About Big Dance
Big Dance is a biennial participatory dance celebration, held all over the world. Big Dance commissions acclaimed choreographers to create a work that can be learnt by anyone in the world, through online tutorials and community workshops. Big Dance engages thousands of people with one unifying choreographic piece, performed across local regional and metropolitan communities.
“Dance is for everyone…. and everyone can dance, this is our motto. Big Dance allows people to have a go, no cost, experience dance in a supportive environment, meet people, and connect with others from their community.”
Michelle Silby, Big Dance Australia Director.
History of Big Dance
Big Dance originated in London in 2006, led by the Mayor of London in partnership with People Dancing and the Big Dance Hubs, a network of leading dance organisations across the UK. This biennial celebration of dance has inspired thousands of people to get dancing in London, the UK and internationally. In 2016, London hosted their final Festival with over 42,000 people in 44 countries around the world learning or using the commissioned choreography to create their own spectacular performances.
Big Dance in Australia
In 2014, Ausdance NSW was part of a partnership initiative led by the Greater London Authority, People Dancing, Sydney Dance Company, Get Scotland Dancing, Arts Council England and the British Council. Over 2000 participants learnt the choreography commissioned specifically for this event by Sydney Dance Company’s Rafael Bonachela. Big Dance was performed and filmed at Sydney Opera House, Bega and Port Macquarie, with live satellite links to London and Glasgow.
The entire event attracted over 1 million state participants (engaged live and online) and 22.4 million across the world via broadcast, rebroadcast, media and social media avenues.
Big Dance Australia was produced by Sydney Dance Company and has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; The City of Sydney; Sydney Opera House; and Ausdance NSW.
In 2016, Ausdance NSW worked with inter-state partners, Tracks Dance Company
(Darwin, NT) and Ausdance QLD (Brisbane) to teach participants choreography by Akram Khan and sound by Nitin Sawhney. In the Northern Territory, over 75 dancers performed in front of approximately 8,000 onlookers during the Territory Day festivities. Meanwhile, in Brisbane over 50 dancers performed at the Brisbane Powerhouse and footage was uploaded to the Big Dance UK website and screened at the 2016 Australian Dance Awards.
Big Dance 2018 was created by acclaimed Indigenous choreographer Frances Rings and New Zealand born choreographer Craig Bary, this work explored the rich Indigenous and non-Indigenous history of Australia. Big Dance events occurred across Australia, including Cathedral Square Sydney CBD, Federation Square, Melbourne CBD, Castlemaine and Albury in regional Victoria. Events were also held in the NT, ACT and SA. Sydney and Melbourne CBD events were live - streamed together. This was the first year that Australia lead Big Dance after a handover from the UK. Big Dance Australia is produced in partnership between Ausdance NSW and Ausdance Vic. Big Dance 2018 partners included NAISDA, AllPlay, Creative Victoria, VicHealth, Australia Council, Yarra Ranges Council, City of Sydney and Regional Centre for culture and multiple venue partners hosting community workshops across NSW and Vic.
For more information on Big Dance head to the website here www.bigdance.org.au/