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).
Monica Stevens on the highlights and hard core issues discussed at Creating Pathways 2005.
Marilyn Miller reflects on the importance of Creating Pathways National Indigenous Dance Forum, held at the National Museum in Canberra from 27 to 30 October 2005.
Professor Gene Moyle outlines findings from a research project that centred on a review of existing career development and transition programs at an organisational level, both in Australia and overseas. Read the full report Career transition programs for professional dancers: Exploration of the current Australian context.
What is contemporary Indigenous dance? When did this term become associated with our culture, our dance? Or is it Indigenous Contemporary? Have we an Historical Dance Culture or are we living a Dance Culture History? Do we make now from then or is it from then now? For some of us exposure to contemporary Indigenous dance came from television. If we were really lucky we had a group of dancers come to our town and teach and perform at our schools, and for the unlucky our only exposure came from Bangarra.
Lydia Miller discusses ongoing vision of successive generations of Indigenous artists. The cultural renaissance in Indigenous arts and culture began in the 1980s with the emergence of a critical mass of young, vibrant Indigenous artists who took to the stages and the galleries with the electric energy that is synonymous with Indigenous artists. Dance, theatre, music and visual arts emerged onto the national arts landscape with the edginess, candour, vibrancy and challenge of these young Indigenous minds, bodies, and spirits.
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From January 2017 we will start analysing the rich and valuable data provided though the Safe Dance IV questionnaire. We will also be writing the 4th Safe Dance report, which will be made available to the dance community via the Ausdance National website. In particular this report will detail the current prevalence of injuries in Australia’s professional dance population and describe progress that has been made in injury prevention and management since the 3rd Safe Dance report was published in 1999. The major study conclusions will be used to help set priority areas for future dance research and action, make updated safe dance practice recommendations and assist with evaluations of current injury prevention initiatives.
Gabrielle Nankivell, the inaugural recipient of the Ausdance Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship, shares her travel story, research notes and workbook from Vienna, Munich, Barcelona and Berlin, where old and new influences shape her practice.
The subject of travel and professional development, and the value this experience offers artistic practice, arises regularly in the dance arena. As artists we seek these experiences because we are hoping to find something other than what we know or perhaps even something that makes us finally feel at home – either way, we are seeking something to ignite our imaginations and to deepen our knowledge and empathy. We hope to meet people, build new relationships and share practice. We imagine it will generate energy and feed our motivation. We take to the road to connect with others and to connect with our selves. To paraphrase the sentiment of many a wanderlust quote, travel opens the mind and makes the heart grow... We know and the philanthropists know. Travel and international exchange is a good thing.
The International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) 26th Annual Conference was held in Hong Kong on October 20–23 2016. A group of Australian academics, clinicians, dancers and students were thrilled to be able to travel to Hong Kong to present our work to the dance research community. Australia should be proud to be at the forefront of this field, and a presentation on bibliometric analysis of dance publications identified Australia as one of the top countries in the world for quality and collaborative dance research!
Australian choreographer Lewis Major was one of eight choreographers selected to participate in the International Young Choreographer Project (IYCP) held in southern Taiwan in July/August this year.
As you may know, the arts sector responded with overwhelming support for the role of The Australia Council when it responded to the Senate inquiry into the 'Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts', or, in other words, the sudden diversion of Australia Council funds to establish the National Program for Arts Excellence.
WDA is free to us at Ausdance, yet so few artists know about this amazing opportunity each year in different locations around the world. Each conference has been an eye-opener for my choreographic practice—understanding the links between it and academic research, studio practice, dance in the rest of the world and most significantly for me, intercultural dance. Every topic is covered: from dancer-choreographer relationships to education to the role of women in dance and politics. Many people have become good friends, and we have formed a strong bond. I love it.
A seven-year campaign on behalf of arts educators across the country came to an end this week with the final endorsement of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts! Thanks go to the National Advocates for Arts Education - NAAE, which represents the five art forms included as separate subjects in the curriculum. The Arts were not initially included in the national curriculum at all, and this week therefore marks a significant occasion, when The Arts are not only in the curriculum, but they include all five art forms: Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and the Visual Arts.
Philip Channells reflects on Singapore’s 2015 World Dance Alliance Asia–Pacific conference.
An original member of Garry Stewart's Australian Dance Theatre (ADT), Lina as been a choreographer since 2000. Her recent work, A Delicate Situation, was shortlisted for the 2015 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Contribution to Independent Dance. Lina will use her Peggy van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship honing her theatrical devising practices including her approach to constructing narrative and characters and working with the voice, particularly techniques for warm-up, projection, endurance and dynamic range.