2020 Australian Dance Awards Winners

The Australian Dance Awards were presented online on Tuesday 8 December, acknowledging achievements across 2018 and 2019 in 12 categories.

They celebrate the rich diversity and uniqueness of dance in Australia with national companies, performers and collaborating artists, dedicated studio, school and tertiary teachers, regional and remote artists, independents, youth and community dance groups.

The 2020 Australian Dance Award Winners are:

  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMUNITY DANCE
    Tracks Dance for In Your Blood, a joyous and exceptionally realised dance work performed in the Darwin Botanic Gardens as an exquisite celebration of tradition, family and the collective.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMUNITY DANCE
    Fine Lines for The Right, an intergenerational mature dance collective that presented a serious work about sacrifice for the greater good, explored through the lens of contemporary politics.
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUTH DANCE
    FLING Physical Theatre for Body & Environment, an ambitious and surprising new work showcasing a high level of performance skills in this group of young artists, demonstrating a sense of confidence and maturity.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUTH DANCE
    QL2 Dance for Filling the Space, an exceptionally mature performance that explored dimensions of space and its potent significance to the world of dance – physically, emotionally, and architecturally.
  • 2018 AWARD FOR SERVICES TO DANCE EDUCATION
    Karen Malek for her inspirational work as a dance teacher for over 40 years, and as the President of the Australian Teachers of Dancing as a pivotal figure in dance education in Australia.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR SERVICES TO DANCE EDUCATION
    Sue Fox for her role as co-writer of state and national arts curriculum documents, including The Australian Curriculum: The Arts, as a founder of the Ausdance Educators Queensland group, and as a key member of the National Advocates for Arts Education.
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHOREOGRAPHY
    Narelle Benjamin & Paul White for Cella, a defining and moving work in a stunning meditation on the wonders of the human body.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHOREOGRAPHY
    Garry Stewart for South, a theatrical work that evokes Mawson’s tragic Antarctic expedition of 1912 performed by nine dancers with Stewart’s virtuosic movement
  • 2018 AWARD FOR SERVICES TO DANCE
    Valerie Lawson for her work as a Walkley Award-winning journalist who has devoted much of her life advocating for, and writing about, dance in Australia.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR SERVICES TO DANCE
    Philippe Charluet for over 30 years of filming Australian dance productions from some of the country’s most outstanding companies and choreographers, in particular for his documentation of the work of Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon in his Heritage Collection.
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE ON FILM OR NEW MEDIA – RIPE Dance for In a Different Space, an inspirational dance film combining beauty, humour, serenity, and cheekiness in equal measure.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE ON FILM OR NEW MEDIA
    Samaya Wives for Oten, a film that speaks to an integral facet of human nature: our imperfections, yet the slow cadence and dreamy expressiveness of the text provide a moment of stillness, a chance to see the beauty in these so-called ‘flaws.’
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIAL DANCE, MUSICALS, OR PHYSICAL THEATRE: The Farm for The Tide, a work that explores the impact of climate change with two outstanding performers, Gavin Webber and Joshua Thomson, transforming a tough reality into a place of optimism and compassion.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIAL DANCE, MUSICALS, OR PHYSICAL THEATRE
    STRUT Dance for SUNSET, a major commissioned event that took audiences on a magical and haunting journey through one of Perth’s heritage listed buildings.
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INDEPENDENT DANCE
    Vicki Van Hout for plenty serious TALK TALK, a work that explores the consultative process in Indigenous art making, inviting the audience to appreciate the full complexity of negotiating culture across disciplines, genres, and eras.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INDEPENDENT DANCE
    Laura Boynes for Wonder Woman, a work that draws attention to the potent presence of a solo female dancer whose less visible strengths and powers are celebrated in a staging of the ‘severalness’ of femininity.
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE DANCER
    Narelle Benjamin for Cella, an extraordinarily moving and physically demanding performance with Paul White, in an exploration of how the human body can transform and evolve in the imagination.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE DANCER
    Marlo Benjamin for Skeleton Tree with Stephanie Lake Co., for a performance that was powerful and heartfelt with a rare combination of incredible technical prowess and a depth of feeling, strength and bravery.
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE DANCER
    Kimball Wong for The Beginning of Nature with Australian Dance Theatre, for a brilliant demonstration of his innate ability to combine strength and technique with rich artistry and emotion in this symphony of overlapping rhythms of nature and life.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE DANCER
    Tyrel Dulvarie for 30 years of 65,000 by Bangarra Dance Theatre, in an outstanding performance celebrating Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary, especially for his transfixing dancing in Unaipon, the opening work on this triple bill program. 
  • 2018 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A COMPANY
    Australian Dance Theatre for The Beginning of Nature, a work full of intense theatricality, danced to an evocative score by Brendan Woithe, and with exceptional Indigenous references to the Kaurna language of the Adelaide Plains.
  • 2019 AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A COMPANY
    Bangarra Dance Theatre for 30 Years of 65,000, a work that celebrated the company’s 30th birthday, immersing itself in magical choreography and the formidable challenge of Jiri Kylian’s Stamping Ground in this unique homage to Indigenous culture.

Picture: Filling the Space by Lorna Sim