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Keir Choreographic Award

'Hold me closer Tony Danza' (KCA 2020), The Farm. Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse.
‘Hold me closer Tony Danza’ (KCA 2020), The Farm. Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse.

The fifth Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) is scheduled for 23 June — 3 July 2022 in Melbourne, Sydney and online.

An innovative commissioning partnership between Dancehouse, The Keir Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts, with presenting partner Carriageworks, the KCA is a prestigious biennial program showcasing new, choreographic short works by eight Australian artists.

In 2022, the KCA will unfold with all eight works presented across two weeks at both Dancehouse, Melbourne, and Carriageworks, Sydney. The full KCA program will also be recorded in-season and made available digitally On Demand Australia-wide on Sunday 3 July in line with the presentation of the KCA prizes: a $50,000 cash prize awarded by the KCA Jury, and a $10,000 audience choice award.

The KCA is a premiere event for the Australian dance scene. It is an extraordinary fully paid opportunity for eight independent Australian artists to share works with audiences and an esteemed jury of dance luminaries.

Applications for the 2022 KCA are now closed.

All entrants will be notified in late January with the announcement of KCA commissioned works in early February.


View previous Keir Choreographic Award programs

Watch the full Keir Choreographic Award Semi-Finals 2016—2020

About Dancehouse

Dancehouse is the centre for independent dance in Melbourne. Through its programs of residencies, performance, training and research, Dancehouse is a space for developing challenging, invigorating, and socially engaged moving art. Dancehouse is also a hub of knowledge and resources, a presenter of outstanding programs targeting multiple communities and a fierce advocate for the vibrancy and literacy of the Australian independent dance sector.

What is the Keir Choreographic Award?

Choreographic Art in the 21st Century is an increasingly expanded and international field, incorporating a multiplicity of practices and production modes, and a diversity of aesthetic, philosophical and social perspectives. A visionary public-private partnership between the Keir Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts, KCA was launched in 2014 as Australia’s only cash award for choreography. The Award looks to identify and illuminate the most urgent and experimental choreographic practices occurring in the Australian context today.

The Award has fast become the largest generator of new choreographic works in Australia and offers rare fully-funded opportunities to develop and present new work – often resulting in further commissioning and touring, both nationally and internationally.  The previous Keir Choreographic Award recipients are Melbourne-based artist Atlanta Eke, 2014; Sydney-based Torres Strait Islander choreographer and performer, Ghenoa Gela, 2016; Javanese-Australian choreographer and performer, Melanie Lane, 2018; and Sydney based dancer and choreographer Angela Goh 2020.

The Dancehouse KCA Public Program

Each edition, Dancehouse’s Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) Public Program accompanies the KCA performance season and is an integral part of this initiative and of Dancehouse’s ongoing commitment to promote dialogue, reflection, accessibility and criticality for the art form, its makers and its audiences. It aims to cross-pollinate an array of outstanding thinkers and practitioners from the dance field and other communities of thought in order to provide a unique context in which to consider the deep, subtle ways that dance, with its multiplicity of choreographed and embodied manifestations, connects to the social, the ethical, the political and as importantly, to our most inner selves.

It has featured performance seasons, panel discussions, book launches, workshops and masterclasses. 

The Keir Choreographic Award Jury

The Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) is a national biennial award dedicated to the commission, presentation, promotion and dissemination of new Australian choreography. KCA invites a national and international jury to commission 8 artists. The Jury select the eight new commissions for presentation at Dancehouse in Melbourne, Carriageworks in Sydney and online — finally awarding one artist and work the $50k cash prize.

The Dancehouse KCA Delegates Program

For both the 2020 and 2018 editions, Dancehouse invited international colleagues — presenters, producers and sister organisations — to attend the Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) and seed relationships with local artists and organisations. They included: 

Riitta Arniokoski (GER/AUS); Laurie Uprichard (USA); Nimmy Raphael (IN); Jim Handley (UK); Nicole Mion (CA); Bernard Baumgarten(LU); Matthew Lyons (USA); Marie-Andree Goujon (CA); Daniel Favier (FR); Brian Rogers (USA); Helly Minarti (ID); Claudia Morgana (ES); Michael Caldwell (CA); Pascale Joubert (CA) and Karen Kitchen (USA).

Roberto Cassarotto (IT), Karen Cheung (CHN), Daniel Favier (FR), Stephane Labbe (CA), Mojca Jug (SL), Ritsuko Mizuno (JP), Jaychandra Palahzy (IN), Paul Russ (UK), Laurie Uprichard (USA)

2020 Keir Choreographic Award

2020 Jury
Claudia L Rocco (USA)
Mette Edvardsen (NO)
Serge Laurent (FR)
Takao Kawaguchi (JP)

2020 Awards
Award Winner: Angela Goh
People’s Choice Award Winner: Amrita Hepi

2020 Works and Artists
Delimit – Alison Currie (SA) & David Cross (VIC)
Rinse – Amrita Hepi (VIC)
Lien – Lewis Major (SA)
Peril – Zachary Lopez (NSW)
That’s Her Name – Jo Lloyd (VIC)
Hold Me Closer Tony Danza – The Farm (QLD)
Very Excellent Disabled Dancing – Riana Head-Toussaint (NSW)

2018 Keir Choreographic Award

2018 Jury
Anna Cy Chan (HK)
Lucy Guerin (AUS)
Ishmael Houston Jones (USA)
Eszter Salamon (BE/FR)
Christophe Slagmuylder (BE)
Meg Stuart (GE/BE)

2018 Awards
Award Winner: Melanie Lane
People’s Choice Award Winner: Amrita Hepi

2018 Works and Artists
Yoni – Prue Lang (VIC)
The Wetness – Bhenji Ra (NSW)
Stop-Go – Branch Nebula (NSW)
Post Reality Vision – Nana Biluš Abaffy (NSW)
A Caltex Spectrum – Amrita Hepi (NSW)
Memoirs for Rivers and the Dictator – Lilian Steiner (VIC)
Public Action – Luke George (VIC)
Personal Effigies – Melanie Lane (VIC)

2016 Keir Choreographic Award

2016 Jury
Bojana Cvejić (BE)
Pierre Bal-Blanc (FR)
Sarah Michelson (USA)
Wendy Martin (AU)
Phillip Keir (AU)
Atlanta Eke (AU)

2016 Awards
Award Winner: Ghenoa Gela
People’s Choice Award Winner: Ghenoa Gela

2016 Works and Artists
Deep Shine – Chloe Chignell (VIC)
If It’s All in My Veins – Martin Hansen (VIC)
Tools For Personal Expansion – Sarah Aiken (VIC)
Before the Fact – Alice Heyward (VIC)
Explorer – Rebecca Jensen (VIC)
Inhabited Geometries – James Batchelor (VIC)
Fragments of Malungoka – Ghenoa Gela (NSW)
one and one and one – Paea Leach (NSW)

2014 Keir Choreographic Award

2014 Jury
Mårten Spångberg (SE)
Matthew Lyons (USA)
Josephine Ridge (AUS)
Becky Hilton (AUS)
Phillip Keir (AUS)

2016 Awards
Award Winner: Atlanta Eke

2014 Works and Artists
Three short dances – Sarah Aiken (VIC)
Escape to the Infinite – James Batchelor (VIC)
Entitled TITLE – Tim Darbyshire (VIC)
Rites – Matthew Day (VIC)
Body of work – Atlanta Eke (VIC)
Dead Flag Blues – Shaun Gladwell (NSW)
Mass movement – Jane McKernan (NSW)
TEARAWAY Part One: The Crater of Motor Power – Brooke Stamp (VIC).

Keir Choreographic Award Partners

The Keir Foundation
Established by Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin the Foundation’s purpose is to foster innovation and excellence in the arts, particularly among new and emerging practitioners. The Keir Foundation has previously worked in commissioning dance projects and this choreographic award emerged from an ongoing involvement with the dance community both nationally and internationally. www.keirfoundation.org

The Australia Council for the Arts
The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government’s principal arts funding and advisory body. The Australia Council invests in artistic excellence through support for all facets of the creative process, and is committed to the arts being more accessible to all Australians. http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/

Carriageworks (presenting partner)
Carriageworks is the largest and most significant contemporary multi-arts centre of its kind in Australia. The Carriageworks Artistic Program provides significant support to Australian and international artists through commissioning and presenting contemporary work. Reflecting the diverse communities of urban Sydney, the Artistic Program is ambitious and inclusive. www.carriageworks.com.au

The Keir Choreographic Award is a partnership between Dancehouse, The Keir Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts, with presenting partner Carriageworks.

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