Creating dance

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    Fusion of Australian contemporary dance and Mobius Kiryuho

    This paper discusses the exploration of cultural diversity and the creation of common ground and understanding through choreographic practice in a cross-cultural, international collaboration between Mirramu Dance Company (Australia) and Kyoko Sato from the Mobius Kiryuho Institute (Japan). The paper explores the differences and the similarities discovered in each of our culturally specific movement practices, during the creative process of a dance production, Silk, and discusses how these discoveries influenced the choreographic content of the performance.

    Dancing into belonging: towards co-presence in place

    The paper advocates for the possibilities of dance in community development and place-making contexts through its proposition of a ‘phenomenology of belonging’. From her vantage as facilitator/director of video series Dancing Place, the author observes sensory interactions between participants’ bodies and the sites in which they performed, as enhancing relationality between participants and place.

    Conceived as part of an ARC Discovery Project exploring potentials of artistic methods to challenge neighbourhood-based stigma, led by sociologist Deborah Warr, and employing the expertise of screendance artist Dianne Reid to create the video works, Dancing Place invited diverse residents of Wyndham, Victoria, to dance to their favourite music in their favourite local sites. Through reflection upon the project, the author teases out issues of visibility, embodiment, identity, marginalisation and changing relationships to place.

    The participants of varied cultural and social backgrounds, age, gender and levels of dance training, inevitably chose to dance in very different styles and places. The paper explores some political and social ramifications of (being represented via video) dancing in relation to place for particular groups and individuals, and outlines the facilitating artist’s motivations for the project’s structural framework. Rather than presuming or contriving a unified ‘community’, the nine distinctively discrete videos were presented side by side, which collectively evoked a sense of co-presence, or parallel belonging.   

    The negotiations of relationship—a conversation about dance improvisation

    This paper is a conversation about building depth in our relationships with our bodies and our meeting points with each other. Framed within the context of an improvisational dance practice, the authors, Dianne Reid and Melinda Smith, reflect upon their long-term shared dance practice, their evolving performance work, Dance Interrogations, and the cultural shifts possible as a result of long-term artistic practice. Their unique, long-standing collaboration (over six years and continuing) is unique in Australia and internationally. It is a collaboration which challenges deeply held beliefs around the low expectations of people who have a disability and explores the choreographic potential in the body and artist who experiences Cerebral Palsy—a condition affecting the muscular and skeletal system and which can make voluntary movement such as that in dance, difficult. Their practice itself constantly shifts between artistic formats in both studio and performance contexts, and draws upon a range of technologies familiar within the cultures of screendance and disability. This account is improvisational, an undoing of structure, to encourage other angles and depths of perception.

    Dancing participation: Observations of a long-term group dance improvisation practice

    This article discusses participation in a group dance improvisation practice over time. Described, is a regular dance practice and how it is the dancing over time itself that is the situation in which something is ‘going on’. Participating or acting in this practice allows ways of thinking, understanding, experiencing, knowing that exist only while or at least because of the participation in this dancing. The term ‘action’ as suggested by Hannah Arendt in her book The Human Condition, is used as a concept with which to think through the dancers’ experience in a shared practice. Other ideas including Claire Bishop’s participatory art and Tim Ingold’s discussion of ‘drawing together’ are explored to define participating in dancing in a studio practice, and to articulate what is happening and how that participation can be observed.

    Placing knowledge in the body: Western Australian choreographers dancing ‘With a Bullet’

    This research investigates the studio processes of seven Western Australian choreographers to develop case studies that unpack the memories, emotions, and sensations that illuminate creative decision making in experts. These dance professionals participated in Natalie Cursio’s With A Bullet: The Album Project (2006-7; 2013–4) that invites them to recall the first song to which they ever ‘made up a dance’, and to use this piece of music as a springboard for, and soundtrack to, a new piece of choreography.

    The study uses qualitative measures of phenomenological and somatic modes of attention to examine choreographic cognition, with a focus on ‘knowing how’, and other manifestations of ‘feeling’ that a decision is ‘right’, in order to illuminate creative decision making in choreography. I use the choreographers’ memories, emotions, and sensations to interpret their strategies for problem solving in the complex physical, emotional and social space of the studio. Memories and knowledge can take the form of tacit understandings performed during the process of transmission from choreographers to dancers, offering alternative ways of knowing and articulating creative processes.

    Cursio’s With A Bullet offered a unique opportunity for choreographers to reflect on their own development as artists, and the research presented here makes a contribution to the ongoing task of placing embodied knowledge on a par with that expressed through linguistic propositions.

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    Australian Dance Awards 2018

    The annual Australian Dance Awards recognise and honour professional Australian dance artists who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian dance.
    The Awards:

    • acknowledge the depth and diversity of the dance profession in our society.
    • reward those whose achievements raise the standards, profile and prestige of dance in Australia.
    • present a performance program representing the excellence and diversity of both innovative and established dance in Australia.

    The 2018 Australian Dance Awards took place at 4.00 pm on Saturday 8 September at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

    Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship

    The biennial Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship supports international travel and experiences by emerging choreographers (under 40 years) across any dance genre.

    Creating Pathways National Indigenous Dance Forum

    Creating Pathways was a national Indigenous dance forum for mid-career dance artists held in October 2005 at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Participants came from all over Australia to discuss issues such as identity, training, the question of contemporary Indigenous dance, career opportunities and professional practice.

    As a result of recommendations made at Creating Pathways, a new position of National Indigenous Dance Coordinator was funded by the Australia Council.

    Creating Pathways was managed by Ausdance National and funded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board and the Dance Board of the Australia Council, and the Arts ministries of NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

    Australian Youth Dance Festival

    The Australian Youth Dance Festival provides creative development opportunities for young people at all skills levels. They work with some of the finest and most exciting dance makers in Australia. The experience provides professional dance artists with creative challenges, professional development and opportunities to work alongside their peers and with Australia's rising youth dance talent. Participants include school students, youth dance company members, full-time dance students and relative beginners in dance, as well as dance teachers, choreographers and youth dance leaders.

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    Australian guidelines for teaching dance

    The Australian guidelines for teaching dance outlines codes of ethical and professional behaviour and emphasises the importance of safe dance practice and teaching methodology.

    We designed it to help dance teachers and students by providing minimum standards, and by suggesting ways teachers can maintain or upgrade their teaching skills. Parents can use the Guidelines  to help choose a dancing school or group for their children.

    Brolga 41

    In Australia, the social and aesthetic contexts of ‘live’ contemporary dance (practice and performance), and the networks these contexts facilitate, remain diverse even if they are sometimes fragile or unexpected. This issue of Brolga—an Australian journal about dance aims to give some visibility or clarity to a select few of these diverse practices, primarily as they have been understood by the dance practitioners themselves. Networks create links between things. The variable ways such connections are created, valued and understood are outlined in this issue in a series of physical engagements which articulate acts of opening or becoming, acts of social activation, acts engendering community identity, or acts of private interpersonal collaboration.

    Exploring identities in dance

    Proceedings from the 13th World Congress of Dance and the Child International—exploring the theme of identity in dance as it is experienced in formal, non-formal and informal settings of education.

    Dance is part of four recognised artistic areas within arts education, which is acknowledged as a key area within UNESCO’s 21st Century Skills. Dance education in particular puts an emphasis on the role of the body in artistic processes, and the body is in current research in educational studies, psychology and neurophysiology highlighted as being the ‘place’ where experiences, cognition and identity processes are grounded. A person’s identity is multi-faceted and believed to be constantly developing in intertwinement with embodied and cultural experiences, social relations and the various situations that the human being experiences.

    Ausdance National newsletter

    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.

    Brolga 40

    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.

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    Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees of the 21st Australian Dance Awards

    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.

    For interview or more information contact:

    Kerry Comerford, Executive Director, Ausdance National

    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

    2018 Australian Dance Awards shortlist media release (50 KB PDF)

    Dance in Proximity: World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific Conference & AGM

    Taipei National University of the Arts, 10–11 November 2017

    There were some special moments at the Dance in Proximity conference, hosted in Taiwan by the Taipei National University of the Arts in November, and organised by a wonderful team of artists, choreographers and teachers, led by Yunyu Wang.

    dancer spinningMunguntsetseg Munkhbadrakh demonstrating traditional Mongolian dance movements during the Cross-cultural Dance Education session. Photo Julie Dyson

    National Dance Forum 2017: Dance in the Digital Domain

    MEDIA RELEASE (84Kb PDF)

    Tuesday 22 August 2017
    For immediate release

    Australia’s peak dance organisation, Ausdance National, will host a two-day forum next month bringing together dance makers, producers and presenters for a highly topical forum focusing on the future of dance within the digital domain. The National Dance Forum is Australia’s key platform for dance artists, industry professionals and educators in providing rich opportunities to discuss, debate and collaborate with some of the most influential individuals and organisations in the country.

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