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Industry Programs

DAIR (Dance Artist in Residence)

New work, performances, tours, critical acclaim, award winners and employment

  • 50+ residencies and the creation of new work
  • 150+ dancers and collaborators
  • Grown from 3 to 12 DAIR partners

Ausdance NSW's Dance Artist in Residence Program (DAIR) has offered space residencies at various partner venues for members of Ausdance NSW who are independent dance artists, collectives or companies since 2013. DAIR is a direct response to the ongoing challenges of access to affordable and appropriate spaces to dance artists for the development of new work  and practice based reserach. DAIR involves creative development, research, mentorship, rehearsal and remounting of work.

Throughout 2019, Ausdance provided space for 14 residencies over 19 weeks at 7 different venues (4 metropolitan, 1 western Sydney, 2 regionally based).

DAIR  First Nations residency in partnership with NAISDA Dance College.

DAIR 2021 continues with 8 active partners and 20+ weeks of residencies

DAIR is by application process and is assessed by an Independent panel, chaired by the Executive Director of Ausdance NSW.


Create Space

Create Space in a residency for dance artists with Disability, which was developed from our DAIR program, in partnership with Sydney Opera House and Form Dance Projects (western Sydney). Create space provides a platform for research, exploration in an artist’s dance practice, creation of new work.  Past recipients include Dean Walsh (2019) to develop his work, Eosystems.


Big Dance 2021

2021 Big Dance will drive participation and engagement as part of the Sydney Festival with and requested by Sydney Dance Company,  held live at The Rocks, Sydney and online.

Big Dance is Ausdance NSW’s platform for participatory dance that is large scale, site specific and artist/ community led. Big Dance combines the ritual of gathering in public en masse with dance as a unifying and highly visible practice of social and artistic cohesion. Big Dance is a successful program with a track record for delivering high quality, site specific dance. Big Dance reimagines what dance is in contemporary Australia, engages new audiences and commissions new choreographic works.

Ausdance NSW is committed to developing and investing in social practices that are specific to dance. Social practice and dance is a growing field of dance enquiry that places the audience and choreography together at the heart of the creative process.

Big Dance achieves several key things:

  • Create new dance works for public spaces and mass performance
  • Advocate for the central role of dance in public life
  •  Raise participation and appreciation of dance  through engaging and unique opportunities
  • Increase access to First Nations dance performance and dance outside the Western canon

In 2018 Big Dance Australia delivered 9 outdoor dance events across the country involving 4200 dancers and held 140 free workshops and over 20,000 online interactions with online video’s and mainstream TV coverage. Big Dance pioneers models for community-based dance practices that are self-determined. Supported by leading choreographers including Francis Rings, Craig Barry and Rafael Bonachela, Big Dance explores what dance participation means to community and how dance can be used by the artist and audience to share stories and maintain imaginative and kinesthetic links between bodies in space that last much longer than the dance itself. No other platform in the country is investing in dance for this purpose. 

2014 Big Dance was done in partnership with Sydney Dance Company, Sydney Opera House and International partners, Lord Mayor of Londons office. Performed live, simultaneously in Sydney, London and Scotland. Ausdance NSW also ran two in regional NSW.

2016 we trialed Big Dance in two other states.