and bring people together with a common language—dance.

Mourad Merzouki's 2014 International Dance Day message

Every artist takes pride in his art.

Every artist will always defend the art form whose encounter has changed his life. For that which he has sought and lost and for that which he has the burning desire to share: be it the echo of a voice, the discovered word, the interpretation of a text for humanity, the music without which the universe will stop speaking to us, or the movement which opens the doors to grace.

I have, for dance, not only the pride of a dancer and choreographer, but profound gratitude. Dance gave me my lucky break. It has become my ethics by virtue of its discipline and provided the means through which I discover the world daily.

Closer to me than anything else, it gives me strength each day through the energy and generosity as only dance can. Its poetry comforts me.

Could I say that I wouldn’t exist without dance? Without the capacity for expression it has given me? Without the confidence I have found in it to overcome my fears, to avoid dead ends?

Thanks to dance, immersed in the beauty and complexity of the world, I have become a citizen. A peculiar citizen who reinvents the social codes in the course of his encounters, remaining true to the values of the hip-hop culture which transforms negative energy into a positive force.

I live and breathe dance daily as an honour. But I am living with this honour deeply concerned. I witness around me the loss of bearings and the inability of some of the youth from the working class, growing up in tension and frustration, to imagine their future. I am one of them; so are we all. I am driven, perhaps more than others, by setting an example, to help them fuel their lust for life.

For isn’t society richer with the richness of each of us?

Culture, more than any discourse, unites. So have courage and take risks despite the obstacles and the hatred with which you will no doubt be confronted; the beauty of the world will always be by your side. Like dance has been for me. With its singular force to eliminate social and ethnic distinctions, leaving but the movement of bodies in their essence, of human beings returning to their pure expression, unique and shared.

I would like to end by quoting René Char whose words remind me daily to not let anyone confine us to scripted roles.

“Push your luck, hold on tight to your good fortune, and take your risk. Watching you, they will get used to it.”

So try, fail, start all over again but above all, dance, never stop dancing!

Translation: Petya Hristova and Charlene Lim

Thank you to the International Theatre Insititute's international dance committee, and the World Dance Alliance, who select an outstanding choreographer or dancer to write the message.

To read more about the day, or download the message in other languages, visit the International Dance Day website.

Pay the dancers

The payment of professional dancers has been an important discussion over the last few days for independent performers in Australia. Following an initial call-out for performers to be part of a new video clip for Kylie Minogue filming on Friday 25 April, concerns were raised about remuneration for participating dancers. 

Paul Malek of Dancechat and Jordan Beth Vincent, President of Ausdance Victoria have helped raised awareness of the ongoing problems associated with the valuing of performers in the commercial dance sector, noting this is not an isolated incident.

Ausdance believes that dancers are trained professionals who study and work hard to maintain their performance abilities. Like other artists, they deserve recognition and remuneration for the work they do. There may be times a dancer chooses to donate their skills and time, but we hope a professional video opportunity would come with professional remuneration.

The Media Entertainment Arts Alliance have been in negotiations with the production company since the filming was announced, resulting in award payments now being offered to performers under the Broadcast and Recorded Entertainment Award.

Ausdance and MEAA will continue discussions with dancers on how best to support dancers to access appropriate remuneration.

Ausdance Victoria is currently surveying free-lance and studio based teachers of dance on rates of pay and qualifications. Participate here before 30 June.

If you have any thoughts on this topic please leave them in the comments below.

You can read more about the issue here.

Contribute to the twitter discussion

Talking dance—meet the makers at the 2014 Australian Performing Arts Market

Ausdance celebrates Australian dance makers at APAM 2014

In February 2014, Ausdance National and Ausdance Queensland hosted Talking dancemeet the makers, a networking event for the dance makers participating in the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM).

The following slideshow, which was projected during the event, showcases the latest work of Australian dance companies and independent dance artists who were presenting work at APAM 2014.

NAAE concerned for future of UNESCO cultural program

National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), have expressed concern UNESCO has recently voted to downgrade its cultural program (including arts education), thus risking the program's eventual elimination. Writing to the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, NAAE have outlined concerns about the possible downgrading of UNESCO's cultural program, and requesting Australia's representatives prioritise this program when it votes again at its November meeting. NAAE also acknowledges the leadership role UNESCO has played as an active advocate for Arts Education internationally.

Toshi Kawaguchi, Secretary-General of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO has recently responsed:

Australia is not a member of the Executive Board. As such, we were not involved in the decision. The Australian National Commission for UNESCO intends to participate in the General Conference, however, and has registered National Advocates for Arts Education’s (NAAE) views. We appreciate your input as the peak national arts education association.

Australia has much to offer in the cultural and arts education sphere and places value in arts education, including working to elevate creativity and cultural expression nationally.  As you note, education ministers endorsed the Australian Curriculum for the arts in July 2013 so that for the first time, all Australian students from Foundation to Year Ten will have access to an arts education that covers five art forms of drama, dance, media arts, music and visual arts.  To the credit of cultural bodies such as NAAE and Drama Australia, the Australian Curriculum for the arts recognises the opportunities that the arts learning area offers students in relation to further developing their general capabilities such as literacy, personal and social capability, and intercultural understanding.

NAAE will continue to monitor the progress of the decision and the outcome of the General Conference.

Dance and science—knowledge and creativity.

There is so much we still have to learn about dance. Human bodies have been dancing for centuries and some of our training techniques have been passed on from generation to generation.

At Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Dr Emma Redding, head of dance science, is leading a growing group of researchers and students applying scientific methods to the dance training we do every day, seeking to gain knowledge about the body and the impact of dance.

Tanja Liedtke fellowship

Congratulations to Joseph Simons of Dubbo who is this year's recipient of the Tanja Liedtke Fellowship (TLF).

The fellowship will take place in Berlin and Frankfurt in August/September of 2013. The two key objectives of the 2013 Fellowship are:

  1. To provide a program of opportunity for a developing Australian dancer/choreographer to expand and develop his/her creative boundaries,
  2. To enable young artists to meet and work collaboratively in the context of international exchange and experimentation.

Previous TLF recipients have been Antony Hamilton (2009) and Katarzyna Sitarz (2011).

Read full Media Release.

For more information visit Tanja Liedtke Foundation.

National Dance Forum program

Opening and closing with interactive visioning sessions, the program featured a full morning 'Open Space' session on the Sunday tapping the pulse of the forum, and through it that of the dance sector in Australia.

Keynote artists-in-conversation were Dalisa Pigram, co-Artistic Director of Marrugeku, with David Pledger, and Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre Garry Stewart with Anne Thompson.

TAFE funding cuts and the arts

At the recent meeting of the Tertiary Dance Council of Australia (TDCA), serious concerns were raised about the massive cuts to TAFE training in several eastern States.

In this article for Artshub, Tamara Winikoff, Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts, also raises these concerns, and the broader issues of career pathways for artists. While Tamara focuses on the visual arts, much of her analysis could be applied to dance in the TAFE sector, especially with the imminent introduction of the new Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

We'll be making our concerns known to the Victorian, New South Wales, South Australian and Queensland governments about their proposals to so drastically cut TAFE funding. We suggest you read Tamara's article and respond to your own governments about the future of arts training in your State.

Good news from major performing arts companies

The latest Australia Council Snapshot of Major Performing Arts Company Key Trends shows that Australia’s major performing arts companies are robust, stable and have continued to expand their city audiences in line with population growth. They have also extended their reach and engagement in regional and remote communities.

A night to remember at the Australian Dance Awards

The 2012 Australian Dance Awards were presented in spectacular fashion at the beautiful new Heath Ledger Theatre in the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia on 1 September.

Catherine Osborne (l) President, Ausdance WA and Lauren Malkin (r) Client Manager AON Risk Services, presented Lucinda Sharp with her award for Services to Dance. Photo: Matthew Thompsett

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