Dance Week 2024. Ausdance ACT

Ausdance ACT prides itself on having Australia’s most extensive program for Dance Week, and the ACT branch of Ausdance has, in fact, been building up its approach for over 30 years (if I remember correctly). This year’s program, which runs from 29 April to 5 May, illustrates the quite extraordinary diversity of dance that characterises Canberra these days.

The program for 2024 includes studio classes, workshops, and activities for all, including a range of free classes. At the end of this post there is a link to the complete program, but this post will highlight just a few of the events.

The activities begin on Monday 29 April, International Dance Day, a celebratory day that was initiated by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute in 1982. The date, 29 April, was chosen as it is the birth date of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), esteemed teacher and historian who is regarded by many as the creator of modern ballet. Ausdance ACT’s opening event, which will be addressed by Minister for the Arts, Tara Cheyne MLA, will feature a performance of Co_Lab:24 from Canberra’s professional dance company, Australian Dance Party (ADP). This is a 2024 iteration of an event that has been part of ADP’s repertoire for a number of years. The idea behind Co_Lab is one of collaboration and experimentation with a diverse range of artists. The 2024 version will feature dancers Alison Plevey, Sara Black and Melanie Lane and musician Alex Voorhoeve (cello), with sound/voice from Sia Ahmad and visuals from Nicci Haynes.

In addition to being featured at the opening celebration, Co_Lab:24 will have two public performances at the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre on 30 April and 1 May.

Olivia Wikner and Alison Plevey in a Co_Lab performance. Photo: © Andrew Sikorski

Also as part of the opening program there will be the opportunity to watch some short dance films from Dance.Focus and Danceology, along with the premiere of the film Hillscape. As a live work, Hillscape was given just one performance, and that was a year ago as part of the 2023 Canberra International Music Festival. It was performed outdoors in the amphitheatre of the National Arboretum and I am hoping that, with a film version, we will have the opportunity to get a closer view of Ashley Bye’s choreography. See my review of the live show at this link.

Scene from the live performance of Hillscape, 2023. Photo: © Peter Hislop

There is also an astonishing number of workshops and classes to try over the week. They include a workshop with Jazida exploring dancing with silk fan veils; an adult beginner ballet class with Matthew Shilling (former dancer with Sydney Dance Company now director of MAKS Ballet Studio); taster classes in the ZEST: Dance for Wellbeing program; an open class in hip-hop with Fresh Funk; an outdoor performance SHOW US YOUR FACE in Garema Place from the Jam Cabinet (a street dance community); and lots more.

Dance for Wellbeing Class. Photo: © Lorna sim

Delve into what’s on this year at this link where you will find dates, times and how to RSVP or apply (necessary for some but not all events). There is something for everyone.

Michelle Potter, 21 April 2024

Featured image (cropped, full image below): Promotional image for a workshop to be held on 4 May 2024, ‘Fabulous Fan Dancing with Jazida’. Photo: © Captavitae Photography

2 thoughts on “Dance Week 2024. Ausdance ACT

  1. I’m sorry you will miss the opening event. It sounds interesting I think. But then Monday is not the best day for you as far as being in Canberra goes.

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