Celebrating a diverse dance community

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Jazida hands around the dance cake.

THERE were “Happy Dance Day” greetings all round this morning (April 19) at Belco Arts, with the launch of International Dance Day and Ausdance ACT’s Dance Week. 

ACT Arts Minister, Tara Cheyne was on hand to perform the honours, while describing the coming program as “breathtaking” and praising Australia for its diversification and lowering the barriers to make sure we could all “dance more and dance often”.

Ausdance ACT CEO Cathy Adamek was moved to tears as she read the Dance Day statement for 2021 from Stuttgart Ballet’s Friedemann Vogel, which began: “everything with movement and dance is movement, movement refined to communicate”.

Adamek talked up the pleasures of working in such a diverse dance community, outlining the services of Ausdance and describing some of the highlights for the coming week or, as she was quick to point out, “weeks” since the event went on for more than seven days.

This Sunday, for instance, would feature “Love Dance”, a happy marriage between the Australian Dance Party and the National Portrait Gallery, where the “Australian Love Stories” exhibition is still running and where the dancing will take place.

Indigenous dancer Tammy Gissell. Photo: Anthony Browell.

Another partnership was between Ausdance and the Canberra International Music Festival director Roland Peelman, who had programmed indigenous dancer Tammi Gissell’s work “Mundaguddah” into “The Rainbow Serpent” concert at the National Gallery.

The week would feature free classes, and in a partnership between Belco Arts Centre and Companion House, there would be dance workshops for people with disabilities.

Everybody was advised to attend a networking morning tea at Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre on Tuesday, May 4.

The whole celebration will wind up with an LGBTQIA+ celebration run by Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre.

This was easily the most entertaining Dance Day launch in years.

Ryan Telfer from Project One at Civic dance studio “Project Beats” spoke about making dance films during covid, with the support of Ausdance, and showcasing two of the films produced so far.

His boss, Chip Lo, stepped up to demonstrate the cool popping and locking techniques which he said were “not much done in Canberra”, and told those present how keen he was to insinuate street dance into the mainstream of Canberra dance.

Kuchipudi dancer Divyusha Polepalli followed, and the morning culminated in an extraordinary performance by burlesque dancer Jazida, dressed in lollipops and singing songs like “I Want Candy” and “Hey Sugar Daddy”.

The full Dance Week program can be found here

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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