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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

Strut dance presents master workshops

Riley Watts

4 – 16 August

Riley Watts is a soloist from the Forsythe Company and an official Forsythe Improvisation Teacher (FIT), engaged all over the world. He has also been working closely with the Catherine Stevens and MARCS Institute at UWS and scientists from University College of London, University of Bangor, University of Bielefeld, and Brunel University, analysing complex neurological tracking systems for the dancing body. Riley will be concentrating on improvisation and compositional technique, along with Forsythe's 'Duo'.

Register before 18 July.

Ohad Naharin's Movement Language

1 – 12 September

This is a chance to engage with the phenomenon of Gaga training and the exuberant and luscious repertoire of Ohad Naharin. Gaga is also the movement language that the Batsheva Dance Company uses as its daily training and research. This master workshop will include both Gaga—Ohad Naharin's Movement Language as well as choreography from across Naharin's exquisite repertoire.

STRUT is very happy to announce that Rachael Osbourne, former dancer at Batsheva will be your teacher. Gaga and STRUT are aiming to build these master workshops towards a performance of Ohad Naharin’s choreography in 2016.

Register before 15 August

Australia Council dance grants 2014

Dance grants

Closing dates are fast approaching for these 2014 Australia Council for the Arts grants for dance grants:

  • Artform Development: provides organisations with funding for programs and services that benefit a range of dance artists. Applications close 15 August 2014.
  • Fellowships: to support an established dance artist to undertake creative or professional development. Applications close 31 July 2014.
  • Creative Australia—New Work: for the creative development of new artistic works in dance. Applications close 15 August 2014.
  • Cité Residency: three-month residency at the Australia Council's residential studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Applications close 15 August 2014.

Visit the Australia Council website for more information.

For more information about funding for dance read our factsheet Funding Sources for Dance Artists.

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.

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.

Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship

The Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship (JEDS) is published annually in September by the World Dance Alliance (WDA). It is designed to serve the needs of international dance scholars who are currently enrolled in a graduate program or within 5 years of having graduated from a graduate program in dance or a related field.

JEDS is published online as an open resource. Articles are selected to assure dance scholarship from around the world is included in each publication.Each article submission is reviewed by two international dance scholars with no more than 16 submissions accepted for the annual publication. Articles are chosen based on originality of research and the contributions each makes to the future of dance praxis (theory and practice).

JEDS Vol. 2 will be published 1 September, 2014

JEDS 2015 Vol. 3, will be comprised only of blind-reviewed papers selected from those presented at the 2014 World Dance Alliance Global Summit in Angers, France.

Visit the JEDS website to find out more.

Accessible Arts masterclasses 2013

Join leading choreographers, Sue Healey, Dean Walsh and Philip Channells in the Catalyst Dance Masterclass Series.

Accessible Arts is hosting a series of three masterclasses tailored to dancers with and without physical or sensory disability, and people with mental illness or acquired brain injury.

New Asia–Pacific Channels edition

The latest edition of Channels is jam-packed with exciting new dance activity in Asia and the Pacific. There are new dance networks, events, research, journals, books and more.

Some of the highlights include a new Nepal chapter of World Dance Alliance; plans for the 2014 Global Dance Summit, which will be held at the beautiful Centre National de la Dance Contemporaine in Angers, France; and Our Roots Right Now—The Research Forum and Festival of Thai/ASEAN Contemporary Theatre, at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Collage of dance event highlights from the 2013 edition of Asia-Pacific Channels1] Ter Wei Lun from Lee Wushu Arts Theatre in Wushu Madness II–The Realm Between, choreographed by Lee Swee Seng, in the Showpiece Performances of MyDance Festival 2013, at Panggung Bandaraya on 31 May 2013. Photo: Huneid Tyeb. 2] Kathak dance performed by Kalanidhi Indira Sangeet Mahabidhayalaya at International Dance Day on 29 April 2013 at Yalam Maya Kendra in Kathmandu, organised by the newly inaugurated WDAAP Nepal chapter. Photo by Raju Shakya & Prabin Lal Singh. 3] A ceremonial dance from the West New Britain province of Papua New Guinea, performed during the Foundation Day Celebrations at Port Moresby Grammar School on 4 April 2013. Photo: Naomi Faik-Simmer 4] Dr Maya Krishna Rao in her performance Ravanama, during the seminar ‘The Moving Space: Women in Performance’ at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata, on 3 February 2013. Photo: Kolkata Sanved 5] Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun in his section of the tripartite Fire Fire Fire, on 28 January 2013 in the ‘Our Roots Right Now’ research forum and festival at Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts. Photo: L. Skar 6] The Nora Thummanit Thaksin University Group who performed Nora: Klong Hong in January 2013 in the ‘Our Roots Right Now’ research forum and festival at Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts.

NAAE welcomes new Arts Curriculum

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has warmly welcomed news the ACARA Board has approved the new The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. NAAE, of which Ausdance is a member, has strongly supported the development of the arts curriculum and its central principle of the entitlement of every young Australian to an arts education, one that includes all five artforms – dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts.

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.

Dance, young people & change—diversity in action

The collaboration between World Dance Alliance (WDA) and dance and the Child international (daCi) produced one of the biggest global dance festivals ever held—Dance, Young People and Change. Hosted by the Taiwan National University of the Arts (TNUA) in Taipei, the event attracted young people from North and South America, Europe, the UK and most Asia-Pacific nations.

The festival/conference was a multi-layered event that included keynote addresses, ‘dance flavour’ taster classes, workshops, forums and paper presentations. It brought together young people, their parents, mentors and educators from across the world to reflect on key issues and future directions for dance in young people’s lives.

Ann Tai, Taiwan representative for daCI and teacher at TNUA, exuberant in the opening parade.

There was also a wonderful range of performances by young people, a festival of international dance academies, and an amazing program of Taiwanese dance performed by Taiwan’s professional companies and groups, including Cloud Gate 2 and Dance Forum. Teachers attended masterclasses and paper presentations and exchanged ideas about approaches to dance learning, teaching and curriculum for young people.

BlakDance 2012 triumph

BlakDance 2012 festival in Brisbane highlighted a wonderful range of contemporary Indigenous dance from Australia and New Zealand.

Choreographers, dancers, industry members and audiences came together to celebrate and gain a deeper understanding of contemporary Indigenous dance practice.

‘Shades of us’—a stunning AYDF finale

It was fantastic to be able to join the Ausdance NSW team, the choreographers and more than 150 young people from all over Australia on the last day of the Australian Youth Dance Festival at NAISDA Dance College in Gosford NSW.

Shades of Us, presented in Mt Penang Gardens on the final evening, was a performance that grew out of an intensive week of creative development with choreographers Sue Healey, Philip Channells, Anton, Kay Armstrong, Matt Cornel, Adelina Larsson, Lee Pemberton, Vicki Van Hout and artistic director Rowan Marchingo.

Communities making dance in Tasmania

Tasmanian Regional Arts (TRA) is leading The Dance Project in partnership with Mature Artists Dance Experience (MADE), Bust a Move and Tasdance.

This community dance project is happening in three Tasmanian regions—the North East, North West and the South—to develop and present three new contemporary dance works with, by and about communities. Evolving from the heart of each community, these works explore place, kinship and identity as experienced by the residents of these regions.

Building the Indigenous contemporary dance collection

Ever since we convened the 2005 Creating Pathways national Indigenous dance forum in Canberra, Lee Christofis—one of the keynote speakers, and now curator of dance at the National Library of Australia—has been keen to develop the NLA's Indigenous dance collection.

In the March 2012 edition of National Library News, Lee discusses some of the material now held in the collection and outlines the importance of its provenance.

Building the Indigenous contemporary dance collection makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in the development of Australian contemporary Indigenous dance.

More evidence that dance benefits the elderly

There are some startling new figures that support dancing as a protective strategy in preventing dementia. A Stanford University report Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter makes the following comparisons:

... almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia. There can be cardiovascular benefits of course, but the focus of this study was the mind. There was one important exception: the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.

  • Reading—35% reduced risk of dementia
  • Bicycling and swimming—0%
  • Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week—47%
  • Playing golf—0%
  • Dancing frequently—76%.

The same university offers other insights into the benefits of dance in Thoughts, philosophies and musings on social dance, a useful reference for community dance practitioners in Australia.

New research with dance and the elderly

New research by the University of Western Sydney is demonstrating that folk dance has clear benefits for the health of the elderly. You may have missed this great report from the ABC’s 7.30 program on 4 January.

We’re very interested in research that proves the links between dance and health, and have been in touch with the researchers to find out more.

Want to know more?

On your toes: Is there a different approach to aging? Listen to Glen Murray from MADE (Mature Artists Dance Experience) and Beverley Giles, an expert in the care of people affected by dementia, talking about how dance provides the three elements essential to health and well-being in mature adults.

Read Glen's paper about how older people can bring great riches to art-making.

Youth dance—where does it fit?

In responding to our suggestion of a campaign to support the smaller key dance organisations, Ruth Osborne, artistic director of QL2 Dance, came in to discuss some of the issues youth dance companies are experiencing.