Big Dance 2018
Big Dance is the largest dance celebration in the world, and it hit Australia on International Dance Day (29 April 2018), thousands of people came together to dance in some of the most iconic places in the world, produced by Ausdance Victoria and New South Wales. Encouraging people to be active through dance, Big Dance is a free large-scale participatory celebration open to everyone around the world, for people of all ages, all abilities and all experiences.
The United Kingdom passed the Big Dance legacy to Australia after presenting the biennial global event since 2006, led by the Mayor of London in partnership with People Dancing and a network of leading dance organisations. Jacqueline Rose, Head of Culture for the Greater London Authority traveled to Australia officially hand over Big Dance. Jacqueline Rose remarked, “I am so delighted, proud and privileged to mark this historic moment in world dance with the handover of Big Dance to Australia on the 40th birthday of Ausdance.”
The 2018 Big Dance commissioned acclaimed Indigenous choreographer Frances Rings and New Zealand born choreographer Craig Bary. Big Dance 2018 was a five-minute dance routine that anyone could learn – three versions were made available to suit different capabilities, including standing, seated and free form. In the lead up to the Big Dance events, the choreography was taught through a series of free workshops led by 8 NSW dance artists at our Big Dance partner venues. Online tutorials were also created by Rings and Bary with the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) Dance College and developing artists.
Rings explained that we are lucky to live in an incredible country that still emits ancient energy and incredible culture, “Big Dance will connect everyone through movement and bring people together to share their stories and experiences with pride and in any dance form.”
Key Big Dance 2018 events occurred across the nation and included Sydney and three Victorian events, Federation Square (Melbourne), Castlemaine and Lilydale (Yarra Ranges). Events were also held in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, and South Australia these events featured performances by local dance companies.
Big Dance was well received by media outlets, both Internationally and Nationally, online and printed. Interviews and articles appeared in Artshub, Dance Australia, ABC iview The Mix, BMW Dance, Coast Community News, Time Out Melbourne, Fox FM, Bendigo Advertiser, CBS News, Herald Sun, Inner West Courier, Koori Mail, Manningham Leader, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Scoop, Yarra Valley Leader, Castlemaine Mail, The Advocate Hepburn and SBS News. Michelle Silby was also invited to write an article for ‘People Dancing, the UK’s leading foundation for community Dance.
In addition to the Big Dance community participation events Michelle Silby and Jacqueline Rose spoke at over 5 industry events held across NSW and Victoria. The Australia Council hosted the first pre-event talk with an opening address by Wesley Enoch, followed by a Create NSW event which was hosted by Alex O’Mara Deputy Secretary, Arts, Screen and Culture. During the events, Silby spoke to the power of participation and the effects of what she calls ‘active advocacy’ in strengthening networks and building sector capacity. Rose went on to visit Wagana Dancers in the Blue Mountains, Canberra and Victoria for further Industry meetings. While in Melbourne, Jacqueline attended talks and events with the City of Melbourne and Ausdance Vic partnered with Creative Victoria to present a Big Dance event which was open to the wider arts and culture sector.
Big Dance across Australia:
Major cultural community events:
- 4 in Victoria: Melbourne city, Lilydale,Castlemaine and Albury
- 2 in New South Wales: Sydney City and Campsie Public School
- 1 in the Northern Territory with Tracks NT in Darwin
- 1 in the ACT with Ausdance ACT
- 1 in South Australia at the World Dance Congress
Big Dance was also learnt by thousands of people online. Resulting in many big dance performances led by communities, schools, and dance groups across the country.
- 4200 Dancers participated in major events led by Ausdance
- 140 free community dance workshops were organised across the nation
- 800 National and International delegates participated in Big Dance from Dance and The Child International Conference, and the World Dance Congress in SA.
Digital reach: (at May 2018)
- 883 viewers watched the live stream
- 13,732 visited the Big Dance website
Australian Big Dance Lead Ambassadors
Award winning dance choreographer and dancer. Assocaite Artistic Director, Bangarra. Frances is of Kokatha heritage and also of German descent. Frances has choreographed and danced in works for many of Australia’s leading Dance Companies and Choreographers including West Australian Ballet, Tasdance, Leigh Warren & Dancers, Meryl Tankard and Legs on the Wall. Internationally Frances has established important intercultural creative relationships with First Nations artists most notably Kahawi Dance Theatre (Canada) and Atamira Dance Company (NZ).
From 2016 – 2018 Frances was appointed Head of Creative Studies at NAISDA Dance College. In 2019, Frances returned to Bangarra in the position of Associate Artistic Director. Frances has been the recipient of many awards the most recent include: Helpmann Award Best, New Australian Dance Work and Best regional Show for Terrain. Sheoak, Best New Dance Work, Best Choreography in a Dance Work at the 2016 Helpmann Awards.
Independent Choreographer and dancer. Unit Manager for Contemporary Dance and Physical Theatre at NAISDA Dance College. Craig Bary is an active member of the dance community in Australia and New Zealand. He has been a founding member of key organisations such as The New Zealand Dance Company and Garry Stewart’s Australian Dance Theatre. Craig has worked with many different companies and choreographers and choreographed works on Sydney Dance Company, Footnote New Zealand Dance, and the iOU collective. Craig regularly works with The New Zealand School of Dance and is currently the Unit Manager for Contemporary Dance and Physical Theatre at NAISDA Dance College.
Raphael Bonachela (2014)
Choreographer and ongoing Ambassador
Artistic Director Sydney Dance Company, Rafael Bonachela was born in Barcelona where he began his early dance training before moving to London, and in 1992 joined the legendary Rambert Dance Company.
In 2008, Rafael premiered his first full-length production 360° for Sydney Dance Company. Less than six months later, he was appointed Artistic Director making headlines around the dance world. His vision for the Company embraces a guiding principle that has seen the repertoire grow with the addition of commissioned dance works from Australian and visiting international guest choreographers. The premiere works are often programmed alongside Rafael’s own creations, ensuring diversity for audiences and providing much sought after opportunities for his remarkable ensemble of dancers to be exposed to the work of some of the most in-demand choreographers of our time.
Christine Anu (2018)
Australian pop singer and actress; Christine Anu is one of Australia’s most acclaimed entertainers. Her mother’s people were from Saibai Island, just off the south coast of Papua New Guinea. Her father came from Mabuiag Island, closer to the center of Torres Strait.
Christine is a multi-award winning recording artist and has made widely acclaimed appearances in major films such as Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, The Matrix Reloaded and Dating the Enemy. Christine has also starred in many stage productions, including Hairspray: The Arena Spectacular, South Pacific, The Saphhires, Little Shop of Horrors, Rent, Rainbow’s End and Parramatta Girls. She has also performed at many momentous events, including the Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Ceremony. She was also bestowed the honour of flicking the switch to launch National Indigenous Television in Australia. Christine is currently hosting the national Friday and Saturday evening shows on ABC Local Radio.