Garry's cover image

Garry Stewart

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: South Australia Arts - Performing > Dance
To study the structure and function of choreographic centres in various international locations - India, France, Netherlands, UK, USA, Canada


All of the centres I visited are doing extraordinary work, at times beyond the threshold of their financial means. Hearing the stories of how these centres were founded it became clear to me that the most important thing is to simply begin. Take the first step with what you have. From Bangalore to New York to Montreal to Edinburgh - these situations all started with next to nothing, apart from a need that was felt, recognised and acted upon. Yet over the decades they have manifested layers of artistic and programmatic complexity along with requisite funding support and have become successful organisations serving a phenomenally vast range of artists and community members.

What I found extraordinary is the sheer breadth and scale of some of these programmes which is truly awe-inspiring. What also struck me is the level of creativity and ingenuity in the programming. At ICK Amsterdam which is profoundly invested into academic research and the documentation of dance, to Dance Base in Edinburgh which is on a wholehearted mission to provide a dance experience to as many members of the community as possible – there was so much to absorb and reflect upon among all of these centres.

At Australian Dance Theatre we have our own specific needs in relation to our own community and company. But one thing that resounded very clearly from many of these organisations is that the programme of a choreographic centre is an answer to a series of needs emanating from the artists it serves. So in the very first instance it will be the artists within our community who I will be calling on to help define our programme and the initiatives we establish. It is their needs that we are serving through our International Centre for Choreography.


One: As I have mentioned above, many of the choreographic centres I visited attested to the imperative need to consult artists to see what it is that they want. The programme should be determined around what need there is from within the community. Of course this doesn’t apply to every aspect of the programme but certainly key elements of it. I will call a meeting with the Adelaide dance sector and report on my Churchill project and from there facilitate an open discussion about future directions and initiatives drawn from the members of the sector.

Two: To follow up on this discussion and in order to enter into a more detailed and forensic enquiry into what the community require, I will work with our Marketing Manager and other management staff to draft a formal survey in order to ascertain the needs of the various Adelaide dance communities. This will be conducted as an anonymous survey but will include questions on demographics and experience in relation to dance.

Three: Furnish the appropriate government departments with the report along with the feedback from the survey. Utilise the report in applying for funding for the ADT International Centre for Choreography. In particular; Arts South Australia, the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Australia Council, the SA Minister for the Arts (Premier Steven Marshall), the Arts Industry Council of South Australia.

Four: Contact the international choreographic centres visited with follow up discussions. Explore the possibility of future collaborations and the means with which to enable this via funding and other means of support. Identify which initiatives from these centres might work at the ADT ICC. Make contact with these centres to discuss how we might proceed with enacting a number of these initiatives at Australian Dance Theatre.

Five: Brief the existing Australian choreographic centres on my Churchill project experience and finds. Explore how we might work together and share artists/programmes/initiatives.

Six: Disseminate the report through various means:
- Australian Dance Theatre website
- Create a media release - organise interviews with industry media outlets
- Give verbal presentations at various ADT company events and within other arts-based forums
- Submit to Ausdance National – the peak body advocating for the Australian dance sector
- Share with other related industry organisations.

Keywords: Choreography, dance, Adelaide dance, Australian Dance Theatre, choreographic centre, Garry Stewart, choreographic research

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