Dance Assessment meeting report for grants that closed in June 2011

Outcomes for the Key Organisations Multi-year grants and the Emerging grants closing date June 2011. Outcomes for Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris residency closing date 17 June 2011.



The Dance Board met over two days on 10 and 11 August, primarily to assess applications to the categories of Key Organisations Multi-year and Key Organisations Emerging. The Dance Board assesses Key Organisations once every three years. This is an extremely important task as we invest approximately two-thirds of our budget into a group of companies that provide a backbone for the small to medium dance sector. However, it is also a difficult task as the Dance Board has to consider the claims of companies currently receiving Key Organisations funding against those of new contenders. And even if this is not done directly – i.e. there are separate categories – there is only one overall funding pool for Key Organisations.

The Dance Board and the staff of the Dance and Key Organisations sections undertook considerable planning in advance of this meeting. This included making efforts to ensure that wherever possible Dance Board members saw work live, even if this meant travelling interstate. The Key Organisations Client Manager also provided considerable support services for applicants, particularly in the area of business planning.

Key Organisations funding is for the following activities in dance:

  • An organisation with a sustained national and/or international influence or presence
  • A leading innovator that consistently extends dance practice
  • A centre of excellence in its particular form or practice


The Dance Board’s broader policy for the sector is also articulated in our sector plan which is available on the Australia Council’s website. Within the Multi-year category the Dance Board only reduces or discontinues a company’s funding if it has concerns about operational or artistic matters. We tell the company what these concerns are and give the company time, and in most cases financial support to bring in external expertise if appropriate, to address these. If the Dance Board then proceeds to change or discontinue funding these decisions are not taken lightly. At this meeting we made changes to the funding of two companies that had received Multi-year investment for extended periods. We also welcomed two companies to Multi-year funding transiting successfully from the Key Organisations – Emerging category.

We also opened up the Key Organisations – Emerging category for the second time, the first being in 2008. We received some highly competitive applications from companies that are producing work of excellence that is in demand nationally and in some cases internationally. We were very pleased to welcome three companies into this category and hope that they will continue to thrive and be in a position to compete strongly for Multi-year funding in 2014.

We recognise that companies that were unsuccessful in gaining Key Organisations funding for 2012 will, in most instances, apply for funding in our Projects category. We have therefore transferred $100,000 from our Key Organisatons budget to the open Projects category commencing this year. We will also be developing an initiative to support screen dance with a total investment of $300,000 over the next three years and a contemporary dance initiative for Western Australia with a minimum budget of $300,000 over three years. We plan to develop the latter in close co-operation with the Department of Culture and the Art, Western Australia.

This was the final assessment meeting for two of our highly valued Board members Jeff Khan and Brian Lucas. I am sure that you are aware of their standing in the sector and the efforts they made over their three years to engage with dance in a multitude of ways – to see showings and performances, to attend forums and to engage with discussions and debates around the needs of our artform. I will miss their knowledge and viewpoints and thank them sincerely for their contribution. I am very happy to welcome two new Dance Board members – Sandra Collins and Matt Morse. Their details are available on the Australia Council website but they each bring valuable knowledge and experience to the Dance Board. Sandra was appointed by the Minister for the Arts a short time before the meeting so did not assess the complex Key Organisations applications but did assess the applications to Cité.

At this meeting we also considered a proposal from the Dance Massive consortium for support for the third contemporary dance event in Melbourne during 2013. We made an in-principle decision to provide some funding support. The Dance Board hopes to run a second National Dance Forum during the event, and like the event this year we hope to work closely with our colleagues in State and Territory Arts Agencies to ensure that dance artists and arts-workers from around the country can attend. During the meeting the Minister for the Arts released the discussion paper on the National Cultural Policy. The Dance Board will be contributing to the Australia Council’s response but I urge you too to engage with the debate. Further details are available via this link - National Cultural Policy.


Chrissy Sharp

Chair Dance Board


Feedback on the round


General feedback


Key Organisations


This was a significant meeting for the Dance Board’s Key Organisations. It was the first major test of the changes implemented to the category in 2008. The major aims of these changes were to define a consistent framework for support in this category and allow opportunities for new companies to apply for and enter the category through a Key Organisations – Emerging stream. This was the first time since those changes for the Key Organisations – Emerging to compete with existing Key Organisations and for a new cohort of emerging organisations to apply.

  • As a result, this year’s round was intensely competitive and the Key Organisations Multi-year round saw two of the emerging clients successful in the 2008 round gain multiyear status for the first time. The new Key Organisations - Emerging round saw the addition of three new companies into the category. The Dance Board welcomes these new companies into these categories and looks forward to working with them in the coming three years.


Over all the Dance Board observed the following in the applications assessed in this round:

  • A trend of extensive activity often not aligned with current resources.
  • Commendable inclusion of artistic vibrancy and artistic self-evaluation processes but these are not always fully incorporated in planning and programming.
  • Some companies struggle to demonstrate diversity in their work and operations.
  • Some companies struggle to meet the demands of the Key Organisations framework introduced 2008.


Successful applicants


Key organisations multi-year category 3 June 2011


Ausdance National - ACT / NATIONAL $255,534 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Canberra based Ausdance National is a peak professional organisation for dance in Australia. Its mission is to educate and inspire the dance community to reach its potential as a dynamic force within local, national and international communities.



Australian Dance Theatre - SA $373,080 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Adelaide based Australian Dance Theatre (ADT), led by choreographer Garry Stewart since 1999, is Australia's oldest national contemporary dance company. ADT's three year plan includes two cycles of major artistic work including its national and international touring program of new and existent works. Over the next three years ADT will develop a broad range of projects which span major works for international and national touring, and new media and installation projects that can be presented in galleries and public spaces.



Chunky Move - Vic $373,080 p.a. and $100,000 for International Status 2012

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Established in 1995 in Melbourne by Artistic Director Gideon Obarzanek, Chunky Move aims to take the idea of contemporary to the next level. Chunky Move aims to redefine what is or what can be contemporary dance with an ever evolving Australian culture. 2012 will see a new Artistic Director/CEO for the first time with choreographer Anouk van Dijk joining Chunky Move. Gideon Obarzanek will maintain a close involvement with the company in 2012 as Associate Director, and responsible for the continuing touring of the existing repertoire with its established touring networks. Anouk van Dijk will begin to create a new repertoire of works from mid 2012 including a premiere presentation in Melbourne.



Dancehouse - Vic $137,457 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

In 2012, North Melbourne based Dancehouse celebrates 20 years of supporting Australian independent dance artists. Dancehouse seeks to advance independent contemporary dance in Australia through its program of research, training, performance and international exchange along with a dance-only Housemate national residency. It provides a comprehensive program for development and presentation of contemporary choreographic and movement practices. Dancehouse is in a sustained period of change and renewal that began with the 2007 appointment of Artistic Director/CEO David Tyndall and will continue with the appointment of Angela Conquet to the position for the next triennium.



Dance North - QLD $223,200 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Under the artistic leadership of Raewyn Hill since 2010, Townsville based Dancenorth will continue as a leading dance theatre company with a focus on quality and artistic innovation. The triennium includes collaborative works with Indigenous communities, seasons choreographed by internationally recognised guest choreographers, audience development through national and international touring opportunities and community outreach to involve other arts and general sectors. Dancenorth will also further develop a framework and support for: the expansion of the company into North Queensland; use of technology such as digital media and live steaming to deliver performances to audiences in cities outside Queensland; education programs - particularly for emerging dancers and choreographers.



Expressions Dance Company - QLD $131,958 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Brisbane based Expressions Dance Company's (EDC) vision is to be a leader contributing to the evolution of contemporary dance in Australia. EDC has adopted a three year strategy to implement the vision of its new artistic director, Natalie Weir, including the creation of one new signature work per year; alongside the creation of works of varying sizes, new initiatives supporting emerging choreographers and independent dance, education and training programs; and significant collaborations with international and Australian companies.



Force Majeure - NSW $209,539 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Kate Champion's Sydney based Force Majeure aims to produce stimulating, accessible, highly produced dance theatre that questions, reflects and engages with our contemporary culture with intelligence, humour, pathos and insight. This triennium will see Force Majeure's artform leadership position through a series of major collaborative partnerships with producers and audiences using a balance of research, creation and presentation. Having undertaken extensive national touring in the previous triennium through the Road Work national tour of The Age I'm In, Force Majeure is focused in this triennium on continuing to build audiences for its work across Australia.



Lucy Guerin Association Inc - Vic $226,914 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014 In 2012

Lucy Guerin Inc will celebrate its 10 year anniversary. Lucy Guerin Inc is a Melbourne based contemporary dance company established in 2002 to support the creation and production of new works by choreographer Lucy Guerin. It aims to make a significant contribution to the cultural life of Melbourne and Australia and is a company which values and supports risk and innovation as a means of extending dance as an art form. The company has created an acclaimed repertoire of works that will tour, alongside new works, in Australia, Asia, the UK, North and South America and Europe during the next triennium.



Restless Dance Company Inc - SA $139,010 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Founded in 1991, Adelaide based Restless Dance Company collaboratively creates professional calibre dance theatre, with young people with and without a disability. Restless¡¯ vision is to present unexpectedly real dance works by youth and professional ensembles, in multiple mediums, to diverse audiences around the world. Restless have gathered momentum in recent years with the addition of the Touring Company ¨C a project based, fully professional arm of the company which produces smaller scale works suitable to tour nationally and internationally. Restless wants to tour and to provide a sustainable arts experience for emerging artists with a disability who would not normally be given such an opportunity.



Tasdance - Tas $122,657 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Launceston based Tasdance creates new, dynamic and diverse contemporary dance, nurtures young and emerging dance artists, and inspires the community to participate in and develop a passion for dance. The company aims be a dance development hub and strong advocate for dance development and participation. Led by Artistic Director Annie Grieg, Tasdance provides opportunities for visiting choreographers to develop new works, has annual seasons of original Australian work, with local, interstate, and international touring & community participation projects.



Tracks Inc - NT $265,300 p.a.

Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2014

Darwin based Tracks is a leader in the performing arts giving voice to Northern Territory Culture. Tracks are a recognised centre of excellence producing performances, built on a history of trusted community collaboration. In operation since the late 1980's, Tracks makes dance thrive through ever deepening relationships with the diverse peoples of the NT including the remote Indigenous community at Lajamanu. Led by Co-Artistic Directors Tim Newth and David McMicken the Tracks program for the three years will primarily create its program in two areas: Performance and Community Skills Development.


Key organisations emerging category 03 June 2011


All of the organisations offered a Key Organisations – Emerging grant will be given one year funding agreements. The second and third years of the term will be approved through a review process managed by the Key Organisations section and endorsed by the Dance Board. This review will primarily track how the organisations are delivering against their business plans and any supplementary conditions set by the Dance Board.


BalletLab Assoc Inc - Vic $125,000

Key Organisations Emerging 2012 - 2014

Based in Melbourne and led by choreographer Phillip Adams BalletLab’s purpose is to create unforgettable performance that defies expectation. BalletLab aims to create ground-breaking contemporary dance-based works that: stimulate and engage audiences; develop choreographic practice; propose new national and international presentation models, and also provide educational opportunities for the next generation of Australian dance artists.



KAGE Physical Theatre Assoc Inc - Vic $125,000

Key Organisations Emerging 2012 - 2014

In 2012 Melbourne based KAGE will celebrate its 15th anniversary as a unique Australian performance company, engaged in creating dance theatre based on current social issues. KAGE engages with targeted communities and a diverse range of creative artists. KAGE’s program is a blend of old and new traditions with KAGE’s founding directors, Kate Denborough and Gerard Van Dyck, performing together again and with the engagement of a new generation of young physical performers from diverse cultural backgrounds.



Shaun Parker & Company Ltd - NSW $150,000

Key Organisations Emerging 2012 - 2014

Sydney based Shaun Parker & Company’s vision is for contemporary dance theatre which draws on the human condition, aims for a visceral and intellectual engagement with its audience and is distinguished by a highly physical movement language and an intrinsic relationship to music. It aims to present new work created in the context of special projects, commissions and collaborations through national and international touring.


Cité residency 17 June 2011


The Dance Board is providing a professional development opportunity for a dance artist by offering a three-month residential studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. The residency is for the period 27 February to 28 May 2012 with the support of a $10,000 living and travel allowance. The Cité Internationale des Arts complex consists of 200 studios and was established by Madame Simone Brunau and her late husband, Monsieur Felix Brunau after 10 years of planning and lobbying for support. At any one time there are artists from up to 50 countries residing in the complex. The complex includes facilities for musicians, performers and visual artists. The residency is for any dance artist or choreographer who can best articulate the professional benefits that they would gain from time spent in France. Applicants that demonstrate a strategic approach to connecting with the local dance sector are given preference. There were nine applicants in this category which is offered through the dance board every three years. Although small in number, this is consistent with other artform boards and there was a strong, diverse group of dance artists who applied.



Nick Power (NSW) $10,000

Nick Power is one of Australia’s leading hip hop dance artists. During his residency at Cité Internationale des Arts, Nick aims to develop strong professional relationships and learn from world class hip hop practitioners which will build on and compliment his current activities. The companies he will work with include Chute Libre, Par Terre and Sebastien Ramirez Company with whom he has established links. He will also take workshops at studios such as Just Debout and attend festivals including Breakin Convention, Danse Hip Hop Tanz and Juste Debout Street Dance Festival.


Funding statistics

Key organisations multi-year

Applications received: 15
Applications funded: 11
73.33 % success rate
Amount requested: $11,095,139
Amount approved: $7,373,187


Key organisations multi-year international status

Applications received: 3
Applications funded: 1
33.33 % success rate
Amount approved: $100,000


Key organisations emerging

Applications received: 7
Applications funded: 3
42.86% success rate
Amount requested: $976,094
Amount approved: $400,000



Applications received: 9
Applications funded: 1
11.11% Success rate
Amount requested: $90,000
Amount approved: $10,000


Panel members

The following Board members and peer advisers attended the meeting:


Board members

Chrissy Sharp (Chair) (Vic)
Sandra Collins (NSW)
Jeff Khan (Vic)
Brian Lucas (Qld)
Mathew Morse (NSW)
Elizabeth Walsh (Tas) (via teleconference)
Michael Whaites (WA)
Carol Wellman Kelly (SA)


Peer Adviser

Julie-Anne Long (NSW)


The following staff members were present at the meeting:


Australia Council staff

Carin Mistry, Director Dance
Atul Joshi, Director Key Organisations
Tara Kita, Client Manager, Dance & Music Key Organisations
Adrian Burnett, Program Manager Dance
Karen Tait, Section Co-ordinator Dance and Literature
Sarah Kroesche, Administration Officer Dance and Artstart

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