News: September 2018

Change of leadership at Ausdance National

MEDIA RELEASE 24 September 2018

Ausdance National is pleased to announce the appointment of Kathy Baykitch as Executive Director following the resignation of Kerry Comerford.

Ausdance National is Australia’s peak body for dance advocacy, delivering national projects including the Australian Dance Awards and the biannual National Dance Forum. It represents the Australian dance sector on national policy issues including immigration, education and health.

Incoming Executive Director Ms Baykitch has extensive experience in dance as a producer, educator, practitioner and community artist in Australia and the United Kingdom. Appointed for her broad understanding of the Australian dance ecology, Ms Baykitch most recently held positions as Executive Producer for Shaun Parker & Company and Faculty of Education, Programs Manager for the Royal Academy of Dance, Australia. She was founding Director of FORM Dance Projects, formally Western Sydney Dance Action.

A recent Board Member of Ausdance National, Ms Baykitch has been part of significant changes occurring in the organisation over the past 18 months, including rebranding and restructuring.

Kathy BaykitchKathy Baykitch

On her appointment Ms Baykitch said ‘Ausdance National is an important voice for the Australian dance sector which provides support and advocacy for dance in its many forms. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to lead and drive recent changes in partnership with the Board and the wider sector’.

Kerry Comerford is resigning to take up another position within the arts sector, yet to be announced.

Ms Comerford has worked closely with the Board to review and assess many of its current procedures and priorities. She has provided key leadership in the delivery of the 2018 Australian Dance Awards, active engagement with advocacy via industry lobbying, and facilitated a focus on health and wellbeing, with representation on the Australian Alliance for Wellbeing in Entertainment working party. The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry for contributions to-date, and wish her all the best for her new position.

Following on from Ms Comerford’s time, Ms Baykitch will work with the National Board to ensure capacity building across the dance sector. In particular, Ausdance National will continue to support professional development, encourage growth in the small to medium sector, and advance the agenda for gender diversity and leadership.

Ms Baykitch commences her appointment on 8 October 2018.

Ends - Media enquires: Professor Gene Moyle, President, Ausdance National, [email protected], 0411 640 012

Leave a comment

Exciting opportunity to lead the renowned VCA Dance Program at the University of Melbourne

Job title: Senior Lecturer / Associate Professor / Professor in Dance
Department: Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music
Institution: The University of Melbourne
Salary: Level C $116,901 - $134,792 p.a Level D $145,685 - $160,500 p.a. or Level E $187,654 p.a., plus 17% superannuation. Level of appointment is subject to the appointee's qualifications and experience.

The VCA Dance program is nationally recognised and has received much acclaim for the development of dancers, choreographers and contributors to the profession. We are seeking an experienced practitioner and academic to lead the artistic and pedagogical vision of the program.

This is a full-time, continuing appointment where it is expected the appointee will be offered the position of Head of Dance for a period of three years in the first instance.

Applicants must have a doctoral qualification (or equivalent artistic and academic standing) combined with demonstrated experience in leadership and management. Also essential are: significant standing as a practitioner; knowledge of curriculum creation and transformation; substantial understanding of a University research environment; demonstrated track record of contribution to the strategic development of an organisation; involvement in public outreach; and the ability to develop local, national and international engagement opportunities.

The position is based at the Southbank Campus, in the heart of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct.

Applications close: 8 October 2018

How to apply

Online applications are preferred. Go to the University of Melbourne Careers website.

Leave a comment

Lewis Major receives Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship

At the 21st Australian Dance Awards (8 September 2018), Ausdance National awarded the Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship to Lewis Major. The fellowship provides financial assistance for an emerging choreographer to travel internationally with the sole purpose of developing and extending their choreographic practice.

Lewis has designed a program of mentorship and career development activities designed to build his professional networks and further develop skills in dramaturgy, choreography and independent producing in an international context. The program includes activities to strengthen his choreographic and broader artistic development and practice by facilitating face-to-face dialogue and creative output with international artistic collaborators.

Lewis will travel to Israel, Taiwan and Europe.

Lewis Major

Being raised in the rural heart of the Antipodes, there was a scarcity of art being made available to regional audiences as I was growing up. Hence, as an emerging artist, I am passionate about making dance accessible; strongly believing that intelligence in art and its relevance to audiences is fundamental in its power to enact change.

View recent choreography from Lewis Major on Vimeo.

Lewis Major in performance

Lewis Major is an award-winning choreographer, dancer and creative entrepreneur based in the deep south of regional South Australia. Not having set foot in a theatre until his mid-teens, he finds it ironic to now be working in the most maligned and misunderstood sector of the arts industry: contemporary dance.

He is the only dance artist he’s ever heard of who can both shear a sheep, has danced with Hugh Jackman and travelled to all three axis-of-evil countries. His work is invested in the potential of choreography and performance to inform a cultural discourse of sorts and to enable affective experiences.

As a performer and dance maker, he has worked with and alongside Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Shaun Parker, Hans van Den Broeck/Cie Soit and Australian Dance Theatre. He was a founding member of Aakash Odedra Company. With an extensive back catalogue of choreographies, he has created and staged his own work on six continents.

Alongside his choreographic work, Lewis is dedicated to mentoring and supporting young male dancers from regional and less privileged areas of Australia. He has the sole rights in South Australia to Shaun Parker’s outdoor work, TROLLEYS, and has toured it to regional areas in the South East of SA, with a secondee program running alongside for regionally based dancers. He has also initiated collaborations and an exchange program between dance students in Taiwan and South Australia. He is currently setting up a not-for-profit artist in residence creative hub and art hotel in Adelaide, with the profits being funneled back into supporting creative practice in state.

Leave a comment

Australian Youth Dance Festival International

Ausdance Victoria, in partnership with Youth Dance Australia, presents the Australian Youth Dance Festival – International 2019 (AYDF) in Melbourne, Australia, 7–12 July 2019.

Directed by Alice Lee Holland, the 2019 Festival will bring together young dancers and their leaders from Australia and around the world for five incredible days of creativity.

Titled REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE (rpm), the Festival will thrive on creation and collaboration. Dancers will dance, think, make and talk dance together, through daily sessions in contemporary dance, choreography, repertory and improvisation.

For more information visit Ausdance Victoria.

Leave a comment

2018 Australian Dance Awards winners

The annual Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian dance. The Australian Dance Awards are produced by the Australian Dance Council—Ausdance National.

Presented by Ausdance National and Harlequin Floors, the 2018 Australian Dance Awards were held on Saturday 8 September at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Congratulations to the winners and the shortlisted nominees! And the winners are....

Lifetime Achievement

The 2018 Australian Dance Award for Lifetime Achievement goes to Athol Willoughby, OAM, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the dance profession in Australia for over 65 years.

Athol Willoughby Lifetime Achievement

Photo: Michela Dent-Causon

Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance

The 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance goes to Tracks Dance Company for Man Made, an outstanding cross-generational work calling on a diverse range of movement skills to produce an engaging examination of the male psyche.

Tracks Dance Company

Photo: David Hancock

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance

The 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance goes to Co3 for Project NEXT, an outstanding production that demonstrated a high degree of collaboration and creativity, support for one another, and for their evident enthusiasm and commitment to the work.


Photo: Stefan Gosatti

Services to Dance Education

The 2018 Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education goes to Katrina Rank for outstanding leadership in dance education, in promoting dance for people with disabilities, the aged and young children, and for her curriculum support through online services, workshops and writing.

Katrina Rank, Services to Dance Education

Photo: Robert Wagner

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

The Dance Australia 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography goes to Stephanie Lake for Pile of Bones (Stephanie Lake Company) for imaginative and visceral choreography that defied categorisation and that blended remarkably with its collaborative elements of music and design.

Stephanie Lake, Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for Pile of Bones

Photo: Bryony Jackson

Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media

The Foxtel Arts 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media goes to Sue Healey for Eileen, a haunting short film about a senior dancer, respectfully produced with exceptional lighting and use of colour in costumes and props.

Sue Healey, Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media

Photo: Cinematographer Judd Overton

Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance, Musicals or Physical Theatre

The 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance, Musicals or Physical Theatre goes to Gravity & Other Myths for BACKBONE, an utterly exhilarating, skilled performance that demonstrates the cutting-edge evolution of circus/physical theatre as a form of dance that can tell so many more stories.

Gravity & Other Myths

Photo: Darcy Grant

Services to Dance

The AON 2018 Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance goes to Hilary Trotter for her work with Ausdance National, initiating Australian injury prevention and management research and inventing the now internationally-recognised term ‘Safe Dance’, with implications for dance practice world wide.

Hilary Trotter, Services to Dance

Photo: Moruya Photographics

Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance

The QUT Creative Industries' 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance goes to Martin del Amo for CHAMPIONS, a joyously playful, expertly-crafted production that deftly positions 11 highly-skilled, independent female dancers into a football stadium to challenge pervasive notions of who qualifies as a champion.

Martin del Amo, Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance for Champions

Photo: Heidrun Löhr

Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer goes to Jana Castillo for construct (Australian Dance Theatre), an astonishing performance fusing strength, flexibility and the ability to illustrate raw and empathic emotions in ways which left audiences and critics in awe.

Jana Castillo, Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer for 'construct' (Australian Dance Theatre)

Photo: Chris Herzfeld Camlight Productions

Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer

The 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer goes to Beau Dean Riley Smith for Bennelong (2017) (Bangarra Dance Theatre) for a ravishingly beautiful, soul-stirring and career-defining performance that captured the conflict and pain endured by iconic Indigenous Eora elder, Bennelong, danced with extraordinary strength, grace and feeling.

Beau Dean Riley Smith, Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer for Bennelong (Bangarra Dance Theatre)

Photo: Daniel Boud

Outstanding Performance by a Company

The Harlequin Floors 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Company goes to Dancenorth for Attractor, mesmerising and ritualistic, with the choreographic and musical momentum sustained from beginning to end by an outstanding display of energetic dancing.

Dancenorth, Outstanding Performance by a Company for 'Attractor'

Leave a comment