Creating space for Australia's emerging choreographers

The nation's leading arts institutions are supporting up and coming cross-disclipinary practice.
Creating space for Australia's emerging choreographers

Image: Matthew Day

In their first collaboration, both with highly esteemed and established arts programs, Sydney’s Carriageworks and Melbourne’s Dancehouse will be co-presenting the inaugural Keir Choreographic Awards next month.

Each institution is supporting four artists throughout their creative processes, offering rehearsal space and time to develop some of the best new contemporary choreographic works in the country.

As dance reflects the way people think and move, a choreographer’s development process is of equal importance to the performance of the works.


With an appetite for diversity the Keir Award offers a unique opportunity to see contemporary choreographic concepts being imagined, performed and contested, as it happens for the first time in Australia.

The Award aims to increase the profile of contemporary choreographers from a range of artistic backgrounds, and continue to develop new audiences for the Australian contemporary dance scene, Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah said bodes well with the arts institution’s cross-disciplinary vision.

Artistic Director and CEO at Dancehouse Angela Conquet, said dance is ‘very intuitive and can be appealing to both the mind and the senses’. The reason people find contemporary dance so challenging is that ‘it tells the most about us, as the art form is intimately linked to the contemporary human being’.

However, Conquet said the diversity in Keir Award performances makes this the perfect opportunity for anyone with a curiosity in contemporary dance to ‘have a first go’.

Conquet said this visionary move by The Keir Foundation is really ‘breaking ground [as] the biggest investment in the contemporary art form in Australia’ and sees it as an invitation for other philanthropists to ‘embark on the journey’ that is contemporary dance.

And one shouldn’t be scared about not understanding what they experience because ‘it’s not about understanding, it’s about being open to feel and to get involved with what you see on the stage,’ Conquet said.

Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah said the Carriageworks Artistic Program has a strong history of presenting contemporary dance. Carriageworks’ 24 Frames per Second project which will culminate in an exhibition of 24 new commissions in 2015 will further help to increase audiences for the contemporary dance sector.

Both Carriageworks’ and Dancehouse’s artistic programs reflect the organisations’ strong commitment to supporting contemporary dance both in Australia and internationally, and are thrilled to be a part of the Award’s premiere season.

The Keir Choreographic Award Season is at Dancehouse Melbourne 3 - 6 July & 10 – 13 July with the final at Carriageworks Sydney 16 - 19 July.

Visit the Dancehouse and Carriageworks websites for more information.

Esther Levy-Fenner

Saturday 11 June, 2011

About the author

Esther Levy-Fenner is a Melbourne journalist.