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Isis grew up and lives on Darug and Gundungurra Country in the Blue Mountains NSW. She is a founding member of the DUST Youth Dancers and has been doing contemporary dance under the guidance of Jo Clancy for 20yrs. Isis has performed with DUST at many festivals and events in the Mountains and this will be her third time attending and performing at AYDF.
Isis is a mentor and support to the younger members of the DUST Company. She currently works in disability care and holds a strong passion for the industry.
Ruby Howard is 18 years old and is based in Launceston, Tasmania. She has danced with Stompin for 3 years creating and performing in Mirror Mirror with James Batchelor, Nowhere with Yolande Brown and All Expenses Paid with Jack Ziesing and Jenni Large. She has also created her own works, performed in Junction Arts Festival with the mentorship of Lucas Stibbard, Bec Jones, Sofie Burgoyne and Gabriel Comerford. In 2020 Ruby’s first dance film, Try not to break it, won most outstanding duet at Short Sharp Dance Festival.
Outside of Stompin, Ruby is also a musician, notably performing as a semi-finalist in the Tasmanian Rock Challenge in 2019 with her song, Small. She also contributed to the Arts Hub article Post-pandemic pick-me-ups: great art will show the way by Richard Watts.
Christopher Wade is a contemporary dance artist based in Sydney and in currently undertaking a bachelor of dance (performance) at the academy of music and performing arts (ampa) to be completed august 2021.
Christopher has been a part of the future makers program with dance makers collective for two years and has performed in Sydney Festival with them twice. As well as that, Christopher has been dancing with the QL2 youth dance company for five years.
Christopher has a keen interest on the body’s relationship with its environment and how we can use existing concepts to translate its inner mechanisms.
I expect AYDF 21 to be a time of connection for our industry in a time where it is needed most. An opportunity to share, support and guide each other as companies and individuals in an enjoyable and fun setting.
Entering her fifth year with Austinmer Dance Theatre, Natalie joined the company after graduating from Ev and Bow full-time in 2017. Since this time, she has had the opportunity to work with eight national and international choreographers, tour five performance seasons, dance for multiple uNCOILEd works and was also accepted to attend the ‘One Small Step’ Festival in Corfu, Greece.
In 2020, Natalie completed her Royal Academy of Dance Teachers Training and teaches locally in the Illawarra.
2021’s AYDF is going to be extremely special. I’m so excited about connecting with youth from all around the country, especially because 2020 was so isolating.
Born in Melbourne, Jacqui has trained in dance for eighteen years. She has experience in contemporary, ballet, and character, and prides herself in teaching and choreography.
Recently she completed both her Diploma in Elite Dance Performance (Contemporary) and Cert IV in Dance Teaching and Management at Transit Dance in Brunswick. She also completed VCE Dance in 2016, and has seven years of professional teaching experience teaching a wide range of ages.
Highlights of her career include her performance in I Wish I Was A Droid in the Melbourne Fringe Festival (2020), performing at Beyond the Valley music festival (2019), as well as dancing alongside Chunky Move company members with their NGV Triennial season (2018), and choreographing a solo for Yellow Wheel’s Showroom program (2017).
Dance transforms people by exposing them to a whole new way of getting a message across. There are so many things that can be said through dance, and I believe that it’s a strong way to transform communication.
Meghann Burton has been training in styles of dance ranging from contemporary, ballet, jazz, musical theatre and tap since the age of 3. In 2014 she started training and performing with Catapult Dance Choreographic Hub’s youth program the ‘Flipside Project’; directed by Cadi McCarthy. Alongside the Flipside project, Meg has performed in works choreographed by renowned choreographers, including ‘In Search of the Lost Thing’ (2016) – awarded ‘Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance’ at the 2017 Australian Dance Awards. Over the years Meg has participated in many masterclasses and festivals around Australia, including a workshop with physical theatre company ‘Legs on the Wall’.
In 2019 she took part in an international dance exchange with Rutherford Dance Company’s youth program, which involved a weeklong collaborative intensive. Meg has had joyous experience teaching dance classes and is currently in the process of gaining her Cert III in Assistant Dance Teaching.
This year will be Meg’s third time attending and performing at the Australian Youth Dance Festival as part of the Flipside Project, where she is thrilled to be a Youth Ambassador.
When I dance there are endless possibilities. I think that it is phenomenal that in dance you can create anything and it can take you anywhere. Dance for me is collaborating with all kinds of people with all kinds of dance styles, to create an art that touches people in different ways.
Ebony Ryan-Miners has been dancing with FLING Physical Theatre since 2018. While being with the company she has enjoyed being part of many amazing projects. She has worked with the choreographers Jazmyn Carter in the film project Whose Thoughts Are They (2020), Rob McCredie in Shifting (AYDF 2019), Gabrielle Rose in Everything is Coming Up Roses (2019) and with Anton in Sapphire Sky (2020).
Ebony also had the opportunity to work with Emma Saunders in the performance ENCOUNTER (2020 Sydney Festival) and ENCOUNTER SOUTH (2019 Four Winds Youth Festival) with FORM dance projects and Sydney Youth Orchestra. Throughout 2019 Ebony also volunteered with the FLING Move Me Inclusive Dance program with Gabriela Green. This led to her taking part in the Move Me show Who We Are (2019).
Ebony hopes to continue her journey as a dancer and is excited to see what the future holds.
Kyall is a Naarm/Melbourne based contemporary dance artist. His career so far has focused on finding a balance of performance, choreography and teaching work. By finding how these three areas can compliment and feed into each other, Kyall is passionate about increasing the accessibility of dance through youth and community work.
He is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts 2015 and since then has danced for Tasdance, Antony Hamilton Projects, Chunky Move, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Opera Australia, The Delta Project and Liquidskin Dance Company. In 2017-2018 Kyall undertook an 8 month international residency program with DanceBox in Kobe, Japan, and then spent 3 months in Sweden as a member of ilYoung 2018.
Kyall has engaged with community youth groups and schools as a teacher and choreographer, examples of this being the Arts Centre Melbourne/Matthew Bourne 'Lord Of The Flies' project, the 2019 Dance Massive work 'Simulcast', and Stephanie Lake Company's 2020 Melbourne Fringe work 'Multiply'. Through his work he has represented/taught for The Victorian College of the Arts, Chunky Move, Ausdance Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, DRILL, Transit Dance and The Space Dance and Arts Centre. He currently works as one of the Tasdance Ensemble members, and as Artistic Director to the preprofessional youth dance company Yellow Wheel.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance) – with Distinction (QUT)
Bachelor of Arts (Dance) Honours - First Class (WAAPA/LINK Dance Company)
Caitlin is the Co-Artistic Director of MakeShift Dance Collective as well as Artistic Director of Stompin Youth Dance Company. Before taking on the role of Artistic Director at Stompin, she worked for 8 years as an independent artist and with MakeShift out of Brisbane, performing nationally and internationally.
Caitlin’s choreographic projects are deeply focused on collaboration. Her works have a social conscience and aim to actively engage and transform audiences. She is interested in site-specific and found-site work, dance film and durational/installation dance work. She is passionate about teaching, particularly in a youth dance context, focusing on mind/body connection, creating space for personal observation as well as interpersonal connections within the room.
As a young director, Caitlin has found a passion for connecting appropriate artists at the appropriate time with specific community, young people or artistic projects. She believes strongly in supporting and building artistic expression and fostering the next generation of professional dance artists and makers. As an alumna of Canberra-based youth dance company QL2, Caitlin knows the immense value of being a part of the arts sector from a young age and brings a deep passion and wide network to her role as Artistic Director. Across all her work, Caitlin aims to create authentic opportunities to communicate and connect.
Marty Hirst is an experienced journalist, editor and communications professional with a specialty in non-profit, education and government relations. His journalism experience includes working for ABC radio and SBS, newspapers and magazines, as well as editing student publications in Australia and New Zealand. He is the author of several books about journalism and media. Marty is passionate about the arts and education. He holds a Cert IV and Diploma in visual arts, a Bachelor’s degree in communication, a Master’s degree in cultural studies, a PhD in journalism, and a postgraduate qualification in adult education. Currently, Marty is studying for an Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts at RMIT.
Alisdair Macindoe is an Australian dancer, sound designer, coder and choreographer. His experience in these fields has taken his work to many countries world-wide, earning critical acclaim in the media and receiving local and international awards including five Melbourne Greenroom awards, an Australian Helpmann, and a New York Bessie. Notable collaborations include his work as a dancer for Lucy Guerin, Chunky Move, Antony Hamilton, Stephanie Lake and DanceNorth, and his work as a sound designer for Chunky Move, Antony Hamilton, STOMPIN and DanceNorth. His choreographic work includes commissions for DanceNorth, Lucy Guerin Inc, Next Wave, Performance Space, and STOMPIN. Alisdair's unique multidisciplinary interests extend into the digital realm, and in 2018 he presented a major commission/exhibition NONCOMPETE at the Substation exploring electronics, creative coding and physical computing. As a multidisciplinary artist, whose work spans performance and technology, the intersection of humans and technology in both dance and music is one of his recurring interests.
Kate is recognised as one of Australia’s foremost choreographers and directors of dance-theatre. She is an award-winning creator of original performances, which integrate the mediums of dance, theatre and visual artistry. From 1997-2017, she was the Artistic Director of KAGE, which she co-founded with Gerard Van Dyck. As the Artistic Director of KAGE, Kate devised, directed and/or performed in all the Company’s works. Kate has choreographed new work for Australian Dance Theatre, Chunky Move, Victorian College of the Arts, Fling Physical Theatre and Tasdance. Many of her works have won industry awards and national and international recognition. In 2013 Kate was recognised in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group 100 Women of Influence Awards. Kate’s final work for KAGE, Caught in the Middle toured Scandinavia in 2018 and continues touring throughout Norway in 2020. Kate is currently studying a Master of Teaching at Swinburne University.
Amity is an experienced legal professional and arts advocate with extensive engagement in the legal and arts sectors spanning a decade.
Amity is a senior commercial lawyer in private practice at a large firm with particular expertise in commercial transactions drafting and review, contract negotiation and corporate advisory. Throughout her practice she has provided legal and business advisory services for the creative sector assisting artists and arts organisations, and has accumulated broad experience in not-for-profit board governance. Amity also has expertise in arts media and marketing having worked with flagship performing arts companies The Australian Ballet, as Publicist, and Bangarra Dance Theatre, as Marketing Manager. She has also worked as a Marketing Consultant managing the strategic marketing activities of Cirque du Soleil, Luna Park and Sydney Dance Company.
Amity holds a double Bachelor degree in Law and Arts with Honours from The University of Melbourne. She is committed to artistic and cultural expression in Australia and loves all forms of dance.
Helen Haines is the Director and founder of Dollars + Sense Consulting, a boutique bookkeeping company based in Cremorne. Helen is passionate about seeing small businesses succeed and takes a holistic approach to their business but getting to know why they do what they do, not just the what or how. Helen has a range of financial experience in compliance, small business advisory and operational administration. She helps businesses grow, thrive and achieve their goals every day.
In January 2018, her little girl, Francesca, arrived and outside of work family time is her favourite thing! Between her and her husband they are changing the stereotypical family roles and living the concept of work-life rhythm. She is passionate about the arts and being a part of the Ausdance community.
Amy Jennings is Senior Legal Counsel for the IRONMAN Group in Australia and New Zealand, the largest operator of mass participation sporting events in the world. Throughout her legal career, Amy has worked with a number of not-for-profit sporting organisations, including Tennis Australia and Football Federation Australia, and after starting out in the Sydney office of Herbert Smith Freehills.
In addition to her legal qualifications, Amy holds a Bachelor of Communication from the University of Newcastle and a Master of Arts (Broadcast Journalism) from University College Falmouth, having worked as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, ABC and Austereo. Prior to her time in television and radio, Amy also worked as a freelance photographer and writer for Dancetrain Magazine.
Growing up in Newcastle, NSW, Amy is passionate about dance and the opportunities and sense of community it can provide for people in regional areas – young and old.
Kelly Dickson has held a variety of roles in the cultural, government and sports sectors over a 25-year career, including marketing, communications, commercial, public affairs, stakeholder engagement, strategy and producing. As the Chief Operating Officer for the Victorian Major Events Company, she was Founder and Project Director for White Night Melbourne (2013-2016) and White Night Ballarat, in addition to leading bid teams for a range of cultural and sporting events.
Kelly currently provides consultancy services in strategy, major event creation and delivery, to host governments and councils, tourism organisations, venues and event organisers, both in Australia and internationally.
Alison is a performing artist and marketing and communications professional. Her career spans work in Marketing Communications and Development within the Arts and Culture industry, Grant Writing for independent artists through to large established organisations, Performance and Teaching. Alison is a qualified ballet teacher and trained opera singer performing in chamber music and opera events in Australia.
Shweta is an Integrated Communications Specialist with over 15 years of experience in Indonesia, Australia and India across a range of industries including Lifestyle (Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, Levi’s Indonesia), Education (Australian International School, Indonesia), Arts and Culture (Tasmanian Regional Arts, Interweave Arts Tasmania), Not for Profit (Help for Refugees, Jakarta) and Film and Television (MTV, Channel V, Indian Film Industry). She has recently moved back to Melbourne after spending 7 years in Indonesia.
Shweta has a post graduate degree in marketing and a Graduate Certificate in Cinema Studies from the University of Melbourne. She is a passionate Human Rights Advocate and is on the Board for a learning centre for Refugees in Jakarta.
Jess has extensive experience in the education and entertainment industries, primarily in live performance. She has worked on large scale events for Opera Australia such as the Sydney Opera House New Year’s Eve Gala, Mazda Opera in the Bowl, Mazda Opera in the Domain, and Anthony Pratt and OA’s Opera for the People. Recently she worked with young performers on mainstage productions for The Australian Ballet, and GWB Entertainment’s production of School of Rock touring throughout Australia, China and New Zealand.
Jess is inspired by working collaboratively with artists to create new and innovative artistic products while developing the skills of individual artists. She enjoys working with young creatives and believes in the importance of encouraging and supporting the creative arts in education. She has a Bachelor of Creative Arts from Melbourne University and is currently studying for a Master of Arts and Cultural Management with Deakin University.
Cathy Smith is an experienced teacher with a Master in Education, Licentiate in Cecchetti Classical Ballet, Licentiate with SFD and is an Affiliate with ATOD. She is also a certified teacher of Progressing Ballet Technique.
Cathy taught in secondary schools for decade and was the Head of Performing Arts at Beaconhills College and Yarra Valley Grammar School, teaching Dance, Drama and English to VCE and working as an assessor for the Board of Studies. For the past 28 years Cathy has run her own dance and performing arts studio, Cathy-Lea Dance Works, in Narre Warren. She has also worked in primary, secondary and special schools as a Dance and performing arts teacher.
She is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Communications at Deakin University and looks forward to utilising her new skills with the many stakeholders in the VET Dance program. She also looks forward to helping support dance studios and the wider Dance community in her role at Ausdance.
Dr Katrina Rank is a leading Australian educator and dance artist, contributing to national and international movement education outcomes. A ballet and contemporary dancer by training, Katrina maintains a performance and teaching practice and received an Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education in 2018.
Katrina has worked in various roles for Ausdance since 2008 including acting Director, Education Manager and consultant. She is currently Director of Education and Lifelong Learning. Katrina was the author and project leader of Teaching and Leading Dance to Older People, a research program and report which has been distributed widely. Her extensive background in education and community arts also saw her work on the Knowing You Knowing me Project with the City of Whittlesea in 2017–2018 and the hugely successful Alice Project. The Alice Project was a community dance initiative that reached across four regional Victorian municipalities and more than 15,000 participants over two years, as part of the VicHealth MOTION program.
Her recent dance focus has been on dance for health, with particular reference to ageing and Parkinson’s disease. In 2013, Katrina initiated Fine Lines, intergenerational dance and projects. Fine Lines began with contemporary dance classes for experienced mature dancers.
Robbie is a passionate advocate for the ongoing development of Australia’s dance, arts and entertainment industries with an ardent focus on progressing diversity and equality within the sectors.
Robbie’s extensive portfolio of experience within the arts industry includes being a producer with Opera Australia overseeing the delivery of key commercial events such as the Sydney Opera House New Years Eve Gala and associated events, Mazda Opera in the Bowl, Mazda Opera in the Domain, Anthony Pratt and OA’s Opera for the People and the return season of West Side Story. A further thirty commercial production credits can be attributed to his time as Executive Producer and Director of Operations with StageArt Australia, with highlights being the Australasian premiere of The Color Purple the Musical, Memphis the Musical, Dreamgirls, In The Heights and the Victorian premiere of Spring Awakening.
Robbie’s enthusiasm for the industry has grown from his beginnings as a dancer which saw him become an Australian and International champion in Latin American Dancesport.
Michelle Silby has an extensive career in dance in both creative and administrative functions. She is the Executive Director of both Ausdance NSW and Ausdance Vic. This dual role leads the teams, through strategy, operational efficiencies and large-scale outcomes; the Director of Big Dance Australia (2014-), and the was the Co-convener of the Arts Industry Council Victoria (2017-2019). Currently Michelle sits on the following Industry and government committee’s; ACFIBS for NSW, Industry Advisory Group, Victorian Skills Commission (VIC), Independent Reference Committee, Arts & Culture related Industries, Vice Chair (National training and professional development) Previously Chair, Regional Arts NSW funding 2014-17, Several Arts NSW funding panels, Churchill Fellowship 2013-16.
Over the last 25 years, Michelle has worked across a variety of contexts as a dance performer, teacher, choreographer, educator and management roles: as a director, festival director, company manager and education consultant in the UK, Europe, and the last 14 years, in Australia. After successfully leading Ausdance NSW since Oct 2012, she was appointed Executive Director, Ausdance VIC in Nov 2015. She is inspired by the opportunities that leading both states will bring to the dance sector, wider communities and respective organisations. She has held roles as the Program Manager, Dance at the Australia Council for the Arts, where her responsibilities included; working with the board, policy and strategy, dance funding programs, key dance initiatives, such as Tasmanian Community Dance Project and Young Emerging opportunities for example, JUMP (2010-2012), Executive Producer for the 2014 Australian Dance Awards and is also an Independent Consultant for Arts and Dance with various clients across Australia.
As an arts leader, she is strategic, entrepreneurial and generous with her time and support of others. Michelle was born in the UK, where she studied dance at Arts Educational Schools London, followed by a post-graduate year at London Contemporary Dance School, The Place in 1992. Later in 2000-1, after moving into management and leadership roles, she undertook an intensive arts and business management course for arts leaders and was most recently awarded a subsidised place to attend short course in Australia for not-for-profit leaders by Harvard Business school.
During her 15 year professional dance career in the UK and Europe, Michelle worked across a variety of contexts as performer, touring Europe for over a decade, educator, choreographer, director, festival director, company manager and consultant. A particular highlight of her career in the UK included making a significant contribution to the dance infrastructure for the North East of England, through the formulation and delivery of a dance development plan with secured funding.