World Dance Alliance (WDA) brings the dance world closer to us in Australia and offers a real dialogue with artists from everywhere. Dance in Asia is particularly vibrant, and we have much to learn from artists there in getting projects off the ground without ongoing support, and as independent dancer/producers of our own works.
At WDA I love presenting my ideas, giving workshops and networking and, of course, seeing loads of dance from the region. It's like an arts market without the hustle.
I've attended only three WDA conferences, 2011 in Malaysia, 2014 in France and 2015 in Singapore. Each conference has been an eye-opener for my choreographic practice—understanding the links between it and academic research, studio practice, dance in the rest of the world and most significantly for me, intercultural dance. Every topic is covered: from dancer-choreographer relationships to education to the role of women in dance and politics. Many people have become good friends, and we have formed a strong bond. I love it.
This year Akram Khan gave the keynote speech and his latest work Torobaka, with flamenco artist Israel Galvan, was in performance in Singapore during the conference period. The timing was perfect (for me), particularly to see these artists in action, who push their traditional practices to the outer limits and, after the show, to hear them speak about their practice and collaboration.
I have met producers and companies that have invited me to visit their country and present or collaborate. After the 2011 conference, Game On was invited to present in India, and I met my designer for Mother Tongue. After France in 2014, I received an invitation to Singapore to collaborate with Maya Dance Theatre. I began that exchange two weeks ago, and already I have had offers to return and do more projects with Maya and other dance companies and artists.
WDA is free to us at Ausdance, yet so few artists know about this amazing opportunity each year in different locations around the world. It's a well-kept secret, but thanks to Ausdance and Julie Dyson for her incredible work and advocacy, I am happy to share my experiences so that everyone can benefit.