Presented by Ausdance

The selection panel is made up of dance professionals from all states and territories. They represent the dance sector and include teachers, independent artists, dance company directors, writers/critics, administrators and youth dance specialists. Members serve a 3–4 year term.

Invite the selection panel to your performance

Panel members try to see all performances in their state. To invite them, send an invitation to the nominations coordinator who will forward it to panel members. Australian dance companies can ask for a copy of the contact list.

The voting process

A thorough voting system is in place, with two, sometimes three rounds of voting.

The long list

  • Nominations are open to the public
  • The selection panel considers all eligible nominations and your supporting comments.

The shortlist

  1. The selection panel reads biographies of nominees for lifetime achievement, services to dance and services to education to make a well informed decision about who makes it into the shortlist.
  2. They view video excerpts of nominated works.
  3. Each panel member rates their top four in each category by allocating 4 points for first place, 3 points for second place etc.
  4. If the scores for the winners are even or very close, the panel consults with the advisors until there is a majority agreement.

If a member of the selection panel is nominated for an award, they are excluded from voting in that category and excluded from any discussion about that category.

Members of the selection panel are volunteers.

Robina Beard OAM

Panel Chair

Robina has been in the theatre all of her working life. She began her career as a dancer, and progressed into acting and singing, and then into choreography and directing in musicals, revues, plays, on television, and in cabaret. She taught dance at NAISDA in Sydney for six years, and ran her own dance studio for many years. Robina has also been involved with Cecchetti all her life, and considers it the ultimate method for teaching ballet. She has been a teacher of ballet, was chair of the Australian Cecchetti Society for 15 years, and chair of Cecchetti International Classical Ballet for nine years. She was also president of Ausdance NSW for 7 years. Robina currently chairs the Australian Dance Awards selection panel, continuing the work of the late Keith Bain who founded the original ADAs as the Dancers’ Picnic in the 1980s and 1990s, and whose idea it was to recognise the myriad talents of the Australian dance community.

Julie Dyson AM

Panel advisor & nominations coordinator

Julie works in a voluntary capacity as an arts advocate across several national and international organisations, including as nominations coordinator of the Australian Dance Awards, as immediate past chair of the National Advocates for Arts Education and a Global Executive member of the World Dance Alliance. She is the former national director of Ausdance, where her work included policy development, advice to funding bodies, government departments, companies and individual artists, and the initiator of innovative partnerships to promote and support contemporary dance, performers and educators. Julie has worked as a volunteer on the dance collections of the National Library of Australia and Ausdance National, and has edited many publications. She was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for Administration in 1994, the Ausdance 21 Award for outstanding service to the organisation in 1998, the Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance in 2000 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. In 2007 Julie was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Jeff Meiners

Panel advisor

Jeff is a lecturer at the University of South Australia's School of Education working across all age groups in dance and arts education after teaching extensively in schools, preschools and a range of programs in universities. After moving to Australia, he managed Ausdance New South Wales Outreach Projects. He was Community Representative for the Dance Board at the Australia Council for the Arts (2002-2008) and received the 2009 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Services to Dance Education. He is a member of the International Editorial Board for Research in Dance Education. From 2009 he worked with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) as a member of the reference group for the Arts in the national curriculum (2009-2010), as dance writer for the Arts Shape paper (2011) and then subject expert with the Arts Advisory panel. Jeff is a board member with Australian Dance Theatre and Ausdance representative for the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE). Jeff's doctoral study focused on dance curriculum as policy, with three related projects connected by autoethnographic writing.

Lee Christofis

Panel advisor

Lee has been a leading dance critic and arts commentator in Australia for more than 25 years. He is a long-time advocate for dance, and is a former dancer with the Queensland Ballet. He has served eight years as Ausdance National Vice President and is an Honorary Life Member of Ausdance. Lee was the recipient of a Victorian Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs for MAMAS, the Multicultural Arts Marketing Ambassadors Strategy which he designed and delivered in conjunction with the Australia Council. After twelve years in early childhood education and welfare, Lee joined the School of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne where he taught twentieth century dance history, arts criticism and arts management. He received an Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance in 2009. From 2006 to 2013 he was Curator of Dance at the National Library of Australia. He continues to write about dance for several organisations and publications.

Annalouise Paul

NSW

Annalouise is an award-winning choreographer and performer who creates dance narratives inspired by histories and ancestries, diasporas and stories of diverse traditions and cultures. Her career expands three decades in London and Los Angeles, working in commercial media and with new works, exchanges and tours more recently in India, Singapore and Malaysia. Annalouise trained in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre, London and Flamenco dance with key maestros in Spain. Some early career highlights were dancing for choreographers Bill T. Jones Co, Karole Armitage, Juan Ortega for Los Angeles Opera, Glyndebourne Opera, at the Australian Dance Awards 2005 and for Michael Jackson’s video In the Closet. In 2020, Annalouise received a new commission for A Late Bloomer for George Town Festival, Penang. Salón Flamenco is a new platform she established last year for experimental Flamenco showcasing Australian artists pushing outside the genre. Some recent works include Bysh, Forge, Game On, Isabel; new works in development are Mother Tongue and Self Portrait. Annalouise’s intercultural choreographic practice has led to deeper investigation of original processes DanceDNA and Hidden Rhythms. She has been supported through Create NSW, Australia Council, NAC Singapore, Bundanon Trust, Critical Path, DFAT, Ausdance NSW, Asialink and Adès Family Foundation. She won an inaugural Australian Arts in Asia Award in Dance and a NSW Premiers Export Scholarship for touring Game on to India in 2012. Annalouise was described as ‘a truly original voice’ by The Statesman, India.

Mark Howett

WA

Mark Howett, originally from Busselton in Western Australia, is proud to stand on Noongar Boodjar. He is an award-winning artistic director, lighting and theatre designer, working in theatre, film, dance and opera. His work has toured nationally and internationally, winning many major awards, including a Helpmann for Cloudstreet, directed by Neil Armfield in 2002. He was artistic director of Perth’s Ochre Contemporary Dance Company from 2016-2019, where he directed Kaya (2016), Good Little Soldier (2017) and 3.3 (2018), and the short film Kwongkan. For the 2019 Perth Festival Mark conceived and directed the stage production of Kwongkan, developed over three years with the ensemble in both regional WA and Kerala, India. He was a founding member of Splintergroup (now THE FARM) in 2004, and was coordinator of the lighting course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts from 1996 to 2000, where he continues to teach.

Nina Levy

WA

Nina Levy is a dance writer and critic. She is co-founder and editor of Seesaw Magazine, an independent digital publication covering the arts in Western Australia. Over the last decade Nina has worked as co-editor of Dance Australia magazine and as a dance critic for The West Australian newspaper and Dance Australia. Nina teaches dance history and analysis at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and has worked extensively in arts education and advocacy at various institutions, including Ausdance WA. In her spare time Nina enjoys singing with Perth indie-pop ensemble Menagerie Choir.

Jacob Boeheme

VIC

Jacob Boehme is a Melbourne-born and raised artist of the Narangga and Kaurna Nations, South Australia. Trained in dance at NAISDA and alumni of the Victorian College of the Arts (MA in Arts – Playwriting, MA in Arts – Puppetry), Jacob is a multi-disciplinary theatre maker, choreographer and director of work across stage, film and festivals. Jacob is the founding Creative Director of YIRRAMBOI Festival and current Artistic Director of Geelong After Dark. Jacob sits on the board of directors of Dancehouse and Polyglot Theatre, and is a member of the Taiwan Ministry of Culture South East Asia Advisory Panel. Jacob is the recipient of the 2018 Australia Council for the Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship.

Bradley Chatfield

Head of Dance at Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts

VIC

Born in Mordialloc, Bradley is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people. A graduate of The Australian Ballet School, Bradley then joined the Hong Kong Ballet before commencing an award-winning career with Sydney Dance Company (1991 - 2009). Bradley toured extensively with SDC, both in Australia and internationally. Bradley is highly acclaimed in the dance industry with an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer (2003). In 2009 he was named in Sydney Morning Herald’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Sydney, and in 2010 he joined Dancenorth as Rehearsal Director. Bradley has been Head of Dance at the Aboriginal Centre of the Performing Arts in Brisbane, and is currently Head of Contemporary Development at Transit Dance, and a board member of BlakDance.

Carol Wellman Kelly

Dancer, Teacher, Mentor & Director

SA

Carol's roles include dancer, teacher, rehearsal director, artistic director, mentor for Independent choreographers, guest lecturer and assessor for University dance and theatre courses and board member on local and federal arts funding panels. Carol choreographs for theatre companies and recently performed in A Delicate SituationLina Limosani). Trained in ballet and gymnastics with a BA in Dance from VCA, Carol performed with 2 Dance Plus (Buzz) Chrissie Parrott Dance Collective and Dancenorth. Carol has worked as dancer and in education and outreach in the UK and Europe. From 2000 - 08 Carol was Assistant Director for ADT touring across Europe, UK, Asia and USA.

Darren Spowart

dancer, pilates teacher, creator of Conscious Control series

NSW

After three years training at the exclusive Australian ballet school, I was invited to join the Australian Ballet Company and later the Sydney Dance Company. As a dancer, my focus and fascination turned to the power of the mind and the conscious approach to control required to meet the physical demands of movement. During this time, I was introduced to Pilates and found that it gave me a whole new level of understanding about my body – how to balance, strengthen individual weaknesses and build whole body awareness.

Lesley Graham

Teacher & education consultant

TAS

Lesley has been active in dance and arts education for 40 yrs and is currently a freelance curriculum consultant and lecturer. She has been the Senior Project Officer Performing Arts for Curriculum Services and an Assistant Principal and Curriculum Area Leader in Tasmanian schools. Lesley has taught dance at all levels of education and training, including TAFE and lecturing at UTAS and QUT. She mentors several emerging artists, undertakes rehearsal direction and dramaturgy and teaches contemporary dance technique, choreography and ballet. Lesley is Chair of DRILL Performance. Lesley writes theatre reviews for Dance Australia, Limelight and ArtsHub and reviews publications for Human Kinetics. She has previously served on the Australian Dance Awards panel and is a peer for the Australia Council for the Arts. Lesley has explored the links between the arts, and she is particularly interested in the sustainability of arts practice in communities and of arts practitioners living in those communities.

Maggie Tonkin

Dance Writer, Critic & Journalist

SA

Maggie has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Adelaide, where she teaches and researches nineteenth and twentieth century literature. She trained in ballet and contemporary dance and has performed semi-professionally with the State Opera of South Australia and in independent dance works. Maggie writes for Dance Australia and occasionally for ballet-tanz, a leading European dance magazine.

Matthew Lawrence

dancer, choreographer & associate lecturer in dance, QUT

QLD

Matthew was a principal artist with The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Queensland Ballet, and a guest artist with Stuttgart Ballet, World Ballet Festival in Japan and The Royal New Zealand Ballet. He has taught for The Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet (mentor to the Young Artists’ Program) and other leading training institutions. Matthew has written for the Dancing Times and currently writes for Dance Australia. He has choreographed works for Birmingham Royal Ballet and Queensland Ballet, Elmhurst School of Dance, Queensland Ballet Academy and QUT. Matthew is now Ballet Master for Queensland Ballet.

Michael Whaites

Lecturer in contemporary dance at WAAPA & Artistic Director of LINK Dance Company

WA

Working in the dance industry over 30 years, Michael was a founding member of Dancenorth and has danced with Australian Dance Theatre, Twyla Tharp and Dancers and the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. He has worked with numerous independent artists and institutions across the globe and has choreographed over 30 works both nationally and internationally. Michael has served as a member of the Dance Board of the Australia Council, of the WAAPA Board and a committee member of Ausdance NSW, Strut Dance Inc, Future Moves and Move Me. He currently sits on the advisory committee of the new dance company Co3.

Michelle Potter

Writer, Historian, Curator & Dance Reviewer

ACT

Michelle has a doctorate in Art History and Dance History from the Australian National University. A recipient of two Australian Dance Awards, Michelle was founding editor of Brolga–an Australian journal about dance, inaugural Curator of Dance at the National Library of Australia (2002–06) and Curator, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, NY Public Library for the Performing Arts (2006–08). Her writings and oral histories are extensive and range from major books, to articles in scholarly journals and reviews in magazines, theatre programs, newspapers and on her website Michelle Potter On Dancing, https://michellepotter.org.

Patrick Harding-Irmer

Independent artist

NSW

Patrick has a BA Dip.Ed. from Sydney University and a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance from the University of Kent. He worked with London Contemporary Dance Theatre for 17 years as dancer, teacher, choreographer and acting artistic director. In 1985 he was voted best modern dancer in Britain by Dance and Dancers magazine. Since retiring from LCDT, Patrick has been teaching the Martha Graham technique around Australia and working as freelance performer with some of our leading companies and independent artists.

Sebastien Ananian-Cooper

SA

Sebastien is one of the owners of QuickSteps Dance Club Studio, Adelaide, a social Latin & ballroom studio teaching more than 250 dance classes per week to adults in dance genres such as Salsa, Tango, Rock ‘n Roll, Rumba and Cha Cha. Sebastien’s background is in finance, having worked in banking in Australia and London, then teaching at the University of Adelaide for more than six years. He is Treasurer of Ausdance SA and is an Ausdance National board member. One of his career goals is to set up education pathways for dancers and dance teachers in other dance genres, such as Latin and ballroom. He believes that the education pathways currently established and working for ballet and contemporary dancers could be extended to all dance genres, and would strengthen the foundations of Australia’s dance industry.

Terri-Ann White

Director UWA Publishing

WA

Terri-ann has spent her working life around books and ideas: as a bookseller, writer, teacher, editor, festival organiser and now publisher. The one driving constant in her life is the passion for the unique voice in writing and other artistic expression, and she has collaborated to make work with dancers, visual artists and musicians over decades. She has been Chair, Strut Dance Collective and a peer assessment panelist for the Australia Council for the Arts and is currently Director of UWA Publishing. What keeps her awake at night is an obsession with contemporary dance and its ideas and bodies.

Richard James Allen

NSW

Richard James Allen is a director, with Karen Pearlman, of the critically acclaimed Physical TV Company, a dancefilm company based in Sydney that has screened works in major dancefilm festivals worldwide, including New York’s Dance on Camera Festival, Cinedans in Amsterdam, Napolidanza in Naples, London’s Dance on Screen, Dance: Film in Edinburgh, dança em foco in Brazil, agite y sirva in Mexico, the International Video Dance Festival in France, and many others. They have won international awards from screendance festivals in Austin, Dallas, Portland and Idaho, and two Gold Medals for Excellence at the Park City Music Festival. A three-time ATOM Award winning director and producer, Richard’s dancefilms have been commissioned or purchased for broadcasts by ABC and SBS-TV, and broadcast in China, Europe and on cable TV in the USA. He has been described as a ‘master of choreography, as well as of dance, and cinema’ (Nova, Italy). His work ‘points the way to the possibilities that abound when collaboration occurs across forms and new technologies are integrated into the totality of the vision’ (Hunter Cordaiy, RealTime). Richard has also created works for the stage, including dance works for New England Computer Arts Association (Boston), The Whitney Museum of American Art at Equitable Center (New York City), Colloquium Contemporary Dance Company (New York City), Dance North (Townsville), Dirty Feet (Sydney) and Tasdance (Launceston), where he was also co-artistic director. Richard is also an Australian poet whose tenth book, The short story of you and I, was published by UWA Publishing in February 2019. For more information, see The Physical TV Company.

Philip Piggin

ACT

Philip Piggin trained and has worked in Australia and overseas. In the UK he worked with a number of companies and was employed as a community dance animateur in Wales, during which time he created his own company, Men Dancing. He has subsequently worked throughout Australia, teaching, lecturing, choreographing, performing and directing for many arts, educational and community groups. He has served on various boards and arts funding bodies. Since moving to the ACT in 1999, Philip has worked with Ausdance ACT, extensively in the education sectors, and for Canberra Dance Theatre. He is now based at Belconnen Arts Centre, where the philosophy is about 'arts for all'. As Wellbeing Programs Officer, and with the support of a Churchill Fellowship visit to the USA and the UK, Philip presently leads dance programs for people living with Parkinson’s, with dementia and with other chronic conditions, throughout the ACT and beyond. In 2016 he was awarded Honorary Life Membership of People Dancing, the UK organisation for community dance. In 2018 Philip received the Age Friendly Canberra Award in the ACT Positive Ageing Awards, and in 2017 and 2018 was shortlisted for Services to Dance at the Australian Dance Awards.

Arun Munozz

VIC

Arun trained in classical ballet, Bharata Natyam and Odissi and was a founding member of Bharatam Dance Company. He worked for over two decades as a principal dancer, rehearsal master, vocalist and teacher of classical Indian dance, touring nationally and internationally. In 1998 Arun shifted practice into contemporary choreography and was awarded one of six Australia Council Emerging Choreographic Fellowships to develop his new work. He has created a number of independent works addressing social, political and cultural concerns. His work crosses a number of artform and cultural boundaries and he has collaborated with a number of established artists throughout Australia and internationally. He was awarded an Australian Choreographic Centre Fellowship and was selected as one of seven Australian choreographers to take part in the New Moves International Choreographic Laboratory. This work was premiered at the Adelaide Festival and Glasgow New Moves Festival. He spent the next 12 years in Europe and came back to Australia to study photography, specialising in portraiture and performing arts. He has a postgraduate degree in Choreography from the Victorian College of the Arts and continues his creative works in photography, installation and performance.

Rachael Wallis

NT

Rachael is a versatile dancer and choreographer based in Nhulunbuy, NT. Covering both traditional and contemporary dance styles, she has worked with leading Indigenous dance companies and choreographers, performing regionally, nationally and internationally. She’s performed at Olympics ceremonies, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and has directed/choreographed many community-based dance projects and festivals. As a NAISDA graduate, she has also taught at the College, danced with Bangarra Dance Theatre and delivered remote, regional and interstate initiatives, workshops and classes. Living in a small community of North East Arnhem Land, where Yolŋu history is passed down through story, song and dance as a way of life, Rachael knows the importance of dance for culture and community.

Alethea Beetson

QLD

Alethea Beetson (Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi + Wiradjuri) is an artist and producer who has worked extensively with Indigenous communities across multiple art forms to inspire new works that respond to societal issues, cultural heritage and colonisation. She is currently the First Nations Producer of QMusic/BIGSOUND, Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts and First Nations producer of Horizon Festival. More recently Alethea worked as the Indigenous Engagement Coordinator at the Queensland Museum and was the Curator of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program for Festival 2018 Brisbane. She is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Creative Industries (QUT) exploring the function of ritual, resistance and resurgence in the creative development and production of Indigenous performance.