History of BlakDance


BlakDance is the national peak body for Indigenous dance founded by Marilyn Miller.

It began with Creating Pathways, a National Indigenous Dance Forum held 27 to 30 October 2005 at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Creating Pathways was funded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board and the Dance Board of the Australia Council and was organised by Ausdance National.

Creating Pathways had three main aims to: Reconnect; Re-energise; Identify what there is by profiling people through case studies and discussion. Some of the main issues, which emerged, had three essential elements or themes: Culture; Skills Development; Professional networking.As a result of a recommendation of the Creating Pathways forum, the position of National Indigenous Dance Coordinator was established. Funded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board as a strategic initiative partnership with Ausdance National, the National Indigenous Dance Coordinator undertook a 12-month pilot project called Treading the Pathways. During the 12-month pilot period February 2007-February 2008, Treading the Pathways was hosted by Ausdance Queensland at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane. Treading the Pathways was then successful with its application to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board for two more years of funding, from February 2008-February 2010. In July 2009 Treading the Pathways was invited to apply for Key Organisation status and was notified of its success in November 2009. Treading the Pathways then transitioned from strategic initiative to Key Organisation in September 2010.

Our membership features hundreds of independent choreographers and community practitioners. For over a decade, BlakDance has consistently delivered generative and transformative sector events, contributed significantly to the development of an Indigenous small to medium dance sector and has spearheaded generations of independent choreographers.