National Indigenous Dance Forum (NIDF) 

A Gathering, presented by BlakDance

The NIDF is for all dance communities – cultural and contemporary dancers, community dance groups and independent artists – to gather to discuss our needs in communities across Australia.

read the 2017 nidf report here

The five top priorities for action as voted by delegates are listed below in priority order:

  • Space and time in the next conference for intercultural and international conversations and connections. 
  • The purpose of dance is not just about art – it’s also about culture as medicine. 
  • Curriculum development for Indigenous dance in mainstream schools.
  • Increase producers and presenters cultural competency. To ensure our cultural needs are included in our contract with the venue. We need blak spaces.
  • Contemporary Indigenous dance is about the blood memory of living in the now. We are influenced by what we’ve learnt and who taught us… but where’s the safe place to do that right? 

5–7 May 2017

The National Indigenous Dance Forum (NIDF) 2017 was a BlakDance gathering, presented in partnership with YIRRAMBOi First Nations arts festival.

The NIDF was part of the Bullarto Wonthaggi (Everyone Gathering Together) program of YIRRAMBOi First nations arts festival.    

Benjamin Creek Image by Walker and Campos

Mitch Tambo Image by Walker and Campos

When you come to the National Indigenous Dance Forum, you have to be really clear about what your purpose is, be strong and determined to fulfil that purpose. Be aware of where you are and have a sense of place.
- Marilyn Miller -
founder of BlakDance

the NIDF 2017 was for people who wanted to be actively involved in developing a national action plan for Indigenous dance and were willing to work with others from across the country in the coming years to make it happen. It brought together representatives from as many regions as possible.

the 2017 Blakdance presenter series ran alongside the forum giving presenters and producers the opportunity to  develop first hand insights into curatorial capacity of First Nations dance.

For more information about the Presenter Series please click here.


on sunday 7 may 2017 BLAKdANCE hosted 'Aboriginal Ballet Dancers of australia' Panel. 

an historic DISCUSSION brought together 7 aboriginal ballet dancers to journey through history, friendship, generosity and hopes.

Aboriginal Ballet Dancers of Australia
7 May, 6.30PM
Melbourne City Town Hall
Co-convened by Marilyn Miller (founder of BlakDance) and David McAllister (Artistic Director Australian Ballet)


Mary Joyce Miller
Photo courtesy of Sunday Times Newspaper Perth 1959, the year Mary Joyce Miller auditioned and was accepted as a member of the West Australian Ballet Company.

For more information on previous National Indigenous Dance Forums, please take a look at  the Creating Pathways outcomes from 2005.

during nidf 2017 Delegates identified the achievements of the Indigenous dance sector in Australia since Creating Pathways in 2005. the raw data is collated here.