It was a cold night in Canberra but there was plenty of warmth inside the Playhouse Theatre,where the Australian Dance Awards were held last night. The annual celebration of dance and dancers played before a large audience and much excitement, congratulations and good will.
Sydney Dance Company figured prominently in the awards. Artistic director Rafael Bonachela won Most Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, the ensemble won Most Outstanding Performance by a Company and dancer Charmene Yap won Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer. All were for 2 One Another. A thrilled Bonachela dedicated both his awards to the dancers, saying that 2 One Another was inspired by them and their “emotional and physical giving”, both individually and as a group.
The award for Most Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer went to Kimball Wong, for his performances in Australian Dance Theatre’s Proximity, and “his extraodinary power, elevation and fluidity and for his accomplished, stunning dancing that often seems to defy science”.
The winner of the Lifetime Achievement award, Ronne Arnold, seems to have no less energy than when he came to Australia from the US in 1960 to appear in a US production of West Side Story. In his long time in Australia he founded the pioneering Australian Contemporary Dance Company (1967 to 72), was Academic Course Director at the NAISDA College from 1986 to 2003 and has completed an MA researching Indigenous dance.
Dr Alan Brissenden AM was ushered into the Hall of Fame. He used an amusing and nostalgic speech to lament the lack of funding for companies to tour within Australia. Brissenden has spent a lifetime writing about dance.
The award presentation included performances in a variety of dance styles, from the Swan Lake Act 2 pas de deux, performed by the WA Ballet’s Brooke Widdison-Jacobs and Matthew Lehmann, to the comic hip hop group, Phly Crew.
The full list of awards is below.
Outstanding Achievement in Youth or Community Dance
Tracks for Eight to Eighty
Services to Dance Education
Outstanding Achievement in Choreography
Rafael Bonachela for 2 One Another (Sydney Dance Company)
Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film or New Media
Sue Healey for Virtuosi
Outstanding Performance in Commercial Dance or Musical Theatre
The Company for Tap Dogs
Services to Dance
Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance
Antony Hamilton for Black Project 1
Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer
Charmene Yap for 2 One Another (Sydney Dance Company)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer
Kimball Wong for Proximity (Australian Dance Theatre)
Outstanding Performance by a Company
Sydney Dance Company for 2 One Another
Lifetime Achievement Award
For more information about the Lifetime Achievement Award click here.
Tap Dogs, Photo Remco Jansen.
Black Project 1 by Antony Hamilton. Photo: Ponche Hawkes.