Regional Dance

Managed in conjunction with Country Arts WA, May we have this dance? is our current regional program offering contemporary dance and performance opportunities in the Peel, Great Southern and Esperance Goldfields Regions.

May we have this dance?


As the peak body for advocacy, promotion, participation and education for dance in WA, Ausdance WA has supported the delivery of regional projects in each of the partnership communities. Encompassing elements of community cohesion, audience development, community performance, community engagement, networking and artistic development this ground-breaking project,  works to address the needs of individual communities. 

Individually tailored programs have been devised by Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (Peel Region), Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council (Esperance Goldfields Region) and independent artists Annette Carmichael and Symantha Parr (Great Southern Region) to address the varied needs within their communities.

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre will continue its vision of developing an understanding of professional contemporary dance practice in a regional setting and will engage, support and develop indigenous dance groups in the Peel Region.

Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council will host a series of professional dance residencies in the five towns surrounding Ravensthorpe to support and upskill local artists and youth, and to deliver performance and engagement opportunities.

Annette Carmichael and Symantha Parr will work in partnership to explore and develop an artistic collective and to address the challenges of access to space and access to professional dancers for experimental and developmental dance practice in a regional setting.

Co-creation and scoping for this program was coordinated by Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council, with sustainability of dance practice in all participating regions kept at the forefront.

Esperance Goldfields Region

The project for the Esperance Goldfields Region is co-ordinated by Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council (RRAC). Kirsty Duffy is the coordinator at Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council and writes about her experience co-ordinating the cluster in this post.

Read about Kirsty’s experience here.

The RRAC Dance program places an experienced Dance Artist into the region to teach dance classes to the youth and to mentor local community members to teach. The model is designed around the notion that a resource may be shared amongst a remote hub of towns during a set residency, increasing liveability, whilst leaving a sustainable footprint of learned knowledge and skills.

The most recent placement occurred from October – December in 2018 and was the third of five residencies to be facilitated across the two-year Regional Arts Partnership Program. The Dance Artist in residence, Talitha Maslin, taught a schedule of dance classes across four towns. She is the third dance artist to participate. Mentees in Hopetoun and Lake King worked with Talitha to learn dance teaching knowledge and skills as part of the ongoing dance mentorship included in this program. Talitha has continued her placement in the community through to 2019 and will finish the residency in July.

The Schools participating the program are :

– Munglinup Primary
– Lake King
– Jerramungup
– Ravensthorpe

The Great Southern Region

The regional program implemented in the Great Southern Region is divided into two phases. 

Phase#1 is an artist residency program that will look at the processes that support an equality of hierarchy between community performers and professional performers. The residency will deliver a range of workshop experiences to the local community culminating in a showing at the end of the four weeks (Object as Metaphor and ChoreoLab 2018).

Phase#2 is a performance project engaging with the dance and artisan community. The performance culminates in an outdoor Albany site celebrating the history of wool and textile making in Albany. Wool artisans will be involved in costuming and art installation as part of the performance (Presence of Wool).

Object as Metaphor

Explored the use of objects and their influence on how we create meaning in live performance. The week focused on the creation of metaphor and examined the use of objects as a tool of choreographic potential. The week asked participants to create multiple small works in relation to audience, unpacking how our creative works are perceived and understood. It was facilitated by Dr. Clare Dyson and culminated in a showing of works in the Albany Entertainment Centre’s Kalyenup Studio to approximately 40 people.


ChoreoLab 2018

The ChoreoLab 2018 was held from the 24th – 28th May 2018 in Denmark. 

The five-day intensive residency bought together thirteen dance makers from the Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance Regions, as well as metropolitan Perth based dance artists.

The Lab was developed in response to needs expressed by regionally based dance artists for access to professional learning opportunities to inform and develop their dance, movement, teaching and choreographic practices.

The Presence of Wool

Symantha Parr leads the development and creation of The Presence of Wool, a community dance collaboration.

The Presence of Wool involved three professional dancers for a three-week rehearsal period. Community engagement with young dancers and wool artists ran prior over a six month period, creating movement plus costuming and a wool installation.

Inspired by the old Albany Woollen Mill, the presences and ghosts of the past, dancers performed to the innovative music of local sound artist James Gentle.  Local and historical textiles created by wool artisans entwined the dancers and adorned the site.

The project culminated in a performance during  Albany Arts Festival on the 12th and 13th of April 2019. Read the review of the performance by Seesaw Mag.

*Image Credit: Bob Symons


Peel Region

One of the aims of the Peel Region project is to deliver a community engagement program with a clear audience development outcome. Encouraging new and existing artists and audiences to take in more dance performances, engage in more challenging dance practice and develop a greater understanding of the medium.  

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (MANPAC) has engaged a Contemporary Dance Program Co-ordinator, Bernadette Lewis, to deliver and facilitate contemporary dance in the community.

In her time at MANPAC Bernadette has delivered several community engagement programs which will continue until March 2020. These have included Q&A’s and rehearsal showings with Touring Performances, MOORINGS Dance Residencies and collaboration with local Indigenous dance group, Bibbulmun Koorda Ngoons.

In 2018, three MOORINGS Dance Residencies took place with professional placements given to

Bernadette Lewis (WA) with Heloise Lorimer (WA), Lee-Anne Litton (NSW) and Sarah Chaffey (WA). Each of the projects spent one week in the dance studio researching and developing their respective projects and offered at least two community engagement opportunities.

MANPAC has partnered with Propel Youth Arts to present Hidden Movements, a mentored performance program for young, emerging and established dance artists across Perth and Mandurah. The program had its first iteration at Propel’s 2018 KickstART Festival to great success and so it will return again in 2019 with a season of three performances at both The State Theatre Centre of WA and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. In Perth the program will again be part of the KickstART Festival in mid April and in Mandurah as part of our inaugural youth festival, You Are, in early May.

Both Perth and Mandurah programs will be mentored by Bernadette Lewis with three professional independent artists as co-mentors and performers for the Mandurah program. A call out for applications will be released February 4, closing March 4. Perth’s program will select five emerging dance artists aged 18 – 26 and Mandurah will select five young emerging dance artists aged 15 – 26.


Bernadette is also working with the Indigenous Dance Group, Bibbulmun Koorda Ngoons. 

Guy Boyce, Artistic Director and CEO of MANPAC, has been in conversation with key community figures and Bindjareb elders to devise a strategy for the group that will enable them to have consistent guidance in their social and cultural behavioural protocols. In 2018 the group performed at the Patrons and Young Ambassadors Launch. They devised a fusion piece of traditional, contemporary, break dance and hip hop styles that clearly indicates their talent and passion for developing a unique brand of Bindjareb contemporary dance.

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Mosman Park WA 6012

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