• All In development image. Photo credit Anya McKee - Dance Makers Collective
    All In development image. Photo credit Anya McKee - Dance Makers Collective

Dance Makers Collective (DMC) is a collective-led dance organisation based in Western Sydney and a vital source of support for the independent dance sector in NSW. It was founded in 2012 when a group of ten independent dance makers in Sydney gathered to create new work in an environment where local opportunities to do so were slim. Over a few pizzas and some wine, its founding members pitched ideas for short works to each other, and conceived of a program called Big Dance in Small Chunks – ten artists, ten works, ten minutes each. This inaugural program was presented by FORM Dance Projects in Parramatta 2013 and they have recently celebrated some big wins including their 10th anniversary in 2023 and the announcement of 4 Year Funding from Creative Australia, 2025-28, at $250,000 per annum. DMC were also successful in securing $100,000 from Creative Australia for their 2024 program.

DADS - DMC. Carl Sciberras is 2nd from left. Photo Heidrun Lohr

DADS - DMC. Carl Sciberras is 2nd from left. Photo Heidrun Lohr

Over 10 years there have understandably been a few changes as DMC has developed and expanded beyond its original remit of facilitating the production of new works by independent artists. However, about half of the original ten founding members still remain with all those connected to Western Sydney still on board. Since 2021 Dance Makers Collective have had their own rehearsal, performance and community arts space in Seven Hills called LOT7. This space has allowed DMC to sustain a wider community and ecology of dance around them, supporting a wide range of programs including classes for seniors and school aged children alongside professional classes for contemporary dancers, recent graduate training intensives and a 9-week skills development program. They also have a youth company called Future Makers for emerging dance artists aged 18+ years which has been operating since 2019.

One of the original founding members of DMC and its current General Manager, Carl Sciberras, has been a driving force behind its success and is passionate about making dance more accessible and relatable to increasing numbers of people, saying, “Everyone can like dance… they just need the right introduction.”

He sees DMC’s recent funding success as an acknowledgement of what they’ve been able to achieve so far – doing a lot with relatively few resources but describes DMC as being, “politically engaged, and good at advocating for ourselves in a tough environment.” At the same time, he acknowledges the application process is labour intensive and knows how fortunate DMC was to be granted 4 Year Funding by Creative Australia.

“This funding is an incredible privilege. We know first-hand how hard it is to secure and sustain this level of government funding. There were a total of ten 4 Year Funded Dance companies in Australia, and we are the only one in NSW. We want to sincerely extend our disappointment that many of our peers in NSW, who also punch way above their weight, were not successful. We know that the sector nationally, but most acutely locally, will be looking to us to deliver, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

DADS. Photo credit Dominic O'Donnell

DADS. Photo credit Dominic O'Donnell

DMC is currently in development for a new work set to debut in Sydney sometime next year called All In. This collaborative new work is planned to have a cast of 9 dancers who will engage with and be supported by four other dance groups from Western Sydney in its premiere Sydney season (Jannawi Dance Clan, Agal Dance Company, Pepa Molina’s Flamenco Ensemble Las Flamenkas, and Riddim Nation) in a show that explores dance as a cross-cultural and universal bridge. In retrospect, All In can be viewed as the third part in a trilogy of major works that has so far included DADS and Rivoli. Like DADS and Rivoli, All In will embed local community in the show, and it is hoped that a subsequent regional tour of All In will use local regional dance groups to make it more relevant to local audiences. Carl says,

“I want to show regional venues that dance is something they can and should program. Some of the most successful work DMC has produced includes strong relationships with ordinary people where everyone is a dancer and other types of movers are celebrated for what they bring to the show.”

One thing’s for certain, Dance Makers Collective is on the up. Keep an eye out for further information about the 2025 Sydney premiere of All In.

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