A surprise announcement arrived in my inbox today. Ruth Osborne, currently artistic director of QL2 Dance, Canberra’s youth dance organisation, is stepping down from the role she has held for 25 years. The transition to a new chapter for QL2 Dance will be made over a 12 month period and at the end of that time the organisation will be led by Alice Lee Holland.
Osborne’s career to date has been diverse and quite extraordinary. Below are the first two paragraphs of an article I wrote about Osborne at the end of 2016, just before she was about to take up a Churchill Fellowship. Then follows a link to the whole article, which was published in The Canberra Times in December 2016.
Canberra youth dance pioneer Ruth Osborne to continue her work with Churchill Fellowship
Michelle Potter, The Canberra Times, 17 December 2016
Ruth Osborne has been setting up and facilitating dance projects for the young people of Canberra since 1999. It was then that she was invited to come to Canberra from Perth to set up the Quantum Leap Youth Program for the Australian Choreographic Centre at Gorman House. Osborne had had an extraordinarily diverse dance career in Perth, involving teaching, directing and choreography across a range of institutions. She was also a founding board member and artistic director of STEPS Youth Dance Company for 10 years.
As we sit in the beautifully green and cool courtyard of Gorman House, Osborne talks of her experience in Perth. ‘When I started working with young people in Perth, I could see the benefits of bringing them together from different places, not just from one dance school,’ she says. ‘It was about opening up minds; attracting boys into dance, and youth programs were a great way of doing that; and looking at who were our artists, and how young people might benefit from their input. The move to Canberra was an exciting prospect as it gave me the opportunity to work full-time with young people.’
Read the full article at this link.
Since the Churchill experience Osborne has continued, unrelentingly, her extraordinary work with young dancers in Canberra and surrounding regions. A very recent activity was a collaboration with James Batchelor, a former Quantum Leaper and now an acclaimed professional dancer and choreographer, on the transmission of dance from artist to artist. It resulted in a work called Shortcuts to Familiar Places. Read more about it at this link.
The official announcement from QL2 Dance is at this link.
Michelle Potter, 20 July 2023
Featured image: Portrait of Ruth Osborne, 2023. Photo: © Olivia Wikner