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Write for Brolga—an Australian journal about dance

Submissions are open for Brolga #41 under the broad theme 'A place for dance'.

Key information

Brolga covers

The art and community ecology in which dance exists is delicate and complex. As with the fight for survival by animals in compromised environments perhaps it is the ‘charismatic’ or ‘innovative’ artists who survive. If so, where is the place for the dancers and dance makers who exist outside the realm of publically notable; who eschew spectacle or even notoriety? And how is it possible for a dancer to find their dance place in the rich history of skill and experimentation?

How does an individual place their practice/work so that sits alongside others while still allowing their ‘voice’ to be heard? What are the structures that are supporting or need to be overcome and how is it possible to make art that satisfies many competing factors, not least being the dance artist’s own interests and desires in participating in a fragile ecology of dance practices? 

Possible elements of the theme may include:

  • Dancing outside the mainstream
  • Participatory performance
  • Dancing in alternative places/spaces
  • Non-traditional performer–audience relationships
  • Varying platforms for the development and performance of dance
  • Accessing support for dance: Is government funding a viable mechanism for resourcing dance work? 

WA hosts the 2016 Australian Dance Awards

Ochre Contemporary Dance CompanyThe 2016 Australian Dance Awards image is from Western Australian company Ochre Contemporary Dance Company. Photo: Dana Weeks

The dance community in Western Australia is gearing up to host the 2016 Australian Dance Awards at the Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth, on Sunday 18 September. Ausdance WA is working with Claudia Alesssi, creative producer of this year’s event, to curate a truly memorable evening, showcasing Western Australian dance companies, and more.

Ausdance WA, with Co3, STRUT Dance and Performing Lines, will present the 2016 MoveMe Festival in the lead up to the Awards, taking over the State Theatre Centre from 15 until 18 September, to present performances of Western Australian and international works, Prime Cuts showing of independent dance works, TeachMe Workshops for dance teachers, ShowMe Forum, in association with Circuitwest, for producers and presenters, artists talks, and satellite events from West Australian Ballet, Force Majeure and Ochre.  MoveMe Festival passes are on sale now at the early bird price starting at $65. One pass gets you into all the main events and more, including discounted tickets for the Australian Dance Awards, as the Festival transforms the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia for a week of big new shows and big new ideas. Purchase your Festival Pass through Ticketek Australia. 

The 2016 Australian Dance Awards are sponsored by Harlequin Floors, Aon Australia, Gaynor Minden, Equity Foundation and Dance Informa, with West Australian sponsorship from K2 Dance, The Good Store, The Chapel Space, Kindy Dance Time and APS Physio. The event is supported by the state government of Western Australia through the Department of Culture and the Arts, the Perth Theatre Trust, and the Australia Council for the Arts. We are truly grateful for the support of our sponsors as, without them, the event could not happen.

The 2016 Australian Dance Awards

  • 6.30 pm Sunday 18 September 2016
  • Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Perth
  • Tickets: ticketek

For further information, contact Gabrielle Sullivan, director Ausdance WA T 08 9322 6101  E [email protected]

Dancehouse’s Housemate Residency

The Housemate Residency is about accompanying dance artists through the entire creative process, from vision to realisation. The program offers time to explore, space to examine possibility and the financial support to bring the Resident's project to fruition.

EOI submissions close 7 July 2016 at midnight.

Dancer/choreographer Sarah Aitkin looks through a cardboard tubeSarah Aiken's 2015 Housemate Performance Set.

Past Housemates

Undisciplining Dance Symposium

Undisciplining Dance Symposium 30 June – 2 July 2016

The Undisciplining Dance Symposium brings artists and researchers in the fields of dance, choreography, performance, visual arts, spatial design and architecture together to imagine divergent futures and ways of effecting change and movement.

This unprecedented gathering of international artists in the field of dance, performance and creative arts research rethinks disciplinarity, the role of the body and live art in today's diverse cultural and political climate.

undisciplining dance symposium poster. 30 June – 2 July 2016What can art do for us? Can the arts enable new value systems? How do the arts provoke and 'undiscipline' us, creating space for us to come together differently in uncertain times. Image: Claire O'Neill - Fieldwork for (extra) ordinary folk.

The Undisciplining Dance Symposium will mobilise inspired, fluid, surprising and inclusive approaches to arts research through presentations, performances, workshops and performative lectures by leading international artists and scholars.

International keynote presenters offer diverse perspectives from Europe, the Americas and the Pacific.

  • Artist and Māori scholar, Dr Moana Nepia from the University of Hawaii will open the symposium with a special performative event at Waipapa Marae.
  •  Globally renowned in the critique of performance studies and choreography Professor André Lepecki from New York University launches his new book ‘Singularities’ and speaks to the significant political movements of experimental performance.
  • Swedish artist Efva Lilja will perform her solo, There once was: A House, A Cow, A Woman and present a lecture that speaks to the role of art and research in politically complex and troubled times.

The Undisciplining Dance Symposium is hosted by Choreographic Research Aotearoa and Dance Studies, Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries, the University of Auckland.

Dancenorth experiment fills in the blanks

Media release

Next week Dancenorth opens their tour of the double bill ‘If _ Was _’

Tour performance dates and locations

  • 9–11 June, Dancenorth, Townsville
  • 15 June, Mackay Entertainment Centre
  • 16 June Proserpine Entertainment Centre 
  • 23–25 June, Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane
  • 29 June – 2 July, the Substation, Melbourne

Delve into the fanciful and illusionary worlds of two extraordinary choreographers, Stephanie Lake and Ross McCormack, as they fall down the rabbit hole of imagination and fill in the blanks for Dancenorth’s most recent double bill.

Female dancer dressed in green leans towards her own shadow cast across the grass.Photo: Amber Haines

Dancenorth Artistic Director Kyle Page set the challenge for each artist to select sound from the one sound score, create costumes from one pattern, utilise lighting from one design and work to a set duration. It is within these parameters that If_Was_ comes to life.

'If _ Was _ is a big dance experiment, we set a clear framework for Stephanie and Ross and literally invited each of them to fill in the blanks'.

'Stephanie and Ross are two of the most extraordinary choreographic talents of our time and they will each generate something profoundly different in response to the equal limitations', said Page.

'The human mind is biologically predisposed to draw from a personal library of thoughts and feelings to generate unique interpretation, we each draw upon past experiences to create sensory representations of objects, concepts and ideas', said Page.

Hosting Lake and McCormack in Townsville to create the double bill is a bold move that reflects the vision of Dancenorth to be a collaborative and creative hub for choreographic development and research that supports risk and innovation to extend dance as an art form.

Stephanie Lake describes her new work as a surreal hive of buzzing life reflecting the beauty and brutality of the natural world.

From marching automatons to wild hybrid creatures, this work and the dancers within it are continually transmuting and being affected by their rapidly changing conditions. It's about survival, symbiosis and rebirth. Through intricate choreography and vivid imagery the dancers incubate a strange world of their own making with a desperate forward momentum.

'Dancenorth is one of the most exciting companies in Australia right now. It's incredibly energised, youthful, smart and prolific', said Stephanie.

'The dancers and collaborators are all amazing artists in their own right and bring so much to the creative process', said Stephanie. 

'If Form Was Shifted’ is the title of Ross McCormack’s new work, a virtuosic reflection of the thought process structured through group manipulation.

'What interests me is to watch the body at odds with its purpose, this is where I try to orientate most of my movement. I see the body as a device grappling with its complexities and place, how it rather unnaturally manipulates itself is somehow spectacular yet also pathetic', said Ross.

'If Form Was Shifted is foremost a collaboration between myself the Dancenorth dancers and composer Robin Fox', said Ross.

'Dancenorth has supported my work since 2009, each time hugely different from the last. The current team is quite unique which made this opportunity impossible to miss. Their enormous capacity physically and conceptual understanding provokes a huge artistic challenge to anyone’s artistic ideology', said Ross.

Dancenorth is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, Townsville City council and the Tim Fairfax Foundation.

Interviews available upon request with

  • Kyle Page
  • Stephanie Lake
  • Ross McCormack

Photos provided available at higher resolution

Biographies

STEPHANIE LAKE is a multi award-winning Australian choreographer, dancer and director of Stephanie Lake Company. Stephanie’s major choreographic works including Double Blind, DUAL, A Small Prometheus, AORTA and Mix Tape have been presented by Theatre National de Chaillot (Paris), Theater im Pfalzbau (Germany), Dublin Dance Festival, Tramway (Glasgow), M1 CONTACT Festival (Singapore), Aarhus Festival (Denmark) Melbourne Festival, Sydney Festival, Dance Massive, Arts House, Sydney Opera House, Theatre Royal and Carriageworks among others. In 2014 Stephanie was awarded both the Helpmann Award (A Small Prometheus) and Australian Dance Award (AORTA) for Outstanding Choreography. She also won the Green Room Award for Mix Tape in 2011. In 2013 Stephanie was appointed inaugural Resident Director of Lucy Guerin Inc, which included working as Guerin’s choreographic assistant at Lyon Opera Ballet. Stephanie received a prestigious Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in the same year and the Dame Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship in 2012.  

Stephanie has been commissioned by Sydney Dance Company, Chunky Move, Tasdance, Stompin, Frontier Danceland (Singapore), Sydney Symphony and many times by the Victorian College of the Arts. She collaborates across theatre, film & TV, visual art and music video and has directed several large-scale public works involving over 1000 participants. Her performance career spans fifteen years, touring and dancing extensively with Gideon Obarzanek's Chunky Move and Lucy Guerin Inc as well as Antony Hamilton & Byron Perry, Anouk Van Dijk and Phillip Adams' BalletLab. 

ROSS McCORMACK graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2001. He has worked with Douglas Wright Dance Company and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Australian Dance Theatre.  In 2005 Ross won the Sir Robert Helpman Award for his performance in the work Held.

From 2004 Ross has worked for extensively with Alain Platel at Les Ballets C de la B in Belgium. In 2011/12 Ross performed with Australia’s Chunky Move touring Connected to the United States, In 2012  Ross joined MelbouMelbourne-based company Lucy Guerin and Dancers to tour perform in Untrained at BAM in New York England and Ireland. In 2013/14/15 Ross rejoined Les Ballets for Alian Platels new creation TauberBach.

Ross has been commissioned to choreograph several short works for New Zealand companies: (sex) (2012) and Stealth (2009), Footnote Dance; SUM- (2011),New Zealand School of Dance; and Nga hau e wha: Papa Nuku (2011), Okareka Dance Company. In Australia Ross choreographed his first full-length work Nowhere Fast (2009) for Dancenorth, Townsville, which toured to the Macau Arts Festival; [SIC] (2011) Dancenorth; and short work I said HaHa (2011) for Link Dance Company. AGE  2013/14 was Ross's first full lfull-lengthin New Zealand AGE was commissioned with the help of CNZ and the 2014 International Festival In Wellington. 2015/16 Premiered a new work Triumphs and Other Alternatives in Wellington which toured to Auckland and Sydney. In 2016  commissioned and premiered The Weight of Force at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Ross the most recent recipient of the CNZ choreographic fellowship in New Zealand.

About Dancenorth

Dancenorth is a contemporary dance company based in Townsville, Tropical North Queensland making outstanding, bold, new critically acclaimed work. As a major champion of the arts Dancenorth balances a dynamic regional presence with a commitment to creating compelling professional contemporary dance that tours the globe.

Dancenorth is a collaborative and creative hub for choreographic development and research that makes a significant contribution to cultural development by valuing and supporting risk and innovation as a means of extending dance as an art form.

Under the Artistic Direction of Kyle Page, Dancenorth delivers an ambitious and far-reaching program of engagement including the creation and presentation of new work, national and international touring, development opportunities for local dancers and choreographers and national and international residencies and exchanges.

Dancenorth is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, Townsville City council and the Tim Fairfax Foundation.

Be part of Tasdance’s Dark Mofo performance

Odeon Theatre, 20–21 June 2016, 4.45 pm – 7.40 am (sunset to sunrise)

an older woman with bare arms and chest stands with arms raised

Participate in Tasdance's Dark Mofo project on the night of the winter solstice. We need around 100 dancers to join Tasdance company members as we keep a 'collective solo' going across the 14 hours between sunset and sunrise. Registration is very simple and can be done via the Dark Mofo and Tasdance websites.

Dancers of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels are invited to become performers in this piece. There will be a series of workshops around the state leading up to the performance, which you are welcome to attend.

To register your interest, submit your details on the Tasdance website or call 03 6331 6644. Tasdance will contact you directly with information about preparation, participation and workshop dates.

Apply for the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance 2017

Apply now for the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance. Applications close 1 June 2016.

Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance

The Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance is a six-month Fellowship offered by the University of Otago (School of Physical Education) in Dunedin, New Zealand. It is one of five prestigious Fellowships offered by the University and the only one offered internationally. Tenure is usually from 1 March to 31 August. It offers project costs and a salary equivalent with a Level One Lecturer at the University. 

The Fellowship was set up by Caroline Plummer’s parents in memory of Caroline who died of cancer in 2004 at the age of 24.

Successful applicants will create and perform a community dance project. Projects can be wide-ranging and diverse but must embrace Caroline’s passion and vision for dance in the community. 

For more information please visit the University of Otago Fellows website and the Caroline Plummer website.

Dancenorth hosts inclusive professional dance exchange

Adelaide Dancer Chris Dyke has returned to Townsville as part of the first ongoing inclusive professional dance exchange in Australia.

Dancenorth's Kyle Page and Chris Dyke in front of a fig tree's giant roots. Chris Dyke and Kyle Page. Photo: Amber Haines

During the two-week secondment, Chris has choreographed a new solo work with the guidance of his mentor, Dancenorth Artistic Director Kyle Page, trained with the company each day and watched dancers rehearse for their upcoming performance of ‘If _ Was _’ a double bill created by Stephanie Lake and Ross McCormack.

Chris, who visited Townsville from Adelaide based Restless Dance Theatre and has Downs syndrome, described the opportunity as “a dream come true”.

"When I come here we do workshops and I make friends with the Dancenorth team, then we work on my choreography. Working with Kyle is my dream. My other dream is to create a 3D film with live dance for me to perform in SA, Sydney, Townsville, NYC and the world. I want to put my dance film on TV, YouTube and all over Facebook.”

Chris’ mentor Kyle said it is vital to have these opportunities and to highlight the immense benefit for not only Chris but also the Dancenorth Ensemble.

“Chris is a very talented dancer who inspires me daily, I actually can’t be sure who gets the most out of this exchange, him or me. That is the magic of mentoring—it is a two-way street.”

“Chris is extraordinarily creative, passionate, calm and generous; it is this combined with immense talent that led me to want to work with him in an ongoing exchange of ideas and movement” he said.

“Dancenorth is currently developing a proactive disability action plan ensuring we offer an inclusive environment filled with genuine collaboration and opportunities for all abilities,” he said.

ArtsPeak calls for restoration of Australia Council Funding

Media Release, 16 May 2016

ArtsPeak, the national confederation of peak arts and cultural organisations, says the Australian arts ecology is under serious threat following the announcement of four-year funding decisions by the Australia Council.

Sixty-five previously funded organisations have lost funding for their core operations and of the 262 applications to the round, over half were not funded. It seems clear from these statistics that the jobs and growth mantra does not apply to the arts.

Nicole Beyer, ArtsPeak co-convenor and Director of Theatre Network Australia said: 'This is an incredibly tough time for the arts sector. We go from relief at the news of a company that has been successful to sadness when we hear of really vital and outstanding organisations that have missed out. We know that the Australia Council has been stretched. We know people will have been doing their very best in an incredibly difficult situation. There is a lot of support within the sector for those who missed out this time round and everyone understands it is no reflection on the quality or importance of their work'. 

With the Federal election looming, ArtsPeak is calling for the restoration of Australia Council funding as a matter of urgency so that the Australian arts ecology can remain viable and vibrant. This call was made unanimously by 2700 individuals and organisations in submissions to last year’s Senate inquiry into arts funding, the largest ever response to such an inquiry.

Tamara Winikoff OAM, ArtsPeak co-convenor and Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), said today: 'It couldn't be clearer that essential ingredients are missing: a national plan for growing and valuing Australian cultural ideas and expression; political courage to embrace experimentation and risk taking; celebration of the arts as core to our national character and achievement; and a real investment in building a vibrant, confident arts environment. It's time to stop tinkering at the edges. The arts has proved itself time and again to be an incredibly valuable investment. Please can we see all the political parties put this on the election agenda.'

ArtsPeak urges politicians to recognise the value of arts and culture to all Australians, to invest in it appropriately and to ensure that the arms-length approach to funding decisions in the arts is maintained.

Media release also available on the NAVA website: ArtsPeak calls for restoration of Australia Council Funding

For media comment please contact:

Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) 0411 162 156 / 02 9368 1900

Nicole Beyer, Director, Theatre Network Australia 0432 609 658

Ausdance National faces challenge

13 May 2016 media release

The Australian Dance Council—Ausdance congratulates the 12 dance organisations which were successful in the four-year funding announcements by the Australia Council. There is a solid core of highly creative, inspiring and highly productive organisations to create and tour dance around Australia and overseas.

Regrettably, the Australian Dance Council—Ausdance Inc (Ausdance National) finds itself amongst the 62 previously funded organisations that have not been successful. Ausdance National has been notified by the Australia Council that it will not receive operational funding beyond 31 December this year. This brings to an end many years of operational support for the work of Ausdance National.  

Ausdance National has supported the dance industry through development projects such as the National Dance Forum, the Australian Dance Awards, Safe Dance® research, organising the annual meeting of dance company managers, and publishing authoritative guidelines for teaching dance and academic articles about dance. It was the organisation the Royal Commission called on for consultation in private meetings. Ausdance also holds bequests from Dame Peggy van Praagh and Keith Bain to award to professional dancers each year.  

Neil Roach, the Acting CEO of Ausdance National, said today: “Ausdance National has a 40 year legacy of solid support for the dance industry. While there are a number of associated State and Territory Ausdance offices supporting their local dance industry, as a peak body Ausdance National has had the overview of the entire sector and the national and global links to truly support the development of professional dance. This has now been put at risk.”

Ausdance National President, Brian Lucas, said today “Ausdance has been a key player in the development of the Australian dance sector over the past four decades. In that time, the organisation has adapted and grown, demonstrating both the ability to be responsive to the changing needs of its membership and a willingness to assist in driving the growth and strength of the sector through the implementation of key initiatives and programmes. 

It would be virtually impossible to find a dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, dance student, dance academic, or dance audience member who has not been positively and substantially impacted by the activities of the organisation.

Now it is time for Ausdance National to draw on its substantial reserves of experience, knowledge and resourcefulness as we adapt and respond to our drastically changed circumstances. 

The mission of the organisation—to educate, inspire and support the dance community to reach its potential as a dynamic force within local, national and international communities—remains steadfast and unchanged. Our challenge is to assess how best to ensure that this vital mission can be maintained and upheld during this difficult period in Australian arts history, and into the future.”

For media comment and enquiries please contact:

Neil Roach, Acting CEO, Australian Dance Council—Ausdance (Ausdance National) on
02 6248 8992. [email protected]

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