This week there were some major ministerial announcements around the development of the National Cultural Policy (NCP), including a review of the Australia Council. It is widely expected that the Government will announce new ideas and programs that the Australia Council will deliver as part of the NCP.
One of the great advantages of working with Ausdance National is the opportunity to see performances and appreciate some of the excellent dance training we have in this country.
In Perth recently for the Ausdance directors’ meeting, I was lucky enough to catch Summerdance, the end-of-year performance by WAAPA students who premiered Balanchine’s great classic, Serenade, staged by Balanchine Trust repetiteur Eve Lawson. The work was beautifully performed, as WA’s 7.30 program reported, and the students also gave outstanding performances of works by Gabrielle Nankivell, Xiao-Xiong Zhang and Natalie Weir.
This week we’ve seen On Course in Canberra, QL2’s program of student work from a range of tertiary dance courses in Australia. Apart from exceptionally strong technique, the students’ maturity in communicating their ideas made for an entertaining and thought-provoking program.
I’d also been lucky enough to see the Paris Conservatoire student season in November in a program that included Noces by Angelin Preljocalj, and works by Hofesh Shechter and Thomas Lebrun. These students were also outstanding, but it's no surprise that it confirms Australian dance training as being up there with the world’s best!
This week we hosted Shannon Litzenberger in Canberra as part of her research into Australian cultural policy. Shannon is a Canadian dance artist, writer, director and advocate who we first met at the 2009 Dance Congress in Hamburg.
Shannon is particularly interested in the political process of developing a national cultural policy; the ways in which new funding models might be developed; the cultural diplomacy strategies of the government; the National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper and the various (and many) responses received by the government as part of its consultation.
In news that will particularly interest Australian dance researchers, educators and students, the Tanja Liedtke Foundation has announced that it has created the Tanja Liedtke digital archive, now freely accessible to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Tanja’s life and work.
The Foundation has also announced that one of Tanja's works, construct, has been voted by The Monthly magazine as one of 20 Australian masterpieces, across all art forms, since the year 2000. The work was declared the masterpiece in the category of contemporary dance, a great achievement!
Last week 25 dance support organisations met in Paris for three days of talks, presentations and performances. As we are members of the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific, we had also organised for WDA people to provide this mainly European group with more information about its activities.
These annual meetings are an opportunity to share dance support strategies, ideas and visions for the future. We were invited on the first day to share this year’s achievements, a challenge for many European organisations that face severe funding cuts. Despite funding difficulties all round, presentations were inspirational and visionary for dance, and we came away with many ideas for collaborations and future planning with now-familiar colleagues such as Madeline Ritter and Ingo Diehl (Germany), Caroline Miller (Dance UK) and our French colleagues Agnès Wasserman and Frédéric Moreau.