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The Australia Council for the Arts today hailed the careers of the artistic leaders of the Sydney Dance Company, Mr Graeme Murphy AM and Ms Janet Vernon AM.

Ms Jennifer Bott, chief executive officer of the Australia Council for the Arts, paid tribute to the contribution of Mr Murphy and Ms Vernon to Australian dance following their resignation from the company yesterday.

‘Artistic director Graeme Murphy and associate artistic director Janet Vernon have steered the Sydney Dance Company on a path of outstanding success over the past 30 years,’ she said.

‘Through more than 30 full-length productions and 20 international tours, Graeme and Janet developed a distinctive style that is universally recognised.

‘Both are pioneers and leaders in an Australian contemporary dance culture that is the envy of the rest of the world. The legacy they leave is one of Australia’s premier contemporary dance companies.

‘We look forward to working with Sydney Dance Company to continue this legacy in producing vibrant Australian dance productions that take our unique dance culture to the world.

‘We also wish Graeme and Janet all the best in their future endeavours, and look forward to continuing to work with them for many years to come.’

Ms Bott also highlighted the constructive ways in which the Australian Government has worked with Sydney Dance Company to put it on a sound financial footing.

‘Not only did the Australian Government clear Sydney Dance Company’s $600,000 accumulated deficit in the last budget, but the Australia Council’s Major Performing Arts Board has been working with Sydney Dance Company over the past two years on a range of potent measures to stabilise the company’s financial position,’ she said.

Mr Rick Allert, chair of the Australia Council’s major performing arts board, said, ‘This assistance to Sydney Dance Company has included a number of initiatives such as advancing base grant payments to assist with cash flow, working through independent consultancies to examine the company’s current business model and support for new private sector income streams through philanthropy.’

The outcome of this substantial work is set into a review of base funding for Sydney Dance Company and other major performing arts companies the results of which will be considered by the Cultural Ministers’ Council Standing Committee later this month.

The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government’s primary arts funding and advisory body. It supports and encourages the development of Australian artists and aims to increase access by all Australians to arts and cultural activities.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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