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AUSTRALIAN CONTEMPORARY DANCE STAGES NYC SHOWCASE

A select group of Australian contemporary dance artists and companies will be profiled in a major Australia Council promotion at the world’s largest performing arts marketplace, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference. The event, held in New York from 7-11 January 2005, attracts more than 3,000 leading performing arts presenters and producers.

The promotion, Dance Down Under, will feature the first performance of an Australian dance artist at APAP. Ros Warby’s Swift will premiere in New York at the Dance Theater Workshop, one of the city’s key contemporary dance venues. This season came as a result of negotiations at APAP 2004.

Warby will be profiled with eight other leading Australian contemporary dance artists and companies, including: Balletlab (Vic), Chunky Move (Vic), Expressions Dance Company (Qld), Helen Herbertson (Vic), Leigh Warren & Dancers (SA), Liz Lea (NSW), Lucy Guerin Inc (Vic) and Yumi Umiumare (Vic).

Three of these companies; BalletLab, Chunky Move and Leigh Warren & Dancers; are currently in discussions with a number of key US presenters for 2005 tours. In addition, Leigh Warren Dancers, BalletLab and Expressions Dance Company have established US-based representation.

Liz Lea will be profiled for the first time at APAP 2005, and says: ‘In the US, I’d like to achieve an awareness of what I can offer as a performer, choreographer and teacher, and to develop relationships with promoters and bodies interested in presenting and touring my work. APAP is notoriously difficult to get into so to be part of the Australia Council’s high profile presence, to be part of a team turning heads and gaining attention, will be a highlight of my year,’ said Lea.

Manager of the Australia Council dance board, Rosalind Richards, said Warby’s showcase performance at APAP is a milestone for Australian dance promotion in the US market. ‘This is a key international market for Australian dance, and we have been working hard to build interest in our artists and companies. This is the right time for us to showcase our distinctive, innovative work, when demand is high, and our long-term relationships with US producers and presenters are coming to fruition.’

A new group of leading US presenters will be appointed Australian Ambassadors during the APAP promotion. This is the second year of the highly successful Dance Down Under Ambassadors Program, which engages top US presenters to promote Australian dance to the US presenting community and act as advocates and mentors for our artists and companies. The 2005 Ambassadors are:

  • Joe Melillo, Executive Producer, Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York)
  • Martin Wollesen, Director University Events Office, University of California (San Diego)
  • Beth Boone, Artistic & Executive Director, Miami Light Project (Miami)
  • Sixto Wagan, Director of Performance Programs, Diverseworks (Houston)

Additional APAP promotions include a seminar/workshop addressing Current Aesthetic Trends in Australian Contemporary Dance involving Shane Carroll, chair of the dance board of the Australia Council and Australian choreographers Ros Warby (Vic), Maggi Sietsma (Qld) and Leigh Warren (SA); and from the US, Cathy Edwards, Artistic Director of downtown New York dance venue, Dance Theater Workshop, and Kristy Edmunds, the new Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

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Brianna Roberts

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