Dance funded for regional areas

Australia Council for the Arts funds contemporary dance in regional areasThe Australia Council for the Arts has funded five arts organisations to stage performances, mentor local artists and engage with audiences to enable regional communities to experience contemporary dance.


Australia Council Dance Strategy Director Carin Mistry said the funding would allow regional audiences to see touring productions by major dance companies and choreographers, newly commissioned work and meet the artists through activities such as workshops and Q&A sessions.


“Contemporary dance is not often toured to regional areas, which makes it difficult for audiences to experience this type of dance and increase interest in this artform,” Mistry said.


“This funding aims to change that by bringing renowned productions and artists to these communities to not only see the works, but to learn more about them and get involved by engaging with the artists. It builds on our investment in national touring through Playing Australia by creating local dance engagement programs lasting up to two years.”


The five organisations to receive funding are: Country Arts SA, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (WA), Ausdance QLD, Frankston Arts Centre (VIC) and BlakDance Australia in partnership with Performing Lines (National).


Australia Council for the Arts funds contemporary dance in regional areasCountry Arts SA has engaged Adelaide-based dance artist Larissa McGowan to curate a program for communities in Renmark and Mt Gambier consisting of performances, training for local artists and activities to create a two-way dialogue between companies and audiences. 


Touring works include Sydney Dance Company’s Cacti De Novo, which includes McGowan’s comedic exploration of the fascination with superheroes, Fanatic, and Expressions Dance Company’s Carmen Sweet.


Dance films will also be shown and some performances will be held in public locations.


McGowan said her two-year program would build connections between the dancers and the audience.


“Unlike many other forms of dance, contemporary dance is often perceived as foreign to those not actively involved. This project will develop an open and egalitarian environment for every audience member to perceive and interpret contemporary dance in their own way,” McGowan said.


Mandurah Performing Arts Centre will present works by Perth-based choreographer Aimee Smith and companies such as Australian Dance Theatre, Force Majeure and Broome-based Marrugeku Theatre. 


Some of these presenters will also hold workshops and mentor local artists from the Bindjareb Mob Dance Troupe and Riptide Contemporary Dance Company, who will produce a new work as part of the program.


Australia Council funds contemporary dance in regional areasAusdance QLD will partner with The Centre of Contemporary Arts in Cairns, James Cook University and Nintiringanyi Cultural Training Centre to present new works, masterclasses and audience discussions. 


Touring shows include Sue Healey’s installation and performance work On View, Queensland-based independent artist Claire Marshall’s Flaunt and Gavin Webber’s Cock Fight.


Choreographic residencies will be based at The Space in Cairns and masterclasses will be held by Brisbane-based dance artist Lisa Wilson, Sue Healey and Australia Council 2012 Dance Fellow Gary Lang.


Applications are now open for the Australia Council’s new grants model. The first round closes on Tuesday, March 3. 


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Photo (top): Sydney Dance Company in the 2013 work Cacti De Novo, one of the works featured in the program. Photo by Peter Greig. Photo (left): Choreographer Larissa McGowan, who has been commissioned by Country Arts SA to run its program. Photo by Jenni Large. Photo (bottom): Claire Marshall’s Flaunt. Photo by Mark Greenmantle Photography.