CALD DANCERS WORKING PARTY + OPEN SPACE
The Racial Equity in Dance project was formed and became a priority in 2020 due to requests from our membership base. We are working with dancers of colour, in partnership wtih Ausdance Victoria to co-design sessions and safe spaces for culturally diverse dancers as well as planning for a future public forum on cultural diversity in dance. If you identify as CALD and wish to connect with Ausdance NSW to raise any particular issue you’ve experienced in the dance sector or to be included in the communication around future CALD dance events and consultation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Ausdance NSW doing in the Cultural Diversity space?
Cultural Diversity Free Webinar
Ausdance NSW held our first public forum on cultural equity in dance: Centering People and Forms of Colour in Dance Spaces presented as part of March Dance, supported by March Dance and the City of Sydney, and financially supported by Multicultural NSW. This free online event came in the wake of numerous consultations with dance professionals of Colour. Beginning with an audio-described slideshow highlighting the work of various dance professionals of Colour in NSW and beyond, living in Australia, the event then turned to a rich panel conversation. The forum was hosted by Laura Luna, Arts and Culture Program Manager, Settlement Services International with panellists, Rachael Jacobs, South Asian Dancer and Choreographer and Lecturer in Creative Arts Education at Western Sydney University and Charemaine Seet, Contemporary Dancer, Artist and Founder and Director of Seet Dance. The panel discussion explored panellists’ lived experiences as dancers of Colour, the additional labour that comes with being a person of Colour in dance spaces and tools and resources available for emerging or younger artists. With 41 registered attendees, many of whom chimed into the live chat, the forum proved to be a politically charged space with parallel experiences reflected from one person to another. It was also streamed live on Facebook, reaching 600 viewers. Thank you to our host, those involved and those of you who attended, asked questions and contributed to the discussion on the day. We would like to thank, in particular, our panellists, host, Multicultural NSW, March Dance and our consultant Annalouise Paul who also be presented the event as a podcast on Blue Mountains Radio program, ‘Dancing on Air’ a month after the event. The podcast is available on our Spotify account.
Cultural Diversity in dance lunchtime sessions
The inaugural racial equity in dance consuiltation meeting led to a series of artist lead, cultural diversity in dance sessions. These conversations are artist-led by dancers of colour and facilitated in an open-space style discussion, inviting sharing and discourse in a safe space for BIPOC dancers and dance workers. By giving voice to experiences, these sessions hope to make very real issues visible and shine light on ways to improve our industry for all.
Watch this space for our next cultural diversity in dance lunchtime session.
Past cultural diveristy in dance lunchtime sessions:
- Culturally Diverse Independent & Commercial Dancers and Choreographers – Concerns and Priorities, facilitated by Shyamla Eswaran.
- Untethering: On Our Own Terms, facilitated by Annalouise Paul
- Racial Discrimmination, Disadvantage and Microaggressions in Dance Education, facilitated by Dr Elena Lambrinos
Inaugural Racial Equity in Dance Consultation Meeting
Our first Racial Equity in Dance Consultation Meeting was held specifically for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) dance professionals. This meeting was held in response to requests from our members to further advocate for equality in dance. Our thanks go to Lena Nahlous, Executive Director of Diversity Arts Australia, who generously held space with the 60 people who attended. The meeting instigated an urgent conversation on the barriers faced by CALD dance professionals in NSW and beyond. This is a small step and a starting point. Ausdance NSW is actively looking for ways to ensure that these meetings and other initiatives that will enable this conversation to continue. No organizational agenda was tabled at the meeting. Rather, it was a place of listening to artists and arts workers and their lived experiences, many people had suggestions on ways to move forward.
91 REGISTRATIONS FROM ACROSS AUSTRALIA
61 NSW BASED DANCED ARTISTS, RESEARCHERS AND WORKERS
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 decenter 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.
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.
10 Hickson Road, Level 3, Arts Exchange Buliding, The Rocks, Sydney 2000
02 9256 4800
ABN 36 824 207 095