CALD dancers Working Party + Open Space

Facilitated by

Lena Nahlous - Executive Director of Diversity Arts Australia. Read more about Lena here>>>

FOUNDING Consultation Group Members:

Annalouise Paul - Independent Artist. Read more about Annalouise here>>>

Yasmin Brock - Contemorary and Ballet Dancer. Read more about Yasmin here>>>

Dr Elena Lambrinos - Dance educator and academic. Read more about Elena here>>>

91 Registrations from across Australia

61 NSW based danced artists, researchers and workers

Maya Angelou – a dancer before she was a poet, and so always a dancer:

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

Ausdance NSW facilitated a state wide consultation with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) dance artists and producers in our first sector consultation addressing racial equity in the dance sector facilitated by Lena Nahlous, Executive Director, Diversity Arts Australia. This meeting exclusively invited CALD dance practitioners and dance workers including producers, arts managers and other related professionals.

In Australia, a place of unceded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land, CALD refers to how we identify, hold, and practice culture on a daily basis in our dance practices and/or as lived experience. If you identify as a dance artist with a cultural practice, a CALD studio owner or teacher, a ballet, an independent or commercial artist from a CALD background, or any other CALD dance professional, join us for a sharing of stories and lived experiences, best practices, resources, and strategies.

This event was a semi-structured discussion over Zoom. The audience was invited to listen and share in a safe space where we unpacked racial and cultural inequity in dance, let it be on stage, on screen, or in the studio. In light of this sensitive conversation, this event was intended to be a protected space for those who identify or may be perceived, as CALD.

Overview:

From our very first dance class through to professional training and practice, dancers are cultivated in a system that privileges some dancers and marginalises others. In the urgent global discussion around racial justice and inequity, the Australian dance sector must question current and often taken-for-granted practices and beliefs to create new ways of doing, understanding, and thinking about dance.

This raises many questions:

• How can we decentre whiteness in dance, an art form which traditionally idealises certain white bodies?

• How do we make cultural equity and diversity in dance mainstream in a colonial state that continues to benefit from structures and systems that are inherently racist?

• What does practising anti-racism look like in dance?

• How can we reduce the marginalisation of dancers and dance forms?

• Perhaps most tellingly, in order to make dance more equitable in Australia, what are the questions that need to be asked in the first place?

Ausdance NSW is committed to honouring Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous and First Nations Peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas as well as their rich contributions to society. We stand in solidarity with them and gather across Countries that have never been ceded.

 

If you would like further information on the consultation group and future open meeting, please contact Kate Maguire Rosier, Projects and Programs Manager on projects@dance.net.au