News

Executive Director’s May update

Advocating for a sustainable and thriving dance sector was the theme of my first month as Ausdance National's Executive Director

We are currently representing the dance sector by contributing knowledge to three urgent issues that impact healthy growth in Australia’s creative economy:

  • Access to professional mental health support for those who work in the entertainment industry, because we can't tackle these issues in isolation. We need to support each other.
  • Access to education and training resources to prevent discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying, because these impact our mental health and wellbeing. Together we can create healthy work environments free from these threats.
  • Sustainable access to international expertise that transfers skills to Australian organisations and creatives, because this will stimulate innovation.

Congratulations to all who took part in BIG DANCE this year. It was wonderful to be part of the handover at Cathedral square on Sunday 29 April and fantastic to meet Jacqueline Rose, and learn of the Big Dance legacy. 

Our AGM took place on Sunday the 13 May, at Ausdance NSW meeting room. The Annual Report is now available. 2017 was a big year of activity, advocacy and change.

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Save the date: 2018 Australian Dance Awards

The 2018 Australian Dance Awards will take place on Saturday 8 September at 4.00 pm at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

We have appointed Sandi Woo as Producer. Sandi will work with local and interstate companies, independent dance artists and Ausdance Queensland to create a diverse program for the event. The late afternoon time slot has been selected so that everyone can enjoy Brisbane Festival’s Opening Celebrations, later that evening. 

We will announce more details in the coming weeks, including details of sector meetings set to take place over that weekend, ensuring wonderful networking opportunities.

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Archiving Ausdance National at the National Library of Australia

With about 250 Ausdance National archive boxes now housed at the National Library in Canberra, the work of cataloguing their contents continues.

This week marked a major milestone in this process, with Julie Dyson and Sandra Macarthur-Onslow reaching the 200-box mark in a collection that includes 40 years of Ausdance National’s achievements—submissions, funding applications, letters of support, reports, analysis of the dance sector, projects such as Safe Dance & Dancers’ Transition, strategic plans, minutes, publications, photographs, plus an impressive archive of Australian dance companies, large and small, and independent artists’ ephemera. It’s an amazing and impressive record of a 40-year period in Australian dance history between 1977 and 2017 which we are sure future researchers will find invaluable.

the joys of open plan office spacesJulie Dyson and Sandra Macarthur-Onslow at work at the National Library of Australia.

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World Dance Alliance prepares for Panpapanpalya

As Secretary of WDA Asia Pacific, I am preparing agendas and papers for the annual general meeting of WDA Asia Pacific, to be held in Adelaide on Wednesday 11 July. Ausdance National supports the WDA through publication of conference proceedings on the Ausdance website and I represent Ausdance through board membership of both the Global Executive and the Asia-Pacific region.

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Arts educators call for intervention in ‘flawed’ Arts curriculum review process

Following meetings in Canberra with politicians and the Secretary of the Department of Communications & the Arts in late February, the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has again focused on what it considers to be the flawed consultation process being undertaken by the NSW Education Syllabus Authority (NESA).

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2018 Australian Dance Awards nominations update

This year almost 200 nominations have made the 2018 long list. As acting nominations coordinator, I have been working with the panel to assess all nominations for eligibility, and we have been pleased to acknowledge the vast majority in the categories in which they were nominated.

The panel is about to begin work on the shortlisting process by reading each nomination and, where possible, viewing the work provided by the nominees. The panel will go through three rounds of voting, selecting their top four in each category in the first round, reviewing and voting again in the second round, and finally, if required, conferring by teleconference prior to the short list being announced. In this process the nominations coordinator tallies up the votes in each round, which also identifies the eventual winner in each category. The nominations for Lifetime Achievement are also considered, but nominees in this category are not published in advance.

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Ausdance National Council President’s Report – April 2018

It is with great excitement that on behalf of the Ausdance National Council, I am pleased to announce that the recruitment process for our new Executive Director has been completed, and this week we welcome Kerry Comerford to our Ausdance community! Kerry is an exceptionally experienced senior executive and CEO who has worked for more than 30 years across the global arts and entertainment industries. Her extensive experience in small-to-medium arts organisations in Australia through to the global likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Group Asia Pacific, provide Ausdance National with a wonderful platform through which to lead the work towards our refocused vision. With an early passion for dance and previous experience working with the both the art form and many artists within the sector, Kerry will use her leadership, producing, directing and board experience to work closely with the dance sector and our other arts sector colleagues to best represent and advocate for dance in Australia.

With Kerry now taking over the leadership of Ausdance National as Executive Director, this will be my last formal President’s Report for our monthly e-news. I look forward to supporting Kerry and the staff, volunteers and broader Ausdance network from more of a ‘behind-the-scenes’ Board position. A big thank you to the Ausdance network, dance community and broader arts sector for all the advice, encouragement, and collegial support that has been provided to both myself and the Board during the past 13 months! We look forward to working with you in a slightly different, although still 100% committed, capacity moving forward.

In the interim, advocacy work has been ongoing. Ausdance National will be representing the sector at the upcoming Industry Roundtable being held by Live Performance Australia in Melbourne on ‘Education and Training Resources to prevent workplace discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying’. This is a result of the #metoo and #timesup movements, and will be an important opportunity for the broader arts sector to discuss the way forward on this critical issue. Additionally, Ausdance National continues with its role as one of the inaugural members of the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment Advisory Committee Meeting with the next meeting being held in Sydney in late April.

Finally, the Ausdance National Annual General Meeting will be held in Sydney at the Ausdance NSW meeting room on Sunday 13 May at 10 am. We look forward to having as many members attend the AGM to be able to meet our new Executive Director, hear about the all of the various achievements in 2017—our 40th Anniversary year, in addition to receiving an update on all the exciting plans ahead for Ausdance National! We look forward to seeing you all there.

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Kerry Comerford announced as Executive Director Ausdance National

The Australian Dance Council—Ausdance Inc, the national peak body for dance, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Executive Director for Ausdance National.

Kerry ComerfordKerry Comerford, Executive Director Ausdance Nationa

Board President Professor Gene Moyle today announced the appointment of Kerry Comerford, who takes up the position this week.

Professor Moyle said, ‘After a comprehensive recruitment process, the Ausdance National Council is pleased to welcome Kerry Comerford to our Ausdance community.

Kerry is an exceptionally experienced senior executive and CEO who has worked for more than 30 years across the global arts and entertainment industries. She brings a broad range of experiences to the role having worked extensively with small-to-medium arts organisations in Australia through to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Group Asia Pacific. 

With an early passion for dance and previous experience working with both the art form and many artists within the sector, Kerry will use her leadership, producing, directing and board experience to work closely with the dance sector and our other arts sector colleagues to best represent and advocate for dance in Australia.’

The appointment of an Executive Director is the first stage in the implementation of Ausdance National’s 2018 Australia Council for the Arts funded project. The project refocuses the work of Ausdance National to better represent and service the dance sector in Australia in 2018 and beyond.

Under Kerry's leadership, and with the support of the Ausdance National Board, Ausdance National will achieve a number of key outcomes that support identified sector priorities including the review and update of Dance Plan 2012 involving sector-wide consultations; advancing advocacy items with key federal politicians, representation and relevant sector submissions; and establishment of a career development project.

For interview contact:

Professor Gene Moyle ARAD MAPS MCSEP GAICD SFHEA
President Ausdance National Council – Ausdance Inc.
Email
Phone: +61 7 3138 3616

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Have your say! Entertainment Industry Wellbeing Survey

Five Australian entertainment industry professionals attempt suicide every week. The time for change is now!

We need you, as an Australian entertainment industry professional, to share your thoughts surrounding the mental health needs of our industry people, how they should be supported and what are the most pressing issues.

There is still time to have your say. Your opinion matters.

Entertainment Assist, in association with Everymind, have launched an online survey as part of a research project for the mental health needs of our industry.

In less than 25 minutes, you can complete the survey and help guide the development of programs aimed at enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of Australian entertainment industry professionals.

Conducted on behalf of Entertainment Assist and the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment, findings from the new Everymind study will inform the development and implementation of a Prevention First Framework for Mental Health in the Australian Entertainment Industry.

Please share far and wide. Mental health and wellbeing in our industry is our shared responsibility, and we are looking for perspectives from all industry sectors.

If your job is technical, creative, behind-the-scenes or in front of a microphone or camera, we want to hear from you!

Survey link: bit.ly/MHEntertainAUSDANCE

Your response will remain strictly confidential and any published results de-identified.

We have identified that our industry has significant mental health and wellbeing problems. It’s now time to work on a solution together.

www.entertainmentassist.org.au
FB: http://www.facebook.com/entertainmentassist
Twitter: @entertainassist  #haveheart

About the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment

The Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment is an Entertainment Assist cross-sector peer-to-peer initiative, for shared interest in positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours for a sustainable Australian entertainment industry.

Why is Ausdance National supporting this research?

Ausdance National is a founding member of the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment.

As a member, we strive to uphold the AAWE Statement of Values that highlight respect, integrity, empathy, courage and collaborative leadership. We aim to provide advocacy and practical support to the mental health and wellbeing of industry professionals.

‘AAWE officially launched on World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2017, and it is a very exciting network for dance to be involved with, given it is a world-first, cross-sector initiative for shared interest in positive mental health and wellbeing behaviours for a sustainable Australian entertainment industry.’ —Professor Gene Moyle, Ausdance National President

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Ausdance National Council President’s update – March 2018

It’s been a very busy start to 2018 with quite a number of changes happening at Ausdance National!

Firstly, we ended our 40th year with a fabulous acknowledgment of the important work that Ausdance National undertakes, through critical funding support from the Australia Council for the Arts to assist in supporting the advancement of dance sector priorities. We are very grateful for the opportunity to appoint a new Executive Director to lead a refocused Ausdance National as a future enabler for the sector. We are currently in the final stages of the recruitment process, which has drawn strong applicants from across Australia and Internationally. The Board looks forward to completing this process very soon and actively supporting the incumbent in transitioning into the role.

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Arts educators call for a visionary approach to arts education and creative work

Media release 27 February 2018

In meetings in Canberra yesterday with advisers from all political parties and senior staff from the federal education and arts departments, the National Advocates for Arts Education called for a rethinking of all political parties’ commitment to various key aspects of arts education, and made specific recommendations.

A delegation of members of the NAAE asserted yesterday that arts skills are at least as important as literacy and numeracy and should be prioritised alongside STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

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Dancenorth winners of a prestigious 2017 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award

Five Dancenorth dancers walk out of the sea through rough waves.Photo: Amber Haines

North Queensland based and nationally renowned dance company Dancenorth have been awarded the 2017 Sidney Myer Group Award

The winners of the prestigious 2017 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards were announced by Carrillo Gantner AO, Chair of the Sidney Myer Fund at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the Australian Performing Arts Market on Wednesday 21 February 2018.

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Australian Dance Awards 2018

The 2018 Australian Dance Awards ceremony will be held in late 2018 with the venue TBA shortly.

The annual Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian dance.

The Awards:

  • acknowledge the depth and diversity of the dance profession in our society.
  • reward those whose achievements raise the standards, profile and prestige of dance in Australia.
  • present a performance program representing the excellence and diversity of both innovative and established dance in Australia.

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Adelaide Dance Festival

When: 8 – 21 July 2018
Where: Adelaide, South Australia

The Adelaide Dance Festival will be the first Adelaide festival dedicated to celebrating the art of dance, showcasing South Australian, national and international dance to Adelaide audiences.

Established by Australian Dance Theatre's artistic director and internationally-renowned choreographer Garry Stewart, the 2018 Adelaide Dance Festival will include performances, workshops, installations, talks and masterclasses with both free and ticketed events.

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Lucette Aldous made Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)

Congratulations to Lucette Aldous who has been made Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List.

Lucette has been recognised with the nation’s highest honour for her eminent service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet, as a principal artist at the national and international level, to dance education, and as a mentor and role model for young performers.

Lucette received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Dance Awards.

Lucette AldousPhoto: Barry Moreland

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Australia Council Arts Project funding to support crucial dance sector priorities

Ausdance National has received $64,860 from the Australia Council’s Arts Projects program to support the position of a new executive director who, in 2018, will work towards achieving outcomes that support identified sector priorities.

Under the leadership of a senior arts professional, and supported by a skills-based board, Ausdance National will advance prioritised national agendas across education, research, health, employment, and sector development.

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Ausdance National Council President’s Report – December 2017

As the end of the year draws closer, it has provided the opportunity to reflect on what a year 2017 has been for Ausdance National.

Firstly, we turned 40! It is incredible and humbling to reflect upon Ausdance National’s achievements over the past 40 years, including the huge number of people that have made significant contributions to supporting, advancing, promoting and celebrating the dance sector. While there were a number of key events and activities that assisted in celebrating this important milestone, a detailed outline of all these achievements can be found on the Ausdance National website.

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