Careers in dance

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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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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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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Fatigue identified as major contributor to injury in Australia’s professional dancers

The Safe Dance Report IV: Investigating injuries in Australia’s professional dancers, published today on the Ausdance National website, examines the Australian context and occurrence of injury in professional dancers and makes recommendations to support sustainable, healthy, and productive dancing careers.

A collaboration between The University of Sydney and Ausdance National, Safe Dance IV is the fourth in a series of Safe Dance research projects. It continues the important work started by Ausdance National almost 30 years ago.

The survey of 195 Australian professional dancers found 97% experienced at least one significant injury in their dance career, compared with 89% in 1999. And 73% of dancers reported experiencing a dance-related injury in the past 12 months.

Author and lead researcher Amy Jo Vassallo, a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health Sciences at The University of Sydney, said the consequences of these injuries can be quite substantial and include missed performance opportunities and income, ongoing pain and disability, and expensive treatment including surgery. Serious injuries can even lead to early retirement from dance careers and lifelong disability.

‘The proportion of dancers reporting fatigue as a contributing factor to their injury has increased from 26% in 1990 and 33% in 1999 to 48% in 2017’ she said.

‘However, compared with previous Safe Dance survey results, fewer dancers reported poor technique or environment as a contributor to their injury. This demonstrates the benefits of education, policies and interventions regarding safe dancing practice for dancers and teachers at all stages of a dance career, including early teaching and pre-professional training’.

Ausdance National President, Professor Gene Moyle, said the Safe Dance Report IV continues an important lineage for the Australian dance community. Hearing the words “safe dance practice” being so much a part of our language and approach within the dance sector today is a testament to the impact and contribution of the collective Safe Dance reports within our industry.

Recommendations have outlined that access to dance-educated or dance-specialised healthcare services is essential; addressing the cultural aspects of injury reporting is critical; and that a better acknowledgement of the psychological and psychosocial aspects of injury is required.

Key findings

Survey respondents’ employment as a dance performer was most commonly with a dance company (66%) or as an independent dance artist (38%).

Injuries remain common in professional dance, with 73% of professional dancers reporting experiencing an injury in the past 12 months. The most common site of injury was the ankle (26%), followed by the knee (11%) and hip (10%).

The most common injury type was a strain (25%), followed by chronic inflammation (19%) and a sprain (18%).

There was one accidental or traumatic injury for every two overuse or gradual injuries. The most common responses regarding the self-reported contributor to injury were fatigue (48%), followed by new or difficult choreography (39%) and ignoring early warning signs (31%).

Despite 62% of respondents reporting belief that there is still stigma associated with sustaining injuries as a professional dancer, 75% of dancers did say they would seek professional opinion if they suspected an injury. However, only 50% stated they would tell someone within their dance employment and 49% said they would also take their own preventative steps to manage their injury.

Despite seeing a clinician for treatment of their injury, 40% of dancers whose injury was currently unresolved were unsure if their injury would resolve in the foreseeable future. This indicates that many dancers need to be provided with improved and realistic expectations of their injury, capacity to dance during their injury and likely return to full dance ability.

For interview contact:

Amy Vassallo | PhD Candidate
Faculty of Health Sciences
The University of Sydney
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 02 9351 9010 and 02 9351 9108

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

Download Safe Dance Report IV media release

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Dancer–makers: apply for Tasdance Makers Company

Expressions of interest are sought from contemporary dancer–makers for Tasdance professional ensemble 2018–20.

Tasdance has embarked on a daring new approach to the nature of the professional contemporary dance ensemble to become the Tasdance Makers Company.

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National Advocates for Arts Education October update

The NAAE will have its next meeting on 11 December, but NSW reps will in the meantime be meeting with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to discuss concerns about the way in which the Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus is being rewritten, and about the exclusion of Media Arts from the NSW curriculum, despite agreement by all Australian governments to adopt the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. It’s clear that NSW’s options clearly do not represent the agreement endorsed at COAG (which included the NSW Education Minister). (Minister’s response [PDF 2.9MB]

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​Meeting the future head-on

Can you even remember life before the internet? Hang on, perhaps you weren’t alive.

The digital domain has transformed almost every facet of our lives—but for those of us in the arts, it’s been especially influential in the way we make and consume art. In many ways there have never been more ways to get your art out there, and the artistic possibilities of new technologies are seemingly endless…but life for dance in the digital domain is not without its challenges.

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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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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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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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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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Ausdance welcomes return of Catalyst funds to the Australia Council

Ausdance National and the Ausdance network welcome news today that the Arts Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, has decided to return Catalyst funds to the Australia Council. 

The sudden removal of funds from the Australia Council, the loss of transparent peer reviewed decision-making processes and uncertainty about the role of Catalyst have caused enormous disruption and distress across the sector.

Ausdance National President-elect, Associate Professor Gene Moyle, said: ‘The Minister’s decision to return remaining Catalyst funds to the Australia Council is a very welcome step. The Minister is to be congratulated for acting on the strong messages he has received about the loss of highly-regarded dance companies and organisations, and has moved to address the ongoing concerns of the arts profession.

‘We now want to ensure that some funding balance will be returned to the small to medium dance sector in particular, so we welcome the Minister’s comment that “This will allow the Australia Council to continue to focus on supporting small to medium arts organisations.'

We look forward to working with the Minister and the Australia Council to ensure that this goal is realised.

Contact: Gene Moyle (0411 640 012) or Julie Dyson (041 2211 513)

Media release, 18 March 2017 (84 Kb PDF)

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National Advocates for Arts Education report—March 2017

The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has had a very productive start to 2017, with the NAAE paper advocating for inclusion of the Arts in the STEM agenda being submitted to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Innovation and Creativity: Workforce for the new economy. The paper was co-authored by John Saunders and Sandra Gattenhof (Drama Australia), with input from all other artform members of NAAE, including dance educators Jeff Meiners (SA) and Sue Fox (Qld).

While most people only refer to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) when discussing innovation and creativity, the Arts are considered in many countries to be an essential element of an innovative economy, hence the increasing advocacy for STEAM in Australia. We note with real concern that the arts were not included in the Federal Government’s original National Innovation & Science Agenda, nor do most submissions to the current inquiry mention the Arts.

However, strong submissions were made for a STEAM agenda by several prominent organisations, including the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), the Australian Copyright Council, and Arts Educators, Practitioners & Researchers Australia, as well as several universities.

NAAE wants to bring together all those advocates for STEAM and develop a new strategy for increasing the voice of the Arts in this country’s innovation agenda.

To keep up with current NAAE agendas and discussions about future activities, go to our NAAE Facebook page and join the conversation.

Julie Dyson – Chair

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