Ausdance National Council President’s Report – December 2017

As the end of the year draws closer, it has provided the opportunity to reflect on what a year 2017 has been for Ausdance National.

Firstly, we turned 40! It is incredible and humbling to reflect upon Ausdance National’s achievements over the past 40 years, including the huge number of people that have made significant contributions to supporting, advancing, promoting and celebrating the dance sector. While there were a number of key events and activities that assisted in celebrating this important milestone, a detailed outline of all these achievements can be found on the Ausdance National website.

The commencement of the year saw the Interim Executive Team, ably led by Shane Colquhoun and supported by Julie Dyson, providing significant support in managing the transition of the organisation to a new office location at Gorman House in Canberra and recruitment of a new skills-based board following the establishment of a new Constitution. The skills-based board commenced in March 2017 following the Annual General Meeting, and through the generous support of the Australian Council for the Arts, has been able to meet on a regular basis in person for four out of the five formal meetings held in 2017.

Some of the key activities and achievements for Ausdance National in 2017 include:


Julie Dyson, Ausdance National’s representative for a range of peak arts bodies, has continued to lead important advocacy activities for NAAE, WDA and Artspeak, alongside Sue Fox and Jeff Meiners wonderful contributions as specific Ausdance National (Dance) representatives for NAAE.

Ausdance National undertook a range of advocacy activities including submissions and the provision of letters of support, with many of the submissions undertaken in partnership alongside AMPAG and a range of arts organisations and advocacy bodies. These included: The Skilled Migration Occupation Lists regarding 457 Visas; VET Student Loans Eligible Course List and Loan Caps Methodology; National Sport Plan; Inquiry into the School to Work Transition (NAVA); and support for applications by organisations and artists for National, State and Local Government grant funding rounds.

Ausdance National is currently working with AMPAG on the exploration of shared priorities across a range of peak bodies and organisations within the performing arts sector, and represented within a research working group looking to be established by the Federal Government’s Bureau of Communication and the Arts.

Ausdance National was an inaugural founding member of the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment (AAWE), which was launched on 10 October 2017 and has already undertaken further research into this area to form the foundations of advocacy and development of tailored programs for the sector.

Australian Dance Awards

The 2017 Australian Dance Awards, produced in partnership with Ausdance VIC, were a fabulous success. A hearty congratulations once again to all the 2017 award winners – it was wonderful to see the sector come together to recognise and celebrate so many important people and organisations that make up our vibrant Australian dance industry.

Alongside the Ausdance VIC sponsors (particularly Arts House Melbourne), we would like to thank the wonderful Ausdance National sponsors whose support was critical to the event – Harlequin Floors, AON, Equity, and Gaynor Minden.

National Dance Forum

The 2017 NDF brought together makers, producers, and presenters from within and outside of dance, to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum was a great success and focused on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain.

Safe Dance IV

The Safe Dance IV Report was released and built upon the important legacy that the Safe Dance research projects into injuries in professional dancers have contributed since the first report in 1990. ArtsHub highlighted the key findings in a recent article that outlines the important recommendations for the sector to consider moving forward.


With the dedicated assistance of Julie Dyson and Shane Colquhoun, Ausdance National undertook a critical fundraising campaign that resulted in a greatly appreciated total amount of $15,096.00 to assist in supporting the key activities of Ausdance National in 2017 in light of its revised structure of 0.4 FTE Office Staff supported by the skills-based board members. As a registered charity organisation, all donations whether big or small make a significant difference – so thank you to everyone who makes a contribution.

Farewells & thanks

Ausdance National has had to say farewell to some key people in 2017, including long-term Ausdance National office team member Leanne Craig in late November and former Board member Marinda Burger in July. Leanne has played a critical role in her coordination of the Australian Dance Awards for many, many years and is a wealth of knowledge about the history of dance and the people in the industry. We wish to say a HUGE thank you to Leanne and acknowledge the very important role that she has played in being part of Ausdance National’s history herself. Thank you also to Marinda for her expert contributions to the Board during her time as Treasurer, and her ongoing passionate support of Ausdance National.

Thank you also to our other Ausdance National office team member Rachael Jennings, who is the powerhouse behind our marketing, e-news, publications and all things related to sharing what is happening in our sector. We are very grateful to her for her care and commitment to Ausdance National, and the living history of the organisation that she holds.

Thank you to Julie Dyson for her ongoing support, advice, and ongoing passionate advocacy for all things Ausdance! Her active role as a representative for the NAAE, World Dance Alliance and ArtsPeak have been critical to ensure that Ausdance National and therefore dance, is best represented nationally and internationally.

A huge thank you to Sandra Macarthur-Onslow and Julie Dyson who have been diligently packing, unpacking and archiving tonnes of boxes of Ausdance National history into the National Library of Australia. They have invested a significant amount of voluntary time and effort that will continue into early 2018 to assist in ensuring that such an important part of the dance sector’s history is documented, and we are very grateful for their efforts!

Thank you to all the Executive Directors and Board Members of the State Ausdance organisations. The Ausdance Network is critical to ensuring that dance is well supported and appropriately represented across a range of contexts, and Ausdance National is very appreciative of the productive working relationships that have been in operation throughout 2017.

And lastly, thank you to all our members for supporting Ausdance National to be the peak body for dance in Australia!


Some updates for the New Year include:

The Australian Dance Awards will be produced in partnership with Ausdance QLD and held on Friday 10 August 2018 at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Nominations are open so be sure to take a moment to recognise the many great artists, choreographers, educators, creatives and companies that make our sector so great.

A review of the Safe Spaces for Dance Policy will be undertaken in 2018, led by Ausdance WA in partnership with Ausdance National.

Ausdance National is waiting for the outcome of the previous Australia Council for the Arts grant round in light of an application submitted to the Arts Projects – Organisations. An announcement is expected before the end of December, and we will update Ausdance National members regarding the outcome and resulting impacts on the organisation.

That brings us to the end of a significant milestone year for Ausdance National! The Ausdance National office will now be closed until 15 January 2018, so on behalf of the board, staff and many wonderful volunteers and supporters of Ausdance National, we wish you all a wonderful festive season and a happy new year.

Gene Moyle