Within 10 days of COVID-19 sparking a national lockdown, Ausdance NSW’s flagship program Dance Artists in Residence 2020 (DAIR) had shifted online with the enthusiastic support of the artists involved. In the early days of the lockdown, as the shock and panic took its toll, 4 dancers and choreographers quietly took over our Instagram account each day revealing what dance-making looked like in lockdown. And how it felt.  Culminating in a live co-sharing with Alice Weber, Emily and Amy Flannery. The sharing was conducted via zoom, and was attended by 25 people. DAIR online has begun Ausdance NSW’s exploration of ‘Dance in the Digital Realm’.


 Emily, with her collaborator and sister Amy, developed her work ‘Bulnuruwahna (Taking Flight)’ which will explore the Wiradjuri dreaming stories about the way the land was created by birds.⁠ They were able to develop the work on country at their families home. Emily was the inaugural recipient of the DAIR + NAISDA First Nations Artists residency.

Amy and I would use the time to research the stories that are the foundation and inspiration for my work Bulnuruwanha. This felt like the right course of action, given that we were able to live and research on country. 

The research manifested in many ways, including creating and experimenting with props, visiting local sites like the lake and incorporating traditional women’s business such as weaving. I became aware that my practice primarily involves aspects that aren’t physical”.

It was so lovely to see two sisters work together and explore not only their work but how to adapt to an unprecedented situation such as COVID. Emily is a recipient of DityFeet’s Out of The Studio; we look forward to watching both her and her sisters’ creative practise unfold.

Photo Credit: Image supplied by the artist, ‘Bulnuruwanha Nest Wings’ NAISDA Dance College, DAIR Funded 2020. @naisda_dance_college @emflann @amyflannery_


Natasha Sturgis developed her work “The Land of Her” remotely at her home. Natasha was scheduled to travel to Art In Motion – Imagine Residency in rural NSW.

“The idea stems from questioning the traditional roles and behaviours which women and themselves embodying subconsciously. If there were no masculine/feminine binaries, would women behave differently, and what would our interactions between each other look like? So much of our own identity is determined by our outside influences, so without the limitation of what the male construct imposes on us, The Land of Her asks the question: “Who could we be?”

We hope to support Natasha in the future as she continues to develop her work.

Photo Credit: Image supplied by the artist, The Australian College of physical education DAIR Funded in 2020. @theacpe


Alice Weber was scheduled to travel to Alstonville Dance Studio in Byron Bay, due to COVID-19 she completed her residency at home, and was mentored by Giselle Stanborough and collaborated with artists Monika Blaszczak, Vanessa Goodman, Ileana Cheladyn and Alexa Wilson in a series of recorded conversations.

“I was interested in finding a possible boundary of what might be considered ‘choreographic’, and testing (successfully or unsuccessfully) if this work qualifies. I was not concerned with ideas of what choreography ‘should’ look like, which was essential freedom in this line of enquiry.”

Alice recorded a podcast during her residency with Monica Blaszczak as part of ‘Ausdance In Conversation…’ which can be heard here>>>

Photo Credit: Image supplied by the artist, taken in her backyard, Alstonville Dance Studio DAIR Funded 2020. @alstonvilledancestudio




Annalouise Paul completed her 1-week residency at Campbelltown Arts Centre. Annalouise received her first international commission from George Town Festival in 2020 for a new dance work at the Penang Peranakan Mansion.

She used the residency to experiment with new hybrid scores that can be employed by the local dance artists (Malaysia, Singapore) to generate embodied material from their own cultural and contemporary practices.

Annalouise says “inviting Anny Mokotow out for the day was fantastic …(I) developed a deeper understanding of the premise for the work, in discussion with Anny, the idea of how histories are carried in the body and come with us into the future as a metaphor for the Mansion.”

Annalouise was mentored in the studio by Dramaturg, Anny Mokotow and we thank her for her commitment to supporting dance works. Annalouise Paul is an integral part of the dance sector, her work surrounding diversity, her commitment to highlighting flamenco, and her perseverance for the inclusivity of the dance sector is unwavering and should be acknowledged and celebrated.

Photo Credit: Image taken by Ausdance NSW on a studio visit, Campbelltown Arts Centre DAIR Funded 2020. @campbelltownartscentre @creatensw


Ella Watson-Heath completed her 1-week residency at the Australian College of Physical Education, in collaboration with Kieran Clancy-Lowe and mentored by S Sandra Eldridge. During her project ‘Save the Endorphin’ Ella aimed to develop a program for year 7 to year nine students, with an emphasis on mental health.

“Our residency became more about planning the structure for activities that focus on making young people feel comfortable and engaged. Mindfulness was an avenue we explored that we hadn’t considered when first developing the project, yet it has become one of the four main pillars of our program.”

Photo Credit: Image taken by Ausdance NSW on a studio visit, The Australian College of physical education DAIR Funded 2020. @theacpe


Elle Evangelista completed a 2-week residency at the Royal Academy of Dance Australia with mentor Matt Cornell. She used the time to create her new solo work 30THIRTY which was to premiere as part of The Flying Nun at Brand X.

“30THIRTY is 30 x 1-minute solos performed in succession, followed by 1 x 30-minute solo. The stimulus for 30 x 1-minute solos will come from inviting a curated list of 30 people to write me a birthday wish on my birthday (in January).”

The Flying Nun was unable to go ahead due to COVID; we look forward to seeing her performance as soon as we can!

Photo Credit: Image taken by photo Luke Currie-Richardson, the Royal Academy of Dance Australia DAIR Funded 2020. @RoyalAcademyofDanceAustralia


Emma Harrison completed her 1-week residency at the Australian College of Physical Education, developing her work ‘Let them eat it,’ mentored by Kay Armstrong.

“Through exploration and integration of various art forms, I will begin to develop an interdisciplinary work inspired by the overtly decadent and publicly scrutinised queen of France, Marie Antoinette.

A victim of cultural misogyny and turned into the scapegoat/product of the French Revolution, she was wrongly pinned as a vision of indulgence and lewd behaviour far unbefitting of a queen.

This new dance work will unpack the French monarch and look to present her life as a series of transitions – temporal, spatial, physical and psychological. I will look at her life as she advanced through stages of development – these being independence, sexual initiation, marriage and motherhood and offer them as observations into myself as a female but also to women as a whole.

My objective is to use movement, media and text/sound to translate these evolutions, to explore the context of female identity and the intricacies of her life and scrutiny and viscerally present them.”

After viewing Emma’s well developed and researched work for DirtyFeet, we look forward to supporting Emma with her future development. Helping our young artists is an integral part of sustaining dance practise in NSW.

Photo Credit: Image supplied by the artist, The Australian College of physical education DAIR Funded in 2020. @theacpe @kay_arm_strong


Gabriela Green completed her one-week residency at Campbelltown Arts Centre, with collaborator Ngioka Bunda-Heath and mentored by Emma Saunders. During this week she developed her work ‘Historia, Memoria and Connection’, her work explored her choreographic practice through research and healing, making links between her sense of belonging here in Australia and my Chilean cultural heritage. Recently Gabriella shared her insights on dance as part of the International Dance Day, so we would like to share that again.

“I believe dance belongs to everyone. My practice focuses on the inclusive connection between ourselves, each other and the world. My family are refugees, and their trauma exists in my body memory. I use this body to express, create and communicate. My main goal is to keep their Lucha (fight) alive. Our bodies are going through a lot at the moment; it is shaping us literally. What my family taught me is that art brings us together to uplight a society from oppression. It is time to tune in, connect and use our creativity to fight for a better world, where we and everyone can express freely.”

Gabriela is a string member of our dance community, and we look forward to following and supporting her creative journey.

⁠Photo Credit: LR Ngioka Bunda-Heath and Gabriela Green Olea, Campbelltown Arts Centre for DAIR 2020. @campbelltownartscentre @ga3rielagreenolea @GabrielaGreenOlea


Margot Politis completed her 1-week residency at the Australian College of Physical Education, with collaborator Liam O’Keefe and mentor Kay Armstrong.

“Temperance is a new work in development, exploring themes of moderation and restraint, as they relate to mental health, addiction recovery, and physical lethargy. Utilising depth of space, physical theatre, sound and light, Temperance investigated restraint as a critical virtue defined by Greek philosophy and examined through the female characters of Greek mythology.

I spent the first three days by myself, creating physical sequences every day, in an exploration of the different temperaments of women from Greek mythology. When Liam and Kay joined me on days 4 and 5, I discovered even more! Kay encouraged me to stop “thinking” so much – which is an easy trap to fall into when working alone!”

We are so excited to see where this work takes Margot.

Photo Credit: Photo: Margot Politis, DAIR Funded 2020 @theacpe⁠ mentored by @kay_arm_strong photo by Kay Armstrong


Patricia Wood used her 1-week residency to research the work of Trisha Brown, with her mentor Lee Serle, at the Australian College of Physical Education.

“I used the time at ACPE to enact a series of scores and physical explorations to develop a physical language in response to working with the idea of transmission and Trisha Brown’s archival work. This residency has been about dancing, taking conceptual ideas that have been in response to the studio practice and bringing them back into the body.

Having Lee in the space with me has been an enjoyable experience for many reasons, he has such clear embodied experience of Trisha Brown’s movement vocabulary, which is so exciting to watch when he dances; and he shared a few personal memories of working with Trisha and being in relational to her invaluable practice.”

Patricia had to put future overseas travel for the development of her work due to COVID; we look forward to seeing her future research when she can.⁠

Photo Credit: Image taken by Ausdance NSW on a studio visit, The Australian College of physical education DAIR Funded 2020. @theacpe


Rakini Devi was able to complete part of her residency at the Australian College of Physical Education, with collaborators Jiva Partihpan, Nigel Kellaway, Kenny Feather and mentor Martin Del Amo.⁠ Rakini developed her creative project ‘I USED TO BE A DANCER’

“I Used to Be a Dancer” is effectively a story about my journey in dance, that I am inviting three of my colleagues to join me on. Through script, spoken word, dance and physical theatre, we will explore the choices that mature artists make to remain relevant. All the artists are experienced performers with a history of excellence in performance spanning several decades. The group is a mix of cultures and gender identities. This work has been in the planning stages for five years and is a timely work that argues the relevance of mature artists surviving in a youth-obsessed society.”

When restrictions allow, we look forward to supporting Rakini in completing her residency.

Photo Credit: Image supplied by The Australian College of physical education DAIR Funded 2020. @theacpe


“In this residency, I hope to create more layers to the work developed over the last few years through my collaboration with Laura Turner, a video artist.”

Thank you to our 2020 DAIR funded venue partners:

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. ⁠


Ausdance NSW is the key support & advocacy body, for the creation, presentation and practice of dance in NSW.

Ausdance NSW is part of the Ausdance National Network.

Ausdance acknowledges and respects the Traditional Custodians of the Lands on which we work and dance and pays respect to elders past, present and emerging. 

Contact Info


10 Hickson Road, Level 3, Arts Exchange Buliding, The Rocks, Sydney 2000

02 8076 9480


ABN 36 824 207 095