Curtain closes on 42 years of dance

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AUSDANCE National, Australia’s peak body for dance, is winding up.

Former national director of Ausdance, Julie Dyson

The long-expected announcement has come in the very week of the 2019 National Dance Forum being presented by Ausdance National in partnership with Tracks Dance Company in Darwin.

In spite of its 42-year history of educating and supporting the dance community, through initiatives like the Australian Dance Awards and Safe Dance Project IV, the impact of shrinking government funding for the organisation has resulted in dwindling reserves and severely limited resources.

Ausdance National was one of the 65 arts organisations that lost its operational funding in 2016 following the onslaught on the Australia Council for the Arts by then Arts Minister Senator Brandis.

A new board restructured Ausdance National’s operational model, rebranded and repositioned the association, explored alternate revenue streams, and continued to deliver it main initiatives, also persisting with national advocacy for dance.

But despite the support of partners like AON and Harlequin Floors, benefactors, members and long-time volunteers, these efforts proved insufficient to sustain operations into the future.

Former national director of Ausdance, Canberra’s Julie Dyson, told “CityNews” yesterday evening: “Ausdance National has contributed significantly to the health of the dance profession for 42 years through its advocacy, research and ground-breaking partnerships.”

“It’s ironic that at a time when the sector needs a voice in the federal parliament more than ever, that voice has now been silenced.”

The Ausdance network, of which Ausdance National was one part, will continue, with Ausdance ACT, Ausdance NSW, Ausdance QLD, Ausdance SA, Ausdance VIC and Ausdance WA working both independently and collectively on advocacy, advice and services address state needs.

Ausdance National president, Prof Gene Moyle says: “The dance sector in Australia has experienced significant disruption and change, in part due to shifts in funding and the lack of a comprehensive arts and cultural policy.

“Despite the best efforts of the board, staff members and volunteers, regrettably Ausdance National will take its final bow at the 2019 National Dance Forum and commence the process of winding up.”

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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