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First National Dance Forum 2017 speakers announced

We know the dance sector wants a chance to share, inspire, connect and to be inspired by the whole dance industry—that includes the broader ecology, from independents to majors. At NDF 2017 we'll hear inspiring talks from our National Dance Forum 2017 speakers.

Here are our first speakers for this year's forum.

Wesley Enoch

Wesley Enoch Wesley Enoch is the Director of the Sydney Festival. He has been a theatre director/writer for over 25 years specialising in Aboriginal Theatre. Wesley has been Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company 2010–15, Ilbijerri 2003–06 and Kooemba Jdarra 1994–97; Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company 2000–01; Associate Artistic Director Company B Belvoir 2007–10, and he worked on the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Wesley has worked with all the large theatre companies, arts centres and festivals in Australia and won multiple awards. Wesley was a Trustee of the Sydney Opera House 2006–13 and is the Chair of the ATSI Strategy Panel for the Australia Council.

Sue Healey

Sue HealeySue Healey is a choreographer and filmmaker based in Sydney. Experimenting with form and perception, Healey creates dance for diverse spaces and contexts: theatres, galleries and the camera. Her work has toured to Asia, USA, UK and throughout Australia and New Zealand. Healey received a Creative Fellowship in 2014 from the Australia Council for Arts, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne 2015. Her films are widely acclaimed and have won awards including five Australian Dance Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film/New Media and Independent Dance, winner Reeldance Australia and winner Il Coreografo Elettronico, Napolidanza, Italy. She has created ten major films with cinematographer Judd Overton, her key film collaborator. Her 2017 films include En Route for the new Wynscreen public art project at Wynyard train station and City as Portrait Gallery currently being exhibited at the Customshouse, Circular Quay. Sue is currently filming and creating On View: Asia, a major performance and film installation, produced by West Kowloon Cultural District Authority in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 2017/2019. She recently choreographed for the New Zealand Dance Company ‘Kiss the Sky’ season in Auckland June 2017. www.suehealey.com

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

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

2017 Australian Dance Awards shortlist

Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees for one of the country’s most prestigious performing arts awards. The Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour outstanding achievement.

Dancer on stage floor leaning back with head tilted skyward and one arm reaching up.iD by Bangarra Dance Theatre. Choreographed by Stephen Page. Photography by Jeff Busby

Award for Services to Dance

  • Ben Cobham
  • Nicolette Fraillon AM
  • Jennifer Irwin
  • Philip Piggin

Award for Services to Dance Education

  • Sally Chance
  • Lesley Graham
  • Katrina Rank
  • Kim Walker

Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance

  • Country Arts SA – Dance Jungle Gym
  • Liz Lea, Canberra Dance Theatre & collaborators – Great Sport!
  • Sprung!! Integrated Theatre Inc. – Encounters
  • Tracks Dance Company – Landed

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance

  • Catapult Dance, The Flipside Project – In Search of the Lost Things
  • QL2 Dance – Connected
  • Slide Dance – Secrets
  • Tracks Dance Company – Milpirri (Kurdiji)

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

  • Anouk van Dijk – Rule of Thirds (Chunky Move)
  • Lucy Guerin – The Dark Chorus (Lucy Guerin Inc)
  • Kyle Page & Amber Haines – Rainbow Vomit (Dancenorth)
  • Natalie Weir – We Who Are Left (Queensland Ballet)

Outstanding Performance by a Company

  • The Australian Ballet – Nijinsky
  • Bangarra Dance Theatre – OUR Land People Stories
  • Queensland Ballet – Strictly Gershwin
  • Sydney Dance Company – Untamed

Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance

  • Australian Dance Artists – Seven Impossible Pieces for Four Dancers
  • Dance Makers Collective – DADS
  • Praxis – Dark Matter
  • Liesel Zink – The Stance

Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer

  • Natalie Allen – Decadence Perth 2016 (STRUT Dance)
  • Amber Haines – Syncing Feeling (Dancenorth)
  • Ako Kondo – Coppélia (The Australian Ballet)
  • Clare Morehen – Lest We Forget (Queensland Ballet)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer

  • Richard Causer – Black (Expressions Dance Company)
  • Benjamin Hancock – The Dark Chorus (Lucy Guerin Inc)
  • Kevin Jackson – Nijinsky (The Australian Ballet)
  • James Vu Anh Pham – Rule of Thirds (Chunky Move)

Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance or Musical Theatre

  • Sarah Boulter – Dance Academy (ABC TV)
  • Jack Chambers – Singin’ in the Rain (TEG Dainty, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises & Michael Cassel Group)
  • Company 2 – Scotch & Soda
  • The Dream Dance Company – The Secret Society

Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film

  • Juliet Burnett, Nicholas Robert Thayer & Gabrielle Adamidis – Letting Blood
  • Lucy Doherty – Mandala (One Dance Collective)
  • The Samaya Wives – The Knowledge Between Us
  • Sally Wicks & Dan Crestani – Empathy is the Devil (Sumi Productions)

Call for expressions of interest—present at National Dance Forum 2017

2017 National Dance Forum

25–26 September, Victorian College of the Arts

Dance in the digital domainPhoto: Sydney Dance Company. Gideon Obarzanek’s L’Chaim! Photo by Wendell Teodoro.

NDF 2017 will address four key questions:

  • How do we approach or adapt artistic practice to take advantage of new digital technology, and use it to create meaning? Or is technology an art form in its own right?
  • How is work curated and created for digital distribution?
  • How can artists expand their reach to new and existing audiences?
  • What can we take from other industries that have successfully (or unsuccessfully) navigated digital disruption and/or developed an effective digital futures agenda?

Expressions of interest: 10-minute presentation

We welcome your proposal to make a 10-minute presentation about your work that directly addresses one or all of the four key questions. The program will be shaped by these questions, and we will choose presentations based on innovative practice, relevance to the topics, and by hearing about some of the challenges faced in creating work in a digital environment.

Expressions of interest: 3-minute pitch presentation

We invite practitioners who use digital technology in, or for, their work to demonstrate innovation and/or digital distribution strategies in a 3-minute pitch session.

National performing arts healthcare body to host symposium tackling health and wellbeing challenges

The Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH) will be holding its symposium 'Don’t Tell Me to Rest!—The Reality of Performing Arts Healthcare' on 25 November 2017, in Kingscliff, NSW. ASPAH recognises that performing artists face unique pressures and health challenges in a healthcare system that is lacking support and education to address their needs.

National Dance Forum 2017

The 2017 National Dance Forum (NDF2017) 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. 

NDF2017 will take place at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, 25–26 September 2017 and will follow the Australian Dance Awards (Arts Centre Melbourne, 24 September 2017).

Dance artists, companies, presenters and researchers looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend. 

The NDF2017 program will be released in July. For further details, updates and to contribute, visit the NDF2017 page on the Ausdance National website. Follow NDF 2017 on Twitter, #natdanceforum, and Ausdance National Facebook.

National forum to explore dance practice in the digital age

MEDIA RELEASE (90Kb PDF)

16 May 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.

Led by the dance sector’s advocate for 40 years—Ausdance National—the fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) will take place at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, 25–26 September 2017 and will follow the Australian Dance Awards (Arts Centre Melbourne, 24 September 2017).

Dance artists, companies, presenters and researchers looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend.

National Indigenous Dance Forum

BlakDance presents the National Indigenous Dance Forum (NIDF), 5–7 MAY 2017, Melbourne as part of the Bullarto Wonthaggi (everyone gathering together) program of Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival.

To attend, complete the Expression of Interest Form by Wednesday April 5.

Ausdance welcomes return of Catalyst funds to the Australia Council

Ausdance National and the Ausdance network welcome news today that the Arts Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, has decided to return Catalyst funds to the Australia Council. 

The sudden removal of funds from the Australia Council, the loss of transparent peer reviewed decision-making processes and uncertainty about the role of Catalyst have caused enormous disruption and distress across the sector.

Ausdance National President-elect, Associate Professor Gene Moyle, said: ‘The Minister’s decision to return remaining Catalyst funds to the Australia Council is a very welcome step. The Minister is to be congratulated for acting on the strong messages he has received about the loss of highly-regarded dance companies and organisations, and has moved to address the ongoing concerns of the arts profession.

‘We now want to ensure that some funding balance will be returned to the small to medium dance sector in particular, so we welcome the Minister’s comment that “This will allow the Australia Council to continue to focus on supporting small to medium arts organisations.'

We look forward to working with the Minister and the Australia Council to ensure that this goal is realised.

Contact: Gene Moyle (0411 640 012) or Julie Dyson (041 2211 513)

Media release, 18 March 2017 (84 Kb PDF)

National Advocates for Arts Education report—March 2017

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has had a very productive start to 2017, with the NAAE paper advocating for inclusion of the Arts in the STEM agenda being submitted to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the new economy. The paper was co-authored by John Saunders and Sandra Gattenhof (Drama Australia), with input from all other artform members of NAAE, including dance educators Jeff Meiners (SA) and Sue Fox (Qld).

While most people only refer to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) when discussing innovation and creativity, the Arts are considered in many countries to be an essential element of an innovative economy, hence the increasing advocacy for STEAM in Australia. We note with real concern that the arts were not included in the Federal Government’s original National Innovation & Science Agenda, nor do most submissions to the current inquiry mention the Arts.

However, strong submissions were made for a STEAM agenda by several prominent organisations, including the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), the Australian Copyright Council, and Arts Educators, Practitioners & Researchers Australia, as well as several universities.

NAAE wants to bring together all those advocates for STEAM and develop a new strategy for increasing the voice of the Arts in this country’s innovation agenda.

To keep up with current NAAE agendas and discussions about future activities, go to our NAAE Facebook page and join the conversation.

Julie Dyson – Chair

World Dance Alliance update March 2017

This year’s WDA Global Summit will be held from 23–28 July in St John’s, Newfoundland, a beautiful Canadian city on the east coast. Titled ‘Dancing from the Grassroots’, there will be many exciting events—performances, a conference including Pecha Kucha presentations, panel discussions and papers, and of course a Choreolab and master classes. We hope many Australians have made submissions to participate and look forward to once again having great representation from Australia at all events. Registrations will be open shortly.

Another wonderful opportunity available to Australian Ausdance members is the International Young Choreographer Program (ICYP), which offers fellowships to eight young artists: three from Taiwan, three from other Asia Pacific countries, and one each from WDA Europe and WDA Americas.

This year another Australian, Scott Ewen, has been selected ICYP in Taiwan, to be held in July this year. Scott also attended the WDA Choreolab as a a highly regarded choreographer last year in Seoul. Congratulations Scott!

Ausdance members are automatically members of the WDA through Ausdance National’s partnership arrangement that includes publication of Asia Pacific Channels, access to choreographic fellowships, and discounted event attendance. Make sure you’re an Ausdance member before applying for any of these events.

2016 Choreolab participantsScott Ewen (front) with dancers and choreographers from the 2016 Choreolab at the WDA festival in Seoul. Choreolab convenor Jin-Wen Yu is kneeling, on the right. Photo: Suling Chou.

Ausdance advocacy report

Ausdance National's dance sector advocacy update ​Ausdance National's new interim National Executive has formally appointed Ausdance National (volunteer) representatives to attend and speak for Ausdance at the following organisations and forums: ArtsPeak, National Advocates for Arts Education, World Dance Alliance and Tertiary Dance Council of Australia.

ArtsPeak update

Ongoing work

As well as recovering from the ArtsPeak National Arts Election Debate six months ago, there has been ongoing work: following up with the Australia Council on the Service Organisations Scan (complete, to be released by the Australia Council in the first quarter of 2017); advocating for the arts courses that will be affected by the VET student loans proposal (ongoing); and continuing to voice the sector’s concerns about the impact of the 2015 budget changes. The Executive has also played a part in Arts Front, and is currently monitoring (with great interest) the new initiative for a Myer, Tim Fairfax Family and Keir Foundations cultural think tank.

LEAP Together Conference report

Toronto, Canada, 11–12 Nov 2016

LEAP Together: Career and Life Transitions in Dance and Sport was one of the key initiatives of a pioneering partnership between Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO), and is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. 

The conference included a wide diversity of stakeholders from the sport and dance sectors to learn and exchange knowledge on various topics related to transition for high performers – professional dancers and elite athletes.

Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy

The Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training invites you to make a submission to the inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the New Economy 

'On Wednesday 9 November 2016 the Committee adopted an inquiry referred by the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, asking the Committee to inquire into and report on matters that ensure Australia’s tertiary system—including universities and public and private providers of vocational education and training—can meet the needs of a future labour force focused on innovation and creativity.'

Make your submission by addressing the terms of reference by 13 January 2017.

VET FEE-HELP funding cuts—impact on professional dance training

VET FEE-HELP funding cuts—impact on professional dance training—media release (246 KB PDF)

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Minister for Education and Training
PC Box 6100, Senate
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

Ausdance is deeply concerned about your decision to include some of Australia's leading professional dance training courses in the crackdown on courses eligible for VET student loans.

We are particularly concerned about the statement that these professional dance training courses are being subsidised because they are 'used simply to boost enrolments, or provide 'lifestyle' choices, but don't lead to work'.

2016 Australian Dance Awards recipients

The annual Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian dance.

Presented by Ausdance and Harlequin Floors, the 2016 Australian Dance Awards were held at The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, Sunday 18 September at 6.30 pm as part of the MoveMe Festival 2016. 

Ausdance thanks presenting partner Harlequin Floors, Gaynor-Minden, Equity, and AON Risk Services. Ausdance is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.  

The Australian Dance Awards are produced by the Australian Dance Council—Ausdance National.

Terri Charlesworth was awarded the 2016 Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Outstanding Performance by a Company

Bangarra Dance Theatre's Lore for an uplifting, intense and beautiful double bill, incorporating myriad choreographic styles performed by an ensemble of versatile and superb dancers. 

Outstanding performance by a company: Bangarra Dance Theatre for Lore

Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer

David Mack in Sydney Dance Company's Frame of Mind for a mesmerising and sensational performance, demonstrating exceptional technique and clarity of line, along with extraordinary focus, strength and fluidity.

David Mack performing in Frame of Mind

Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer

Elma Kris in Bangarra Dance Theatre's Lore for her charismatic and stand-out performance in a pivotal role that showed great wisdom, skill and ability to connect with an audience through her commanding and magnificent storytelling.

Elma Kris performing in Lore

Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance

​​​​Sue Healey for On View: Live Portraits—a sophisticated, perceptive and ingenious work that was entertaining, beautiful and powerful, with stunning, innovative choreography and photography throughout.

Performers in On View: Live Portraits

Services to Dance

Roy David Page (composer, performer, Nunukul Munaldjali man) for his many talents across multiple genres and art forms, and particularly for his prolific production of memorable and exceptional compositions for Bangarra Dance Theatre.

Services to dance

Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance, Musicals or Physical Theatre

Circa Contemporary Circus for Il Ritorno—a compelling and dramatic story presented via circus, acrobatics, opera and physical theatre with astounding vision, technique, design and music.

Circa performing Il Ritorno 

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance 

Force Majeure & Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT) for Jump First, Ask Later—a brilliant and life-altering collaboration creating an urban choreographic portrait of the culturally diverse streets of Western Sydney as experienced by the young performers.

Powerhouse Youth Theatre & Force Majeure performing Jump First, Ask Later

Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media

Meryl Tankard for Michelle’s Story—an intimate and uplifting film about Meryl Tankard’s long-time friend and colleague Michelle Ryan—a testament to a dancer’s transformative ability to gather strength through her art. 

Performers in Michelle's Story dancing in front of white salt dunes

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

Lucy Guerin for Motion Picture (Lucy Guerin Inc.)—an innovative, sophisticated and surprising work inspired by the film noir aesthetic and meticulously crafted by a visionary choreographer.

Performer in Motion Picture

Services to Dance Education  

Dr Joan Pope OAM (teacher, Dalcroze Eurhythmics educator & researcher, community activist)—for more than 50 years of inspired and passionate leadership, for her commitment to education through dance and music and for a lasting impact on generations of young artists and communities.

Joan Pope teaching a movement class to primary school students

Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance

Dancenorth for Twilight—Cheryl Stock’s spectacular, multi-site, intergenerational and culturally diverse dance and music journey from dusk to dark in a meaningful and memorable anniversary celebration of Dancenorth and Townsville. 

Performers in Twilight dance beside the ocean

2016 Australian Dance Awards nominees’ citations

The Australian Dance Awards citations are based on information provided by nominators and are written by Leanne Craig, Australian Dance Awards nominations coordinator, in consultation with the Australian Dance Awards nominations panel.

Australian Dance Awards 2016 shortlist

Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees. 

Presented by Ausdance and Harlequin Floors, the 2016 Australian Dance Awards will be held at The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, Sunday 18 September at 6.30 pm as part of the MoveMe Festival 2016.

Get your tickets from Ticketek.

2016 Shortlist Australian Dance AwardsOchre Contemporary Dance Company performing at the 2014 Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe beach, WA. Photo: Dana Weeks Photography.

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