Arts / Dance Week jumps into life

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AUSDANCE ACT launched its Dance Week Program in New Acton on Friday night. April 29 also marks International Dance Day and has been celebrated on this day since 1982.

Latai Taumoepeau in her performance of "Ocean Island...Mine".
Latai Taumoepeau in her performance of “Ocean Island…Mine”.
ACT Minister for the Arts Chris Bourke officially opened the program, speaking about how dance has the power to connect us all. Dr Bourke said that Canberra is home to a diverse, creative and passionate dance community and that Dance Week encourages us all to “have a go”, whether socially or professionally.

Each year UNESCO selects a member of the dance theatre community to deliver an International Dance Day message. This year NZ and Samoan multi-disciplinarian Lemi Ponifasio was chosen.

Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM attended Friday’s launch and presented Ponifasio’s message, a poem. It was then delivered in five languages by selected guests. “Make dance a movement of love” Ponifasio asks of us.

The Wiradjuri Echoes Aboriginal Dance Troupe, led by Duncan Smith, performed several dances including a “Calling of Ancestors” and Alison Plevey, Olivia Fyfe and Debora Di Centa performed “SPROUT!” in the Cinema carpark. “Ocean Island…Mine!” by Latai Taumoepeau was also staged in the New Acton Precinct.

Ausdance ACT’s Dance Week actually runs for 10 days, concluding on Sunday, May 8. Highlights of the program include “Taking Flight”, a work created by Liz Lea, which will be taken to hospitals and aged-care facilities to include the more vulnerable members of our community in dance and movement. Various performances will also be held at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and Belconnen Art’s Centre. Michelle Potter unearths little known facts about Robert Helpmann in “Helpmann Uncovered”, at the National Film and Sound Archive.

The launch was overshadowed by the sad news of the death of David Page, Bangarra’s musical director. Page composed the music for “SPEAR”, a film recently made by the Bangarra dancers and directed by Stephen Page. “SPEAR” is listed for screening during Dance Week.

Details of Ausdance ACT’s Dance Week and program at ausdanceact.org.au/australian-dance- week/

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