The latest Australian dance thinking on show at the 2014 World Dance Alliance Global Summit

In This Article

More than 25 Australians will travel to the 2014 World Dance Alliance Global Summit (6–11 July 2014) to talk, perform and share the latest in dance thinking and practice-led research.

They’ll be presenting their work in sessions about dance and audience relationships, audience engagement, site-specific environments, interdisciplinary processes in dance-making, dancer/choreographer relationships, and writing for dance.

You’ll find some terrific tools and ideas that might change the way you approach your own creative or teaching practice.

What follows is an overview of the new work they’ll be presenting. For a full description of their research papers, follow the links to their abstracts on the WDA Global Summit website. We will again publish the World Dance Alliance Global Summit Proceedings here on the Ausdance website sometime in 2015.

a few questions and ideas to get you started...

Follow the links for more information about this work.

  1. What are open rehearsals and how do they change the audience's experience of and relationship with the dance work?
  2. Site specific performance and the intersections between body, history and geography
  3. How to use smart phones to refine the dancer’s spatial and kinaesthetic awareness
  4. What are the choreographic tools that can help you increase audience engagement with your work?
  5. What are the benefits of translating dance to the screen, and what does it offer to how dance is witnessed and perceived?
  6. How do individual dancers leave traces in a choreographer’s body of work? And do these imprints continue to circulate after the performative event?
  7. How can dance training develop technical ability without stifling students’ ability to engage creatively?
  8. How does dance (or creativity) emerge from the interactions between dancers and choreographers?
  9. What becomes of childhood innocence? Is expressing vulnerability the sign of weakness society teaches us it is?
  10. How have the shifts in government funding frameworks altered the status of artists in our societies?
  11. What are appropriate dance experiences for young people? And how do young people experience what is being taught?
  12. How can dramaturgy be used in dance practice?
  13. How does the Australia Council’s Cité Residency experience contribute to the richness of the Australian cultural landscape?
  14. Is practice-based artistic research new? History reveals it’s not such a new activity after all.
  15. How does previous experience as an expert dance performer influence dance teaching? And how can dancers make a more efficient transition from performance to teaching?
  16. Graeme Murphy’s Poppy—how were audiences challenged by this biographical, controversial, psycho-sexual narrative?
  17. What academic writing and research practices do dance journal editors look for?
  18. What are the artistic challenges for contemporary intercultural practice?
  19. Dance as a dialogue of interconnectedness
  20. The reinvention of tradition in contemporary Chinese dance creations (1980–2010)
  21. What is the role of the imagination, how it is triggered and how can it be mapped and integrated to create sensibility and aesthetics in a performance?
  22. What are the ‘routes’ dancers take take to/for employment and how do these pathways take them away from the places of their established ‘roots’?
  23. How can dance be used as a creative approach to peace and what is its potential to diversify the nonverbal tools available for peace building?
  24. What are the ways that people experience, value and make meaning from dance in community contexts?
  25. What happens to each choreographic moment, process and the final work when it is transferred to a different place, time and context?


Anja Ali-Haapala

Anja Ali-Haapala, a PhD candidate at Queensland University of Technology, will share her research about open rehearsals within the mainstream dance company context, specifically focusing on audience experience and relationship with the dance work, dancers, and choreographers. She will discuss the past and present open rehearsal practices of companies located in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom. She will also introduce a model for open rehearsals directed at non-expert audiences and trialled with The Australian Ballet and Sydney Dance Company in 2013 and discuss her initial findings.

Read Anja's abstract: A model for open rehearsals: referencing the past and looking towards the future

Benedict Anderson

Benedict Anderson (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia) is professor of Spatial Design and director of the Centre for Contemporary Design Practices, University of Technology, Sydney. Presenting a current project that explores the intersections between body, history and geography, Benedict will discuss the nature of site-specific performance.

Read Benedict's abstract: Situated vagrancy: indeterminacy and site-specific performance

Evan Jones and Csaba Buday

Evan Jones (lecturer in ballet at QUT) and Csaba Buday (lecturer in contemporary dance and resident choreographer for dance in the Creative Industries Faculty at QUT) will discuss peer review in dance classes using personal video feedback. Their paper documents their original 2013 use of smart phones to record and play back sequences during the dance class. Peers in pairs took turns filming each other and then analysing the playback, which provided immediate visual feedback of the sequence as performed by each dancer. They will share student experiences of this peer video review, as well as the practical challenges this form of feedback presents to the rhythm of a dance class and the psychological stability of the dancer.

Read Evan and Csaba's abstract: Peer review in dance classes using personal video feedback

Dr Clare Dyson

Clare Dyson, lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, will share five choreographic audience-engagement scales that allow choreographers to map decisions made in the studio in relation to potential audience engagement. Clare creates collaborative dance, theatre and site-specific performances and she will discuss her research project and creative work The Voyeur, which engaged audiences in a variety of experiential ways by manipulating the traditional western contemporary dance performance and viewing environment.

Read Clare's abstracts:

Sue Healey

Sue Healey is a Sydney-based choreographer, filmmaker and installation artist who works in single and multiple screen formats. She investigates video portraiture as an archive of movement histories. Sue will discuss how translating dance to the screen is one antidote to the impermanence and elusiveness of contemporary dance that can also offer new dimensions to how dance is witnessed and perceived. She will show excerpts from her film and installation projects Virtuosi and On View and discuss the challenges and outcomes of translating dance to film.

Read Sue's abstract: On view: rendering embodied knowledge to screen

Dr Jennifer Roche

Jennifer Roche, a lecturer in dance at Queensland University of Technology, drawing on her practice-led research into the contemporary dancer’s creative process, suggests that the dancer’s moving identity or signature way of moving holds the remains of past movement experiences and although dancers may carry a repertoire of past works they have danced, they do not have ownership of these traces. Instead, these belong to a specific context set by the choreographer and only in this space can they can be legitimately reenacted. Her paper will explore the above ideas in relation to authorship, the signature choreographer and dance production.

Read Jennifer's abstract: The porosity of practice: lineage, influence and authorship in contemporary dance

Dr Jennifer Roche and Avril Huddy

Jennifer will also present a paper she co-authored with Avril Huddy (a lecturer in dance at Queensland University of Technology), which discusses a pilot project that introduces somatic learning approaches to first year dance students. The project seeks to address an observable disjuncture between the skills of dancers graduating from tertiary training and industry needs, which increasingly demand the co-creative input of the dancer in choreographic practice.

Read Jennifer and Avril's abstract: Identity and the dance student: implementing somatic practices into tertiary dance education

Emily Gilfillan

Emily Gilfillan is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University. Her interdisciplinary research intersects dance, psychology and arts management in order to examine the processes and practices of professional contemporary choreographers through the lens of group creativity theories from social psychology.

Read Emily's abstract: Collaborative creativity and choreographic practices

Alexandra Knox

Alexandra Knox, an emerging choreographer and dancer, will give a performative presentation of her work The Murmur of Innocence, which retrospectively examines childhood moments and ideas about vulnerability.

Read Alexandra's abstract: Murmurs of innocence

Ann McLean

Ann McLean, Ausdance Queensland’s executive director, will talk about elements of the changing Australian arts environment including systemic defunding of support, presenting and employing organisations; persistent promotion of social enterprise as a focus for 'sustainable' development of the sector; fluxes in support for the arts in education, driving inconsistent levels of commitment from state to state; and changes due to the new cultural policy.

Read Ann's abstract: Peak bodies managing in changing environments

Jeff Meiners

Jeff Meiners, lecturer at the University of South Australia’s School of Education, will join a global dance education panel to discuss this question. Reports indicate that dance educators have the best intentions when offering dance experiences for young people and provide pre-service and in-service programs and professional development for those who teach dance in formal and non-formal settings. However, while we advocate for the inclusion of the arts and dance, there is a need to create insight into what is being taught and how young people experience this and, indeed, how it reflects the goals of a basic education as it is described in most core curricula at different places around the world. This study involves several countries (Finland, Ghana, USA, Denmark, Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, Brazil and Hong Kong) and attempts to capture the narratives and contexts from lived experiences of students and graduates in both formal and non-formal settings.

Read Jeff's abstract: Dance learning in motion: global dance education

Dr Anny Mokotow

Anny Mokotow, who has worked as a dancer, performer and theatre-maker in the Netherlands, will discuss the notion of bodies within dramaturgy. She suggests that a dramaturgical perspective, which incorporates the body, can deepen an understanding of historical, as well as contemporary, dance and theatre practices. Her research on contemporary dance ecologies has revealed a challenge by dance artists to recast the body in dance through multiple points of view, genres and styles.

Read Anny's abstract: Decentring dance-dramaturgy: a proposition for multiplicity in dance

Kristian Pellissier

Kristian Pellissier, program officer for dance at the Australia Council for the Arts and a graduate of the Australian Ballet School, will talk about Australian dance artists who have taken part in the Cité Residency, a grant residency founded by the Australia Council for the Arts that funds artists to for a period of professional development in Paris. His performative presentation will showcase these contemporary Australian dance practitioners and their interaction with the French dance sector.

Read Kristian's abstract: Australian dance artists and the French connection

Dr Maggi Phillips

Maggi Phillips, an associate professor and the coordinator of research and creative practice at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), searches history to locate evidence of practice-based artistic research. She shares how the interrelationship between excavating what came before with what the future may hold is reflected in dance scholarship, its processes and choreographies.

Read Maggi's abstract: Playing past and future: knowledge as revealed by artist and scholar

José Rodrigues

José Rodrigues, a PhD candidate at Queensland University of Technology, explores the relationship between expert performance and pedagogical expertise in dance. He is studying the personal and environmental constraints on the acquisition of expertise in dance teaching. His research results suggest implications for policy implementation in education and training and developmental programs for dancers making the transition from performance to teaching?

Read José's abstract: The influence of previous experience as an expert dance performer on dance teaching

Peter Stell

Peter Stell from the University of Melbourne discusses Graeme Murphy’s Poppy—a biographical, controversial, psycho-sexual narrative around the life of the twentieth-century multi-media artist, Parisian darling Jean Cocteau. Peter shares how Murphy challenged Australian audiences by confronting them head-on when immense social change was underway, especially in Sydney. The result was not only entertaining but educative, succeeding in creating a substantial new and influential audience base that set trends, enabled innovation and persuaded valuable ongoing support, including funding.

Read Peter's abstract: How Graeme Murphy’s Poppy, the Life and Times of Jean Cocteau (1978) reflected the choreographer’s fascination with Cocteau and his integral connection with the Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev (1909-29)

Dr Cheryl Stock

Cheryl Stock, associate professor and coordinator of the Doctorate of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology, will join an international panel of editors of academic dance journals and conference proceedings.They will share their experience and discuss how to follow publisher requirements, create original insights into a research area, provide necessary evidence from appropriate sources when supporting a line of argumentation, develop an interdisciplinary language for practice-led research publications, and address reviewer feedback.

Read Chery's abstract: Developing best practice for publishing dance scholarship: a conversation between editors and scholars

Annalouise Paul

Annalouise Paul creates intercultural dance theatre that explores concepts of cultural identity and transformation. Her performative presentation will focus on the past decade of her choreographic research and development of new works that have cross-bred cultural dance forms with Western contemporary forms and traditional rhythms to define and refine new movement vocabularies.

Read Annalouise's abstract: The aporia of hybridity: exploring the nexus of traditional and contemporary forms

Lucinda Coleman

Lucinda Coleman is a Masters by Research student at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. Through her work with the Australian dance collective Remnant Dance, she is exploring dance-centred concepts of the body as a ‘front’ for communication. At the summit she will share the story of the creation of a new work that is cross-cultural (Myanmar and Australia), multi art form (film and dance) and inter-disciplinary (social justice).

Read Lucinda's abstract: Conversations on the frontlines of the body

Min Zhu

Min Zhu is a Chinese dancer, choreographer and dance teacher who is currently a PhD candidate at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Her research investigates the nature and characteristics of contemporary Chinese dance creations, and the comparison of content and form in contemporary Chinese and western dance. As a practitioner, her latest interest is to explore the boundary and intersection of contemporary performance through improvised performance.

Read Min's abstract: The reinvention of tradition in contemporary Chinese dance creations (1980–2010)

Paula Lay

Paula Lay, from the University of Melbourne, is a solo dance practitioner and choreographer who also collaborates on works across film and live performance. Her research examines solo dance practice and attempts to track the poetics of the imagination through its embodied forms. She uses film and video as components of choreographic process and in her work 10,000 small deaths, which she will discuss at the summit, she works with a live-feed camera filming in the space as well as pre-recorded video. The camera acts as another point of view and tool for exploring time, with the ability to slip into the past, present and future.

Read Paula's abstract: Acts of embodiment and imagination in the practice of performance

Nerida Godfrey

Nerida Godfrey, from the University of New South Wales, is an emerging choreographer and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts graduate. Her research examines how dancers negotiate migration pathways by identifying the ‘routes’ they take to/for employment and how these take them away from the places of their established ‘roots’. She explores the possibility of interconnectedness between ‘dance hubs’ and networks (or the absence thereof) and as such considers how technological connectivity may link dance practitioners to training and employment opportunities across the globe.

Read Nerida's abstract: Moved to move: conceptualising dancers as a transnational community and ‘creative class’ migrants

Erica Rose Jeffrey

Erica Rose Jeffrey, from the Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Australia, discusses how dance answers the call for creative approaches to peace and is a potential asset for the peace building field, creating opportunities for nonverbal, embodied learning, exploring identity and relationships to the ‘other.’ Peace scholars consider identity and relationships to the ‘other’ as key components in transforming conflict. Focusing on a case study in Mindanao, the Philippines, her paper explores the potential of dance in a peace building context regarding identity, relationships to the ‘other’ and creating new conceptual spaces.

Read Erica's abstract: Peace moves: dance, identity and peace building


Australian expats Ralph Buck (Ausdance honorary life member) and Stephanie Burridge will also present their research.

Dr Ralph Buck

Ralph Buck is head of Dance Studies at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research and teaching focuses on dance curriculum, dance pedagogy and community dance. Ralph will explore community dance and the impact of past educational philosophers in current community dance projects. He provides insights into diverse ways that people experience, value and make meaning from dance in community contexts and notes the relevance of vision and the necessity for value statements that underpin action and, most importantly, teaching and learning processes.

Read Ralph's abstract: Re-claiming Cabelo Seco through dance

Dr Stephanie Burridge

Stephanie Burridge (Australia/Singapore) lectures at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore Management University and is the series editor for Routledge Celebrating Dance in Asia and the Pacific (link). At the summit, Stephanie will discuss diverse approaches to re-creating dance works across generations and traditions. She will share three exciting case studies: a 25-year-old choreography, initially mounted on young performers, recreated by a company of senior dancers (65–87 years); a dance work, not performed since 1955, preserved and re-staged through a process of cultural memory; and a dance company’s re-creation/creation practices that use multiple dance languages in cross-cultural choreographic explorations in response to a contemporary, urban reality.

Read Stephanie's abstract: Transposition, transference and re-creation across generations and traditions

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