Stories + essays

Dance people share personal and inspirational experiences

Have dance makers become timid in our role as storytellers?

Artists are often at the forefront of new waves of socio-political change. Whether you’re talking about the birth of democracy or the recent #metoo campaign, we’re usually there, agitating or at least sparking discussion. But in a country where arts funding is under near-constant threat and the fight for audience attention is fierce, are we as brave as used to be? In the recent Nick Enright keynote address Australian playwright/provocateur Wesley Enoch made a case for no. Australian artists, he said, were ‘too concerned with upsetting audiences, politicians, sponsors, donors, funders, we have become timid in our role as storytellers.’ So, what about dance? Have we absconded our duty?

Dance of the writer: A poetics

This essay incorporates a poetics for a blended set of practices, exploring a question posed by Louppe: ‘what path does the artist follow to reach the point where the artistic practice is available to perception, there where our consciousness can discover it and begin to resonate with it?’ 

I focus on an embodied dance of myself as writer, tracing a path to the availability of perception of this work, moving from a 5Rhythms movement practice that reminds me I have a body, to my first gestures towards beginning to write with pen and paper again after a period of depression, and the accidental witnesses/audiences I attract for a daily practice that slowly, gradually becomes a consciously framed performance practice. Along the way, I document a series of performances, from Lake Tyrell in Victoria’s Mallee region; to Federation Square in Melbourne’s central business district; to the public streets where my performance practice continues today.

The dance of the writer, for me, comes to embody a three-dimensionality of poetry, one that reveals to me new tools for writing and a blended practice of writing and dance.

The negotiations of relationship—a conversation about dance improvisation

This paper is a conversation about building depth in our relationships with our bodies and our meeting points with each other. Framed within the context of an improvisational dance practice, the authors, Dianne Reid and Melinda Smith, reflect upon their long-term shared dance practice, their evolving performance work, Dance Interrogations, and the cultural shifts possible as a result of long-term artistic practice. Their unique, long-standing collaboration (over six years and continuing) is unique in Australia and internationally. It is a collaboration which challenges deeply held beliefs around the low expectations of people who have a disability and explores the choreographic potential in the body and artist who experiences Cerebral Palsy—a condition affecting the muscular and skeletal system and which can make voluntary movement such as that in dance, difficult. Their practice itself constantly shifts between artistic formats in both studio and performance contexts, and draws upon a range of technologies familiar within the cultures of screendance and disability. This account is improvisational, an undoing of structure, to encourage other angles and depths of perception.

Meet Ausdance National Treasurer Libby Walsh

Libby is our new Ausdance National Treasurer. She is a highly experienced and skilled individual who has taken charge of the finances of your national peak body and is continuing its work. 

We asked Libby how she got started in dance and why she believes a national dance advocacy organisation is important for Australian dance.

Dance for life and health: Are we ready for the senior demand?

DANCE is far more than entertainment.

That’s the message Katrina Rank wants government to hear as she advocates its health benefits particularly for older people and those suffering conditions including Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Katrina is Ausdance Victoria’s director of Education, Training and Lifelong Learning. She is a practicing educator and dance artist and will be presenting at the International Arts and Health Conference at the Art Gallery of NSW from October 30 – 1 November 2017.

The Big 4-0!

The Big 4-0! While turning the big 40 can provoke anxiety, soul-searching and the purchase of sports cars in humans, for an organisation to reach this marker is a cause for unadulterated celebration. This year marks this milestone for Ausdance, Australia’s national body for dance advocacy, education and outreach. First established in 1977 as the Australian Association for Dance Education (AADE) in Melbourne, Ausdance’s mission was to provide a united voice for Australia’s burgeoning dance community. Over these last four decades the accomplishments of Ausdance have been as varied as they have been numerous but the goal has remained the same: to educate, inspire and support the dance community to reach its potential as a dynamic force within local, national and international spheres.

Meet Ausdance National board member Jacqueline Simmonds

Ausdance National has a dedicated new National Council made up of highly experienced and skilled individuals who have taken charge of your national peak body and are continuing its work. Hear from the National board member Jacqueline Simmonds about how she got started in dance and why she believes a national dance advocacy organisation is important for Australian dance.

Meet Ausdance National President Gene Moyle

Ausdance National has a new National Council made up of highly experienced and skilled individuals who have taken charge of your national peak body and are continuing its work.

Hear from the National President on how she got started in dance, and why she believes a national dance advocacy organisation is important for Australian dance.

Meet Ausdance National Vice President Elizabeth More

Ausdance National has a new National Council made up of highly experienced and skilled individuals who have taken charge of your national peak body and are continuing its work. Hear from the National Vice President on how she got started in dance, and why she believes a national dance advocacy organisation is important for Australian dance.

Meet Ausdance board member Annette Carmichael

Ausdance National has a dedicated new National Council made up of highly experienced and skilled individuals who have taken charge of your national peak body and are continuing its work.

Board member Annette Carmichael lives in the creative enclave that is Denmark, a small town on the Great Southern coast of WA. From her vibrant home, she works as a dance artist and creative producer.

Annette shares how she got started in dance and why she believes a national dance advocacy organisation is important for Australian dance.

Creating Pathways keynote speech by Raymond Blanco

What is contemporary Indigenous dance? When did this term become associated with our culture, our dance? Or is it Indigenous Contemporary? Have we an Historical Dance Culture or are we living a Dance Culture History? Do we make now from then or is it from then now? For some of us exposure to contemporary Indigenous dance came from television. If we were really lucky we had a group of dancers come to our town and teach and perform at our schools, and for the unlucky our only exposure came from Bangarra.

Creating Pathways—a collective vision and direction for the future of Indigenous dance

Lydia Miller discusses ongoing vision of successive generations of Indigenous artists. The cultural renaissance in Indigenous arts and culture began in the 1980s with the emergence of a critical mass of young, vibrant Indigenous artists who took to the stages and the galleries with the electric energy that is synonymous with Indigenous artists. Dance, theatre, music and visual arts emerged onto the national arts landscape with the edginess, candour, vibrancy and challenge of these young Indigenous minds, bodies, and spirits.

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