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Australia Council Director Dance Carin Mistry said the three-day event would bring together those working in contemporary dance to celebrate the artform and discuss important issues affecting the sector.

“The Australia Council is pleased to support the third National Dance Forum, in partnership with Ausdance National, and the program has been led by the contemporary dance sector,” Ms Mistry said.

“The event is being held alongside Dance Massive 2015, which showcases Australian contemporary dance to a national and international audience.

“The Council has supported a number of works presented at Dance Massive 2015, including the premiere of choreographer and dancer Victoria Chiu’s collaboration with dancer Kristina Chan Do you speak Chinese?; a full length version of Keir Choreographic Award winner Atlanta Eke’s Body of Work; and Tim Darbyshire’s Stampede The Stampede.

“The National Dance Forum is a key initiative of the Australia Council to support contemporary dance and foster the artistic development of the artform.

“The forum provides an opportunity for delegates to gain a national perspective on Australian dance practice, build leadership in the sector, and boost the profile of contemporary dance.

“About 200 professionals from across Australia are expected to attend the forum, including dancers and choreographers, producers, curators, festival programmers, funders and dance writers.

“Delegates will be able to participate in workshops and discussions, meet other artists, share ideas, and see artists’ and producers’ work.  I will speak at the opening on Thursday on behalf of the Council.”

The event has attracted two eminent keynote speakers – theatre artist and MAU founder Lemi Ponifasio and VicHealth Chief Executive Officer and Stompin Youth Dance Company founder Jerril Rechter.

Other speakers at sessions include Jacob Boehme, Vicki van Hout, Latai Taumoepeau and Michelle Ryan.

Australia Council Dance Chair Elizabeth Walsh will also attend the forum as part of her role to keep the Council informed about the diverse work being produced and the issues affecting the sector.

Ms Mistry said the event, to be held at Footscray Community Arts Centre, would build on what was learned from previous forums.

“The Australia Council regularly holds artform-specific forums and events to bring the sector together to discuss the challenges and opportunities it faces and explore new strategies, initiatives and projects to address these,” Ms Mistry said.

“This forum is one of the ways the Australia Council will realise the goals of our Strategic Plan, which aims to build the capacity of artists to make excellent work and foster experimentation and risk-taking.”

Contemporary Dance will continue to be supported through the Australia Council’s new grants program and Council staff will give a presentation at the forum on what funds are available and how to apply.

This includes funding under the Arts Projects, Development Grants and Fellowships categories and artists can select the Dance peer panel to assess their application.  The next round closes on 2 June.

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