News

Noel Tovey AM inducted into the Australian Dance Awards Hall of Fame

Australia's first male ballet dancer of Indigenous heritage, Noel was inspired by a performance of Les Sylphides at the National Theatre in Melbourne. He took classes at the National Theatre Ballet School, studied ballet with Madame Borovansky, Drew Hardy, London Afro Cuban with Katherine Dunham, jazz with Matt Mattox, singing with Joan Arnold at the Melbourne Conservatorium and Rita Godfrey in London, and acting with Hayes Gordon.

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Helen Herbertson receives 2017 Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement

Helen has been an inspirational figure in the world of Australian dance for over four decades. She has led a highly-regarded and multi-faceted career over that time as a performer, choreographer, artistic director, creative collaborator, independent producer, project manager, teacher, performance coach, arts adviser and academic.

Morphia Series by Helen Herbertson and Ben Cobham. This work was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance in 2003 Photo: Rachelle Roberts

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National Dance Forum 2017: Dance in the Digital Domain

MEDIA RELEASE (84Kb PDF)

Tuesday 22 August 2017
For immediate release

Australia’s peak dance organisation, Ausdance National, will host a two-day forum next month bringing together dance makers, producers and presenters for a highly topical forum focusing on the future of dance within the digital domain. The National Dance Forum is Australia’s key platform for dance artists, industry professionals and educators in providing rich opportunities to discuss, debate and collaborate with some of the most influential individuals and organisations in the country.

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World Dance Alliance August 2017 update

‘Dancing from the Grassroots’ was the title of the World Dance Alliance Global Summit, held last month at the Memorial University, St John’s, Newfoundland.

Professor Beverley Diamond, professor of ethnomusicology at Memorial University, delivered a fascinating keynote address on the first day, 'Time and the body: Where music and dance meet – sometimes'. The opening was also graced with a wonderful welcome by Eastern Owl, 'a unique group of women who blend the styles of First Nations drum music and contemporary folk to create their innovative sound'.

Australians attending the 2017 WDA Global SummitAustralians attending the WDA Global Summit: Julie Dyson, Anja Ali-Haapala, John Utans (with his performers from HK Academy of Performing Arts), Sonia York-Pryce, Lucinda Coleman and Ellen Avery (WAAPA), and Rosemary Bennett.

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Ausdance National President’s update August 2017

Over the last four weeks since the last update, the Ausdance National Board and office team have been focused on the two key events for the year on the Ausdance calendar – the Australian Dance Awards and National Dance Forum (NDF). Working closely with the Ausdance Victoria team on both, these events are shaping up to be a wonderful way in which to recognise the significant contributions so many make to our vibrant dance community, explore and advance the digital agenda for our sector, and celebrate Ausdance’s 40-year contribution to dance in Australia.

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Nail that 3-minute pitch closed workshop

We invite practitioners to submit an expression of interest to participate in a skills-based closed workshop. Facilitated by a panel of experts, this session will provide you with practical tools and develop your pitching skills.

This is a closed workshop session, open to practitioners who may or may not be using digital technology in their practice. The session is limited to 12 participants.

Please complete the EOI form, attach your proposal and a brief CV, and email to Ausdance National by Friday 15 September 2017.

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First National Dance Forum 2017 speakers announced

We know the dance sector wants a chance to share, inspire, connect and to be inspired by the whole dance industry—that includes the broader ecology, from independents to majors. At NDF 2017 we'll hear inspiring talks from our National Dance Forum 2017 speakers.

Here are our first speakers for this year's forum.

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2017 Australian Dance Awards shortlist

Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees for one of the country’s most prestigious performing arts awards. The Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour outstanding achievement.

Dancer on stage floor leaning back with head tilted skyward and one arm reaching up.iD by Bangarra Dance Theatre. Choreographed by Stephen Page. Photography by Jeff Busby

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Ausdance President’s report – July 2017

The Ausdance National board has been very busy these past couple of months, in-between meeting for a second time in early June and planning for our next meeting on 23 July 2017. These regular meetings have enabled a range of initiatives to be implemented which have included:

  • working with the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) on a joint submission in addition to an individual Ausdance submission regarding VET Student Loans
  • clarifying and streamlining roles and responsibilities for our Ausdance National office team across administration and marketing areas
  • the establishment of Board Subcommittees with key board members being tasked with responsibility for actively supporting and driving identified priority areas
  • the launch of our fundraising campaign with the fabulous support of past life members Shane Colquhoun and Julie Dyson
  • the activation of the National Dance Forum advisory panel including initial curation and program scheduling
  • the ongoing planning and securement of sponsorship support for the Australian Dance Awards in collaboration with Ausdance VIC.

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ArtsPeak update—July 2017

Australia Council's National Service Organisation scan

The Australia Council has finally completed the desktop scan of national service organisations that analyses 111 arts organisations, covering all states and territories and artistic disciplines.
Of the analysed organisations:

  • 97% engage in member communication activities including newsletters, social media, and journals
  • 83% deliver capacity building activities
  • 43% engage in advocacy
  • 36% undertake research and evaluation

The research is of particular interest to Ausdance National, following its loss of Australia Council operational funding last year—we definitely fulfil all of the activities listed above! The Council notes that it won’t be undertaking any specific communications related to the scan, but sees it as one of the many resources available on its website.

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World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific—July 2017 update

The 2017 WDA Global Summit will be held in St John’s, Newfoundland, from 24–28 July, with a full program of performances, scholarly papers and workshops, including a Choreolab. The timetable is still being developed, but you can read the exciting program that includes several Australian presenters, among them Assoc. Professor Cheryl Stock AM, who has just stepped down as the WDA’s inaugural Secretary-General.

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National Advocates for Arts Education July 2017 update

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) met with several key groups and individuals in Canberra on 19 and 20 June.

Members of National Advocates for Arts Education outside Parliament House, CanberraMembers of National Advocates for Arts Education outside Parliament House, Canberra. L to R: John Saunders (Drama Australia), Richard Letts (The Music Trust), Derek Weeks (Australian Teachers of Media - ATOM), Tamara Winikoff (NAVA), Roger Dunscombe (ATOM), Julie Dyson (NAAE chair), Sue Fox (Ausdance).

We were especially encouraged by our meeting with officers from the Department of Communications and the Arts, Rebecca Rush, Mark Gordon and Stella Jones, and with officers from the Department of Education & Training, Cris Castro and Eleanor Newby. We were able to follow up on our previous submissions regarding the loss of VET FEE-HELP for arts courses (575 Kb PDF) and with further discussions about advancing the STEAM agenda.

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Arts education advocates question VET Student Loans methodology

The NAAE supports the review of the VET FEE-HELP rules, and understands the need to weed out those rorting the system and those private providers delivering sub-standard courses in line with Australian Quality Framework (AQF) that applies to all post-compulsory education. However, we have major concerns about the methodology used to identify courses that will no longer qualify for government assistance, and take this opportunity to provide information that may not have been available earlier. 

NAAE noted firstly that the department must take account of poorer SES students who may use VET courses as a gateway to university study. If reputable RTOs offering arts courses are eliminated, these opportunities will immediately disadvantage some students, particularly those from regional and remote schools where the arts have been a major factor in eliminating poor attendance records, and where career pathways in the arts are identified. 

NAAE also questioned why some previously eliminated providers are already back on the list, and yet the larger reputable TAFEs and arts training institutions are not. NAAE would like to know what criteria were used to make these decisions.

In response to a question about whether there was another sector like the Arts, NAAE noted that the arts industry was unique in the ways in which it trained and employed artists.

Recommendations about the methodology used to define eligible courses

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2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for dance sector

Ausdance National congratulates the 2017 recipients and thanks you all for your significant contribution to Australia's dance sector.

AO—Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia

  • Mr Stephen George PAGE (NSW) — For distinguished service to the performing arts and contemporary dance, through enriching Australia's cultural environment, and by presenting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts to the world.
  • Mr Michael Francis LYNCH AM (NSW) — For distinguished service to arts administration, to leadership of international cultural institutions and nationally recognised art organisations, and through contributions to Australian public life.

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Ausdance responds to review of the VET student loans eligible course list and loan caps methodology

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham 
Minister for Education and Training
PO Box 6100, Senate
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

28 May 2017 Dear Minister,

RE: Review of the VET Student Loans Eligible Course List and Loan Caps Methodology

As per our previous submission in October 2016 regarding the exclusion of dance performance courses from the eligible course list for the VET Student Loans program, Ausdance would like to re-state its significant concern in light of the recent call for submissions regarding the review of the VET student loans eligible course list and loan caps methodology.

Following Julie Dyson’s meeting with you on 10 November 2016, we received a response to our submission by Kate Woodall, Director – VET Student Loans Branch dated 8 November 2016. Within this response, Ms Woodall stated “…the Australian Government has a responsibility to ensure that tax payers’ money is well directed and spent in a way that offers the greatest benefit to the Australian Community...(and) the list targets those courses…(that) reflect good employment prospects”.

This perspective appears at odds with the Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Honourable Ian Macfarlane’s statement in the 2013 Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries report regarding the significant contribution of the creative industries to the Australian economy, that “quite separate (to this economic value) is the intangible but undeniable worth of knowing our nation creates great software, films, TV, radio, music, theatre, dance, design, media, writing, marketing and architecture”.

As previously identified, a number of Australia’s leading dance training institutions such as Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and the TAFE SA Dance program as delivered by the Adelaide College of the Arts, remain excluded from the eligible list which will result in significantly adverse impacts on their enrolment numbers. This will consequently limit the opportunities for such organisations to provide specialised career pathways in ballet and contemporary pre-professional dance training, and thus limit the future contributions to the creative economy in Australia. Alongside fellow institutions such as The Australian Ballet School and the National Aboriginal & Islander Skills Development Scheme (NAISDA), these courses have produced generations of high calibre graduates that have/are contributing to the dance profession and the creative industries more broadly, as evidenced throughout their 36 and 30 year-histories to-date.

The courses offered in both of these organisations clearly meet industry needs, contribute to addressing skills shortages, and align with strong employment outcomes—all key factors outlined in the proposed methodology for approving courses.

We therefore recommend that:

  • Appropriate targeted industry consultation and evaluation of the quality and impact of the professional dance courses excluded from the eligible list is undertaken. Industry benchmarking between courses is a common and required practice as part of re-accreditation and/or quality assurance processes, therefore the sector would have information to contribute to this point.
  • Reinstatement of Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses in dance onto the eligible list or alternatively, extension of eligibility to specifically recognised training institutions that provide these courses and can demonstrate the achievement of strong education and industry outcomes.

We greatly appreciate your consideration of these points and would welcome an opportunity to discuss this further with you at any time.

Yours Sincerely

Associate Professor Gene Moyle ARAD MAPS MCSEP GAICD SFHEA
National President
Ausdance National Council

PDF version: Ausdance National's letter to Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training about the review of the VET Student Loans Eligible Course List and Loan Caps Methodology (80 Kp PDF)

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National forum to explore dance practice in the digital age

MEDIA RELEASE (90Kb PDF)

16 May 2017

The 2017 National Dance Forum will bring together makers, producers and presenters to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum will focus on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain.

Led by the dance sector’s advocate for 40 years—Ausdance National—the fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) will take place at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, 25–26 September 2017 and will follow the Australian Dance Awards (Arts Centre Melbourne, 24 September 2017).

Dance artists, companies, presenters and researchers looking for ways to grow meaningful audience relationships and understand the issues around making art in a digital environment, need to attend.

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