Australian Dance Summits 2001

In This Article

This report presents some of the debate from a series of dance summits held across Australia in 2001, where members of the Australian dance community met to discuss the future of dance for the following decade.

The summits culminated in a national summit held in Canberra on 26 March 2001. More than 220 people debated a wide range of issues during these consultations and agreed on six priorities for action.

While we identified a wide range of issues as priorities in each State and Territory, there was consensus at the final national meeting about where we should focus attention. The discussion in this report highlights these issues, and also sets out strategies for action.

One of the most important outcomes was an acknowledgment by the dance community that all sectors are interrelated and equally important. Together they create a dynamic dance culture, but one that needs constant vigilance–even one severely under-resourced sector can upset the balance. These were the concerns on which these lively and exciting meetings were focused.

Summit participants

Participants included:

  • Artistic directors and administrators
  • Independent artists
  • Choreographers
  • Indigenous artists
  • Ethnic community artists
  • Community dance artists
  • Presenters and directors of dance centres
  • Tertiary dance heads, academics and writers
  • Representatives of service organisations–board members and staff
  • Representatives of funding bodies–dance panel members and staff


At the National Summit on 26 March 2001, participants identified the following priorities.

  1. Cross-sectoral infrastructure building and development: growth and viability based on inclusive ongoing dialogue and commitment, meeting infrastructure needs and the development of new models and partnerships.
  2. Valuing diversity in dance practice within Australian cultural diversity, including positioning the art form centrally at the local, State/Territory, regional and national levels.
  3. Career pathways and opportunities: identifying entry and exit points and any obstacles, and addressing the gaps through policy, funding and professional development.
  4. Advocacy: a series of interventions, including input into policy development, judicious lobbying with all three levels of government, and more strategic partnership building.
  5. Audience and sector development: recognition that long-term growth of audience numbers would only be attainable on the basis of a better understanding, through research, of both current and potential audiences and an investment in a range of strategies for diverse audience sectors.
  6. Education: recognition of all sectors of education in the professional dance continuum, i.e. schools, studios, tertiary training, professional development, research and analysis.