A night to remember at the Australian Dance Awards

The 2012 Australian Dance Awards were presented in spectacular fashion at the beautiful new Heath Ledger Theatre in the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia on 1 September.

Catherine Osborne (l) President, Ausdance WA and Lauren Malkin (r) Client Manager AON Risk Services, presented Lucinda Sharp with her award for Services to Dance. Photo: Matthew Thompsett

Presented by Harlequin Floors with Ausdance WA, and directed by Ruth Osborne, the awards ceremony paid tribute to those shortlisted by an independent Australian Dance Awards panel, managed each year by Ausdance National. We saw some of the best Australian dance from Ochre Contemporary Dance Company, The Australian Ballet, Australian Dance Theatre, Kage, Link Dance Company and Steps Youth Dance Company. Independent work was represented by excerpts from Vicki Van Hout's Briwyant and Barry Moreland's award-winning HELIX  performed by Daryl Brandwood.

(l to r): Mal Gammon (General Manager of Future Now), Barry Moreland & Daryl Brandwood (recipients of the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance) & Paul White (multi-award winning dancer). Photo: Matthew Thompsett

In a moving Welcome to Country, Marie Taylor gave us a real sense of place through story telling, and former ABC broadcaster Verity James brought her unique sense of humour and knowledge of the arts to the MC's role. We loved being able to hear the citation for each shortlisted nominee and being able to see their work on screen, and then seeing the In Memoriam segment accompanied by the Eneksis Vocal Ensemble, which had previously accompanied an outstanding performance of Twyla Tharp’s Sweet Fields by Link.

Internationally renowned ballerina Lucette Aldous (l) and Sandie Windsor-Richards (r) National Manager, Dance Products & Services Bloch, presented Nanette Hassall with the award for Lifetime Achievement. Photo: Matthew Thompsett

Another wonderful touch came with film of Lucette Aldous and Rudolph Nureyev performing in the 1973 production of Don Quixote, followed by the live Don Q performance by Chengwu Guo and Ako Kondo of The Australian Ballet. The Lifetime Achievement award was then presented by Lucette to Nanette Hassall to a prolonged standing ovation—an absolute highlight in an evening full of highlights.

(l) Julie Dyson AM, National Director, Ausdance, presented Stephanie Lake (r), with the inaugural Ausdance Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship. Photos: Matthew Thompsett

Mid-career choreographer Stephanie Lake was presented with the inaugural Ausdance Peggy van Praagh Fellowship of $10,000, with her latest work, Dream Lucid, recently being performed as part of the Spring Dance Festival at the Sydney Opera House.

Choreographer Chrissie Parrott (l) and Warwick Lavis (r), General Manager of Matilda Bay restaurant, presented Natalie Weir, Expressions Dance Company, with the award for Outstanding Achievement in Choregraphy for R&J. Photo: Matthew Thompsett

Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners, to Ausdance WA, to all the sponsors who made these presentations possible, and to the selection and advisory panels whose members work so hard to ensure that these awards honour the best of Australian dance.

The 2013 Australian Dance Awards will be presented in Canberra by Ausdance ACT next year as part of the Centenary of Canberra celebrations. You can nominate now for these awards—nominations will close on 28 February next year.