Dance Music Initiative - Assessment Meeting Report - May 2011

This meeting assessed applications to a newly established Dance and Music Initiative – 21 May 2011.

Music and dance have always been closely linked and this initiative acknowledges that connection by supporting choreographers, dancers, composers and/or musicians to work collaboratively to create and develop innovative, new dance/music work.

This initiative also reflects both boards interest in supporting cross artform collaboration and their commitment to supporting the development of innovative and excellent new work.

Response to this initiative was significantly greater than anticipated. In all, 55 eligible applications were submitted, with a total request of $991,495. The response confirms that this is a vibrant area of activity and that joint initiatives such as this are understood by the field as a practical way to support cross artform collaboration.

Assessment took place on 13 May 2011, with a panel comprising of ourselves assisted by peers Nicolette Fraillon (Chief Conductor, Australian Ballet) and Luke Smiles (Independent dancer and sound designer).

The initiative guidelines indicated a minimum of three applications would be supported.

Given the greater than anticipated response, five applications were ultimately successful, to a funded total of $99,318.

These grants will support the creative development of five innovative new dance and music works encompassing cross cultural collaborations, explorations of new technologies, and presentation of work in new environments. The standard of the applications submitted was generally very high, and the panel noted that a number of worthwhile projects could not be supported due to lack of funds.

This initiative specifically aimed to encourage the development of new creative partnerships and as indicated in the guidelines, these applications were given priority. A number of successful projects not only established new partnerships, but also focused on new models for creating and presenting work.

The panel observed that many dancers were choosing to work with musicians and composers from the experimental and sound art fields, and this trend has been reflected in the successful applications. It was noted that collaborations with musicians and composers across a wide range of music practices could be supported through this initiative, and these would also be encouraged in future.

The panel also observed that some applications focused heavily on the technological processes employed in making the work, at the expense of a clearly articulated artistic vision and consideration of the potential audience. While the importance of exploring creative possibilities through the development process was acknowledged, the successful projects all provided a compelling case for strong artistic outcomes.

On behalf of both boards we would like to express our enthusiasm for this initiative and its further development. We also appreciated the support shown by the panel members for participating in further discussion regarding the next stages. This is clearly an area of vibrant artistic activity and it is important to provide continued support and encouragement for this work.

Matthew Hindson AM                                   Chrissy Sharp
Chair, Music Board, Australia Council              Chair, Dance Board, Australia Council

Successful applicants

Music: Gail Priest
Dance: Jane McKernan
(NSW) - $19,940
For a collaborative exploration  of music and dance in dialogue and argument  infatuation and ambivalence.

Music: Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphries
Dance: Bec Reid and David Tyndall
(VIC) - $20,000
Test Drive is test run for a music dance collaboration that occurs on a drive between cities.  

Mike Willmett
Dance: Liesel Zink
 (QLD) -  $20,000
'fifteen': a site specific dance and music collaboration exploring proxemic theories in the city.

Music: Robin Fox
Dance: Stephanie Lake
(VIC) - $20,000
To develop a new musical/ kinetic sculptural/dance work with sound and visual artist Robin Fox.

Music: Taikoz
Dance: Lingalayam Dance Company Inc
(NSW) - $ 19,928
For a collaboration between Lingalayam and TaikOz that will merge pan traditional Asian performing arts.

Funding statistics

Eligible applications received: 55
Applications funded: 5
9% success rate
Amount requested: $ 991,495
Amount approved: $99,318

Assessment panel

The following Board members and industry representatives attended the meeting:

Panel members:

  • Matthew Hindson AM Chair, Music Board (NSW)
  • Chrissy Sharp  Chair, Dance Board (VIC)
  • Luke Smiles, Peer (SA)
  • Nicolette Fraillon, Peer (NSW)

Australia Council staff:

  • Paul Mason, Director Music
  • Carin Mistry, Director Dance
  • Morwenna Collett, Program Manager Music
  • Adrian Burnett, Program Manager Dance
  • Lia Kemp, Section Coordinator Music
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