Welcome to Dancehouse,
Dancehouse is Australia's premier centre for independent dance. We are a site for developing challenging, invigorating and socially engaged moving art. Our role is threefold: to advance independent dance artists, to build dance audiences, and to develop the art form itself. Our programs generate a kaleidoscope of opportunities and sit at a confluence of circulations: of makers, ideas, spaces, contexts, publics, disciplines and territories.
FROM MONTREAL TO MELBOURNE
Currently in Montreal for the Trans Ameriques Festival, I had the pleasure of being part of a great networking session organised by Studio 303. Six presenters sat at a table for three hours with the artists who were free to contribute. No one pitched anything; rather, we discussed and compared the joys and struggles of making and supporting art in general. The Montreal dance community is very similar in size and, surprisingly enough, in their aesthetics and politics, to Melbourne. There is the same diversity and vibrancy of independent artists, the same confidence in and expectations placed on larger companies, a similar landscape of festivals and organisations (slightly more specialised in dance) and the same hurdles for touring or remounting work.
And yet, while chatting about funding opportunities, commissioning budgets and other complexities linked to creating and presenting dance, I could not help feel the breeze of optimism and positive energy that these artists exuded now that the Trudeau government has considerably increased funding for the arts. And we could not help but reminisce about how devastating the Harper arts cuts were back in 2008. Regardless of how immensely detrimental and irreversible the long-term effects of these cuts have been, Harper managed to justify the cuts by claiming that 'ordinary people didn't care about arts.' Like in life, some things really arrive too late. The great news of these recent announcements cannot replace the artists who, back then, got exhausted and opted out. Canada lost some great talent then.
As we have, today, opened the call out for our Housemate artist-in-residency commissioning program – which from 2017 onwards can offer so much more than before – I cannot help but compare the Harper cuts to the Brandis debacle. As such, I now realise how urgent, vital and indispensable it has become to be able to support the creation and presentation of new work (by independent artists); how much we have to continue the support, to not let go, so that vibrancy is nourished and talent is preserved.
~ Angela Conquet