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Curtain falls on national dance advocacy body

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The Herald’s dance critic Jill Sykes said it was a sad day.

Ausdance National was the only Australia-wide advocacy body for dance. Though not politically very strong it was all the dance community had by way of a coherent artform voice and was especially important for small independents.

The decision to fold was made ahead of the opening of the 2019 National Dance Forum this week in Darwin, that brings together dancers, researchers, writers, directors, producers, advocates and educators in professional dance practice.

The theme of this year’s forum, presented by Ausdance National in partnership with Tracks Dance Company, is Home – dance of place, disruption and belonging.

Ausdance National was one of a number of arts organisations that lost operational funding in 2016 following the raid on the Australia Council for the Arts by the former arts minister, Senator George Brandis. Its board restructured and trimmed operations, and repositioned the association while pursuing alternate revenue streams.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to sustain operations into the future, the body’s president Professor Gene Moyle said.

Professor Moyle, associate dean of creative practices at the Queensland University of Technology, said the dance sector did not have the capacity to fund its own advocacy body.

Arts organisations across Australia are bracing themselves for disappointment as the Australia Council for the Arts announces next week who will be granted funds as part of the initial stage of its multi-year funding round – the first since Mr Brandis stripped it of $105 million in funding.

Ausdance National applied to the Australia Council’s expression of interest round but decided not to proceed with further applications, vice president Annette Carmichael said. Regardless of the result, the funding would not have commenced before January 1, 2021, and Ausdance National had not been able to secure sustained financial support for the interim period.

The Ausdance network, of which Ausdance National was one part, continues through state organisations.

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