Artists are often at the forefront of new waves of socio-political change. Whether you’re talking about the birth of democracy or the recent #metoo campaign, we’re usually there, agitating or at least sparking discussion. But in a country where arts funding is under near-constant threat and the fight for audience attention is fierce, are we as brave as used to be? In the recent Nick Enright keynote address Australian playwright/provocateur Wesley Enoch made a case for no. Australian artists, he said, were ‘too concerned with upsetting audiences, politicians, sponsors, donors, funders, we have become timid in our role as storytellers.’ So, what about dance? Have we absconded our duty?
In professional dance, as with all physical and athletic endeavours, there will always be a realistic expectation of some musculoskeletal complaints. The information gathered through the Safe Dance research studies develops a better understanding of the changing profile of professional dancers in Australia and their experience of injury. The findings can be used to assist in the tailoring and evaluation of evidence based injury prevention initiatives with the long-term goal of safely sustaining dancers in their professional dance careers for as long as they choose.
Safe Dance Report IV examines the Australian context and occurrence of injury in professional dancers (independent dancers and those based in companies), and how dancers manage their injuries and return to dance practice. It makes recommendations to support sustainable, healthy, and productive dancing careers.
The Big 4-0! While turning the big 40 can provoke anxiety, soul-searching and the purchase of sports cars in humans, for an organisation to reach this marker is a cause for unadulterated celebration. This year marks this milestone for Ausdance, Australia’s national body for dance advocacy, education and outreach. First established in 1977 as the Australian Association for Dance Education (AADE) in Melbourne, Ausdance’s mission was to provide a united voice for Australia’s burgeoning dance community. Over these last four decades the accomplishments of Ausdance have been as varied as they have been numerous but the goal has remained the same: to educate, inspire and support the dance community to reach its potential as a dynamic force within local, national and international spheres.
Lucky Lartey reflects on his first two weeks residency and mentorship with Serge Aimé Coulibaly, supported by Ausdance National's Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship and the Innovating Practice Grant (Ausdance NSW).
The dancer’s performing life is highly focused, demanding dedicated vocational training from an early age, and it depends on time-consuming creative and physical regimes. Dance artists, in contrast with other artists, are particularly challenged when it comes to professional career development.
International arts appointments can contribute artistic excellence to the Australian dance and cultural sector.
We are working to ensure the specific artistic expertise and knowledge contributed by international experience can continue to advance the Australian dance sector.
We are asking for dance occupations to be moved to the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List to support the long-term artistic commitments often required for international engagement of elite dance artists.
The biennial Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship supports international travel and experiences by emerging choreographers (under 40 years) across any dance genre.
Ausdance National is working with the National Advocates for Arts Education to:
- reinstate professional dance courses on the VET Student Loans eligible course list
- make a case to redefine the methods used to assess courses eligible for student loans—recognising the cultural sector as one of Australia's major employers and arts graduates as key contributors to the creative economy in Australia.
Australia is at the forefront of dance injury epidemiology efforts; the Safe Dance Project Report on dance injury prevention and management in the Australian dance profession, known as Safe Dance®, was launched almost 30 years ago. It was the first study of its kind conducted in Australia and showed an alarming prevalence of both chronic and acute injuries in Australian dancers. These findings led to a variety of recommendations and initiatives, including a recommendation to repeat the Safe Dance study regularly to evaluate the effect of these initiatives and provide further insight into dancer health and wellbeing.
The 2017 National Dance Forum brought together makers, producers and presenters to discuss and share knowledge on current digital practices and technological developments. The two-day forum focused on strengthening the dance sector’s capacity within the digital domain. It engaged artists in developing and sharing skills in this environment.
The fourth National Dance Forum (NDF2017) took place from 25–26 September 2017 at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Victoria.
On Monday 29 October, Ausdance NSW held the ‘Creative Ageing Forum’. We consulted with our sector and brought together a cross-section of academics, producers and program providers to discuss their current practice and the challenges working within this rapidly growing sector of the Australian population.
Dance Education Conference Papers by the Australian Association for Dance Education. These papers are an edited version of the talks and discussion of the Dance Education Conference held in Melbourne in August 1977.
Published every two months, and themed around an event or popular dance topic, our email newsletter reflects on professional dance practice and shares ways for you to get involved.
Articles in this issue explore ideas that relate to improvisation as it has been experienced in a practical, bodily way.
Marchant’s article Dance Improvisation: Why warm up at all? considers what takes place before improvising begins, while warming up. In Improcinemaniac, Reid describes her simultaneous practice of screendance and improvisation. Reid uses language that is deliberately poetic, and deconstructs and reassembles words in order to question or reconfigure meanings, particularly those of conventional dance language. Using improvisational play with light and lens is also described by Wilson who applies a deeply embodied approach, developed over years working as a dancer, to her visual art practice in experimental photography. Millard’s What’s the score? explores the use of scores or verbal propositions as supports for dance improvisation. In Gaps in the Body, Fraser writes of having arrived at an understanding of improvisation that, rather than being about moving, is about ‘attention’. McLeod’s article, The Ethos of the Mover/Witness Dyad, describes the response of an invited public to a performative Authentic Movement event over three evenings.
The Dancehouse Diary aims to bring the independent dance makers’ thinking to wider audiences. It aims at developing rigorous content around their work and triggering new perspectives and connections around their research. It is a catalyst for provoking critical thinking, discourse and a poetic vision of dance and other related arts forms. It is Dancehouse’s mission to cultivate access and appreciation of this art form and for that, the Diary is a less ephemeral and a more in-depth attempt to make those connections.
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.
The Australian Dance Awards committee has announced the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018 will be presented to Athol Willoughby, OAM, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the dance profession in Australia for over 65 years.
Calling all aspiring professional dancers aged 18–24 years, applications are now open for Sydney Dance Company's Pre-Professional Year 2019.
“Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year is an outstanding opportunity for aspiring dancers to gain exposure to Australia’s leading contemporary dance company. Pre-professional dancers will develop all the skills essential for a lifelong career in contemporary dance as well as being provided with unique professional development, networking and mentorship opportunities under the guidance of the artistic staff of Sydney Dance Company.” Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director, Sydney Dance Company
Applications are open to Australian and New Zealand citizens or permanent residents only.
Application closing date: Monday 27 August 2018
Audition: The first round of Pre-Professional Year auditions will be an online application process that includes a video submission.
Successful first round applicants will be invited to a second round in-person audition at Sydney Dance Company Studios on 17 September 2018 between 9am and 6pm.
For more information please visit 2019 Pre-Professional Year Audition Application.
Celebrating 21 years, the Australian Dance Awards is one of the country’s most prestigious performing arts awards. The Awards acknowledge people working in the professional dance sector who have made innovative and exceptional work of national significance, or have made an outstanding and enduring contribution to the dance industry.
‘Arriving at the shortlist is a demanding job for the volunteer panel of 13 dance sector professionals representing all states and territories’, said Julie Dyson, nominations coordinator for the 2018 Australian Dance Awards.
‘Panel members include educators, independent artists, dance company directors, and writers/reviewers. We receive between 450 and 700 nominations each year. A thorough voting system is in place, with two, sometimes three rounds of voting.’
Presented by Ausdance National, the 2018 awards will take place on Saturday 8 September at the Brisbane Powerhouse, with tickets on sale from 9 July.
‘Ausdance National is honoured to present the 21st Australian Dance Awards in partnership with industry sponsors’, said Kerry Comerford, Executive Director of Ausdance National. ‘The Awards ceremony is the time we acknowledge and celebrate the dance profession’s depth and diversity, both on and off the stage.’
Presented in an afternoon of performances showcasing some of Australia’s best dance of the past year, the annual Australian Dance Awards rely on the generosity and goodwill of the dance sector. ‘It’s important that the event represents the excellence and diversity of dance in Australia’ said Sandi Woo, 2018 Award’s producer.
2018 Australian Dance Awards shortlist
Services to Dance
- Philippe Charluet
- Marilyn Miller
- Philip Piggin
- Hilary Trotter
Services to Dance Education
- Paige Gordon
- Raewyn Hill
- Sinsa Mansell
- Katrina Rank
Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance
- Annette Carmichael (choreography), James Gentle (sound design) for The Beauty Index
- Tracks Dance for Man Made
- QPAC, The Royal Ballet and Community Groups for We All Dance
- Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre for Share House
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance
- Austinmer Dance Theatre for UNREAL
- Co3 for Project next
- QL2 Dance for This Poisoned Sea
- Moorambilla Voices for Gundabooka
Outstanding Performance by a Company
- Co3 for The Zone
- Dancenorth Attractor
- STRUT Dance for William Forsythe's One Flat Thing, Reproduced
- Queensland Ballet for Raw (triple bill): No Man’s Land, Glass Concerto and Ghost Dances
Outstanding Achievement in Choreography
- Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek for Attractor (Dancenorth and Lucy Guerin Inc)
- Raewyn Hill for The Zone (Co3)
- Stephanie Lake for Pile of Bones (Stephanie Lake Company)
- Stephen Page for Bennelong (2017) (Bangarra Dance Theatre)
Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance
- Martin del Amo for CHAMPIONS
- Australian Dance Artists for Restraint(s)
- Michelle Heaven for In Plan
- Nick Power (choreography), Jack Prest (sound design) for Between Tiny Cities រវាងទីក្រុងតូច
Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer
- Jana Castillo for construct (Australian Dance Theatre)
- Amber Haines for Spectra (Dancenorth)
- Ako Kondo for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (The Australian Ballet)
- Charmene Yap for Ocho (Sydney Dance Company)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer
- Richard Causer for Behind Closed Doors (Expressions Dance Company)
- Nelson Earl for Ocho (Sydney Dance Company)
- Beau Dean Riley Smith for Bennelong (2017) (Bangarra Dance Theatre)
- Kimball Wong for construct (Australian Dance Theatre)
Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Dance, Musicals or Physical Theatre
- Gravity & Other Myths for BACKBONE
- Michael Ralph for SELF
- Andrew Hallsworth for Muriel’s Wedding (Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures)
- Nicola Gunn and Jo Lloyd for Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster
Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media
- Richard James Allen for Enchant
- Sophia Bender for Behind Barres
- Sue Healey for Eileen
- Catherine Moore & Jade Lowry for Unstilled
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.