The Australian Dance Awards promote the art form, raise the profile of Australian artists and celebrate excellence.
Usually presented in an evening of performances showcasing some of Australia's best dance of the past year, the Awards recognise the diversity of professionals in the dance industry whose achievements raise the standards, profile and prestige of dance in Australia.
Initiated in 1986 by Keith Bain OAM, the dance community in NSW gathered each year at the Dancers’ Picnic to celebrate International Dance Day (29 April).
In 1997, Ausdance NSW with support from the City of Sydney and The Australian Ballet, presented the inaugural Australian Dance Awards at the Sydney Opera House.
2008 marked the beginning of a new era, with the Awards celebration held in Melbourne and produced by Ausdance Victoria for three consecutive years, thanks to the generosity of the Joan and Peter Clemenger Trust and The Australian Ballet.
From 2010 - 2017 the Awards were open to tender each year by the Ausdance network. Hosts by year:
- 2011: Ausdance Qld
- 2012: Ausdance WA
- 2013: Ausdance ACT
- 2014: Ausdance NSW
- 2015: Ausdance National (in SA)
- 2016: Ausdance National/Ausdance WA (in WA)
- 2017: Ausdance Victoria
- 2018: Ausdance National in Queensland at the Brisbane Powerhouse
- 2020: Ausdance National, online on 8 December, for years 2018 and 2019
The annual Australian Dance Awards are a non-commercial event relying on the generosity and goodwill of the dance sector.