Stories + essays

Dance people share personal and inspirational experiences

Artists—the new elite

Professor Susan Street presented the eighth Dame Peggy Van Praagh Memorial Address alongside David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet. She explores some of the major challenges faced by the dance sector and reflects on some of the achievements.

Heritage and heresy

Ross Stretton talks passionately from a performer's persepctive about the challenge for dancers to keep the dance personal, how not to lose the individual dance heritage under the weight of the collective heritage, and to embrace change.

A nation knowing its past

Keith Bain OAM talks about the importance of knowing our history so that we can understand our present. A history that can reveal the interconnections, the progress and the moments of change in the unfolding story of dance in Australia.

Great artistic mentors

Meryl Tankard pays tribute to Peggy van Praagh, and to all those influential individuals who have enriched her life—professionally and personally—with their own knowledge.

The politics of dance—policy, process and practice

Peter Brinson poses three questions: Why should there be a politics of dance? What political case for dance should dancers be advocating in today's circumstances? and What kind of political agenda should dancers develop to advance this case through the exercise of dance power?

Vision, perseverance and courage

Marilyn Rowe pays tribute to the woman who not only had an enormouse impact on Marilyn peronally, but whose creative influence fostered and nurtured Australian talent, and who imbued her dancers with a confidence and belief in themselves which allowed them to excell both nationally and internationally.

The conflict of making choices

Li Cunxin, author of Mao's last Dancer, pays tribute to Peggy van Praagh and how some of her aspirations match his own: perseverance, resilience, determination and courage.

Qadim—an intercultural contemporary dance collaboration in Malaysia

This paper describes the process of working inter-culturally towards the presentation of a contemporary dance work in Malaysia entitled Qadim. Beginning with the inspiration and initial experiences at the Asia Pacific Artist Exchange Program (APPEX) initiated by The Centre for Intercultural Performance, UCLA, the paper recounts the journey, the obstacles and the challenges faced in cooperative dance-making that is at once personal and global. The dancer-choreographers committed to this project see their role as contemporary artists seeking to have their voices heard amidst growing local and international tensions borne from distrust and political and religious hegemony.

Australians making dances: the spatial imperative

Professor Shirley McKechnie OAM presented the inaugural Dame Peggy van Praagh Memorial Address soon after the first anniversary of Dame Peggy's death in Melbourne on 15 January 1990. She was the first a long line of dance artists and scholars who have, and will continue to, pay tribute to Peggy van Praagh in this way.

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