The paper advocates for the possibilities of dance in community development and place-making contexts through its proposition of a ‘phenomenology of belonging’. From her vantage as facilitator/director of video series Dancing Place, the author observes sensory interactions between participants’ bodies and the sites in which they performed, as enhancing relationality between participants and place.
Conceived as part of an ARC Discovery Project exploring potentials of artistic methods to challenge neighbourhood-based stigma, led by sociologist Deborah Warr, and employing the expertise of screendance artist Dianne Reid to create the video works, Dancing Place invited diverse residents of Wyndham, Victoria, to dance to their favourite music in their favourite local sites. Through reflection upon the project, the author teases out issues of visibility, embodiment, identity, marginalisation and changing relationships to place.
The participants of varied cultural and social backgrounds, age, gender and levels of dance training, inevitably chose to dance in very different styles and places. The paper explores some political and social ramifications of (being represented via video) dancing in relation to place for particular groups and individuals, and outlines the facilitating artist’s motivations for the project’s structural framework. Rather than presuming or contriving a unified ‘community’, the nine distinctively discrete videos were presented side by side, which collectively evoked a sense of co-presence, or parallel belonging.
Memory, time and metaphor are central triggers for artists in exploring and shaping their creative work. This paper examines the place of artists as ‘memory-keepers’, and ‘memory-makers’, in particular through engagement with the time-based art of site-specific performance. Naik Naik (Ascent) was a multi-site performance project in the historic setting of Melaka, Malaysia, and is partially recaptured through the presence and voices of its collaborating artists. Distilled from moments recalled, this paper seeks to uncover the poetics of memory to emerge from the project; one steeped in metaphor rather than narrative. It elicits some of the complex and interdependent layers of experience revealed by the artists in Naik Naik; cultural, ancestral, historical, personal, instinctual and embodied memories connected to sound, smell, touch, sensation and light, in a spatiotemporal context for which site is the catalyst. The liminal nature of memory at the heart of Naik Naik, provides a shared experience of past and present and future, performatively interwoven.
Paulo Freire and John Dewey are helping the youth of Cabelo Seco in the southern reaches of the Amazon to reclaim their violated community. Freire (1921–1997) and Dewey (1859–1952) remain alive in Cabelo Seco, identified as one of Brazil’s most dangerous communities. After describing the context of Cabelo Seco, the local community arts projects and the philosophies driving this work, I examine meanings of community dance in Cabelo Seco. Utilising a constructivist methodology that values dialogic interaction to build shared understandings, interviews and observations provide insights into diverse ways that people experience, value and make meaning from dance in community contexts. Dewey, Freire, Eisner, Boal, Zequinha and other arts educators are ever present in Cabelo Seco; understanding a lineage of influence helps to examine current practices and envision future projects. This paper explores the shifting and emerging role of dance in this community, focusing on how dance is helping to reclaim it.
Twilight: a new work by Cheryl Stock for Dancenorth's 30th anniversary
This panel features dynamic and diverse representation from some of Australia’s leading voices within the regional arts sector. They will engage you in a debate on notions of excellence, community engagement and being objectified as ‘regional'. Listen to the podcast and read the movement response.
For people with Parkinson's disease, high quality dance classes led by trained professional teaching artists are becoming internationally acknowledged and valued as both a creative activity and an evidence-based therapeutic intervention. From my own dancer’s perspective, these classes are a beautiful and satisfying way to authentically share my own experience and passion for the art form in way that also connects to community.
In 2014, our Australian dance companies have been working on some brave and surprising collaborations that foster health, wellbeing and social change. In 2014 KAGE will premiereTeam of Life at the Melbourne Festival, Bangarra collaborated with beyondblue to create the short film Stories for Keeping Strong—Bangarra Rekindling, Shaun Parker collaborated with multicultural urban youth to create The Yard, which tackles loneliness, competition, survival and bullying, Australian Dance Theatre's work Proximity inspired a new approach to stroke rehabilitation, and BalletLab created a work about AIDS with community participants and the Victorian AIDs Council.
Cheryl Stock, Artistic Director of Dancenorth (1984–1995) talks about a large-scale site-specific community dance project specially devised for the Townsville community in 1994. Originally published in Dancers and communities: a collection of writings about dance as a community art
This book tells us about some of the ways community dance evolves. I couldn't put it down. Like a good novel, its characters are fascinating, the stories captivating, and the twists and turns keep one interested, for it's as Shirley McKechnie says in the preface, 'a many faceted story of places, people and artists working together in partnerships concerned with discovery and celebration' (p.vii).
And yet there is no formula for being a successful community artist; every project requires a different approach. Flexibility, sensitivity, spontaneity, enthusiasm, honour, commitment, patience, exhaustion, resilience and pride permeate these pages, as do stories of ordinary people creating magic moments for themselves and others, through the facilitation of this person called a community dancer.
Creative Director of Dance Integrated Australia talks about Corner Dance Lab and New Works Forum in Hong Kong, which will explore ways of producing inclusive performances for artists with diverse backgrounds and physical abilities.
Jacqueline Simmonds interviews David McMicken at Tracks Dance Collective, Brown's Mart Community Arts Project, Darwin, November 1995.
Shirely McKechnie tells us why this collection of writing about community dance is so valuable: 'They speak of the human need to give expression to deeply felt connections and unique situations; but they also ask questions. Whose dances? What is their purpose? Can everyone participate? They convey the diversity of the dance experience and a reassurance of its power to enter individual lives in significant ways.'
Slow touring expresses a desire (from artists, communities, tour presenters and funding bodies) for audiences to experience a deeper engagement with a touring performance, often through activities such as skill sharing (e.g., workshops, residencies, exchanges and collaborations) and collaboration on creative projects (e.g., recreating the work for/with local audiences). We highlight Shiver by Danielle Micich, a 2012 West Australian dance tour that successfully managed and delivered community engagement activities.
Kath Papas, Ausdance Victoria's EO during the 2006 AYDF, discusses the unique aspects of the 2006 AYDF in Horsham—its partnership with their annual arts festival, ‘Art is…’, establishing connections to the host community.
Skye Murtagh, of SDM Communications describes how movement and music prove a potent therapy for patients in Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide
This information is intended as a guide for teachers or arts workers in an educational context who are presenting a dance or theatre production for the first time.
Co-artistic directors, David McMicken and Tim Newth give us an insight into the rich cultural context and its impact on Tracks Dance Company in Australia’s Northern Territory
Dr Katrina Rank, Manager of Education and Training for Ausdance Victoria, outlines the guidelines developed in Australia to support effective and safe dance practice in schools and communities
Michelle Silby, independent arts consultant based in Sydney and working in the UK and Australia, sets out some of the current developments in community dance in Australia
Kath Papas talks to two community dance pratitioners from opposite sides of Australia, about their views on some ‘bigger picture’ questions relating to community dance.