Arts / Canberra catches the dance bug

By Samara Purnell

DANCE Week, now in full swing, was launched by Ausdance ACT at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets on International Dance Day, April 2 , with Minister for the Arts and Community Events Gordon Ramsay kicking off proceedings, signed for the hearing impaired.

The Fabulous Fan Dancers

Mr Ramsay spoke briefly about the “significance of the stage” and how something special happens when a performers foot steps onto it, which he encourages all Canberrans to do. He hoped everyone in Canberra would “catch the bug”, (presumably he meant the dance bug and not the lurgy) and said he was looking forward to seeing the community engage with dance. Mr Ramsay then added that there is a relationship between arts and health, including mental health and holistic healing.

This years’ International Dance Day message, from American choreographer Trisha Brown, was about the celebration of dance and of revelling in its universality. It was read by the host Liz Lea who spoke about how dance communicates, gives birth to joy, beauty and advancement of human knowledge. There is creativity in thinking, making and doing and we can all take dance home and apply it to daily life.


The two hour launch was a colourful, diverse, inclusive and joyful display, with performances from many groups and individuals including the Fabulous Fan Dancers, CDTeens, GOLDs, Bedazzled Bellydance, OPA-cize Greek Dance Fitness, (who invited the Project Beats Dancers up on stage with them for an impromptu “class”, much to the delight of the gathered crowd). Feel the Music, Fresh Funk and Elena Wong were also amongst the performers.

Some of the highlights of the Dance Week program this week will include “The Galaxy Project” at Mt Stromlo, Canberra’s version of “Dancing with the Stars”, “Dance on the Edge” at Belconnen Arts Centre and, suggested by Mr Ramsay, “In Sync” where dance and science align, by well-established local artists Liz Lea and Alison Plevey. It will also see dance and movement taken into the paediatric ward of the Canberra Hospital.

Mongolian dance

Dance Week will run until May 7 with workshops, films, free classes and performances across several locations. Details at

 Australian Dance Week  Calendar of events:

Jumptown Swing. Griffith Neighbourhood Hall, 55 Stuart Street, Griffith. At 6.30pm, Monday, May 1;

“Under the Sea”. Canberra Hospital paediatric ward, May 2 and 4 ( open to patients and their families at the Canberra hospital only);

Ausdance ACT open professional class. Ballet with Debbie Trotter Wharton. Pay at the door. At Belconnen Arts Centre, 10am to 11.30am. Wednesday, May 3. Tickets $10/$15 at the door.

Passion & Purpose Academy open dance workshop. Melba Copland Secondary College. From 6pm-7.30pm, Wednesday, May 3. Free event;

Ausdance Act open class. QL2 Dance studio Gorman Arts Centre. 7pm-8.30pm. Ballet class with Jessica Ausserlechner, tickets $10/$15 at the door;

“Jazida, The Galaxy Project”. Mount Stromlo Observatory. 7.30pm, Friday, May 5. Entry by gold coin donation but bookings essential to;

Ausdance ACT dance week. At the Belconnen Fresh Fruit Markets Piazza. From 10am, Saturday, May 6. Dance displays from schools and groups across Canberra. Free event;

Tango practice, Tango Social Club of Canberra, at the Italian Cultural Centre. Franklin Street, Forrest, 3pm-5pm,  Saturday, May 6. Free for club members, but information about joining to;

The Paris Opera Ballet’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is on screen at Palace Electric Cinema, 1pm, May 6, 7 and 10; and

“In-Sync – dance and science align”. At the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre. 7pm, Saturday, May 6 and  5pm, Sunday, May 7. Bookings to Canberra Theatre


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