Arts / ‘Big’ performance opens dance week

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‘Big Dance’ opens Dance Week launch. Photo by Samara Purnell

A LARGE crowd gathered under looming clouds as Ausdance ACT Dance Week was launched at the National Portrait Gallery on the weekend.

They witnessed the large-scale, inclusive performance of “Big Dance”, choreographed by Frances Rings, of Bangarra fame and NZ’s Craig Bary. The performance was just a few minutes long, however, this gave the dancers and guests time to move inside before the skies opened and it poured rain.

ACT Arts Minister Gordan Ramsay officially launched Dance Week, saying of dance that he has “had a go and if he can, anyone can”.

Dance Week began in 1982 with lunch time performances and has grown steadily since then. Minister Ramsay said that dance linked one culture to another and that Dance Week “has a little bit more than you think, hence, Dance Week will run for eight days!” He encouraged everyone to participate or experience what was on offer during the week.

There followed short performances by QL2 (celebrating their 20th year), an Indian dance “Woman of Beautiest Spring”, an upbeat jazz number from Katie Senior and host of the launch, Liz Lea. Canberra Dance Theatre, now it its 14th year, performed “Portrait of Us”, before the Dream Team in wonderful lime-green genie costumes and green-gold vests performed “Genie in a Bottle”, receiving thunderous applause from the audience.

Lea read the Dance Week quotes from several dance practitioners, keeping the authors anonymous. “Dance is a statement that says more eloquently than words, that we are one”, offered one dancer.

“I can’t help but wonder if art may become an antidote to some of the disorders threatening world peace and harmony”, said another.  

And, “we must always remember to dance a little every day, but never look in the mirror!” Lea flashed a smile to local dance pioneer Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, upon reading that quote, suggesting she may have been the author.

The launch concluded with a dance from Australian Dance Party, who had donned thongs and formal dresses for their performance to “Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps”, ending the afternoon on a light-hearted note and with some work for the window cleaners!

Dance Week includes classes, performances and information for all ages and abilities, including dancing for wellness, and a performance created through a mentoring program. A highlight will be the weekend performance of “Dance on the Edge” held at Belconnen Arts Centre.

For program details visit or the Ausdance ACT facebook page

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