BlakDance Presenter Series

BlakDance Presenter Series is a professional development opportunity for Australian and international presenters who want to program First Nations’ performing arts. 


Bringing together Indigenous choreographers and Australian and international festival directors, venue programmers and presenters, Dana Waranara was a landmark event that took place at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane from 8 – 10 December 2015 at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane.

Following the plenary, the three-day convergence saw 28 choreographers and 21 national presenters and producers, plus five international guests take part in a professional exchange around practice, protocol, choreographic expression, collaboration and transformation.  It identified critical creative development and presentation challenges and opportunities for Indigenous choreographers, and challenged presenters and producers to work more proactively to broaden their understanding and programming horizons.

Choreographers and presenters from around Australia were joined by special international guests include Alaskan First Nations choreographer Emily Johnson, American producer Meredith Boggia, Maori choreographer Jack Gray from New Zealand, and Canadian dance industry leader Judy Harquail.

The 2017 BlakDance Presenter Series sat alongside the National Indigenous Dance Forum, at the Meat Market, Melbourne, 5 - 7 May 2017, to provide and immersive context for presenters.

Prior to the NIDF, through the Steering Group discussions, the Indigenous dance sector requested that presenters were engaged with them at the NIDF. BlakDance responded to these needs by producing the BlakDance Presenter Series held concurrently with the NIDF. They developed and delivered a program, led by Angela Flynn, that significantly transformed the participants and the way they engage with Indigenous contemporary practice through their programming within national and international presentation and programming.

This project was led by:

  • Angela Flynn, Indigenous arts consultant 

  • Judy Harquail, leading contemporary dance industry expert (Canada)

  • Meredith Boggia, New York-based dance producer (USA)

  • Collette Brennan, CEO, Abbotsford Convent

  • Jane Fuller, Head of Programming NORPA

  • Kirk Page, Associate Director NORPA

  • Lydia Fairhall, Head of Programming Footscray Arts Centre

  • Ben Graetz, Creative Producer, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company

These industry leaders delivered a program that aimed to transform the skills of the participants and the way they engage with Indigenous contemporary dance practice through their programming within national touring.

BlakDance curated a group of choreographers with national touring aspirations who were already in attendance at the NIDF 2017, to up skill and provide market development training to enable deeper engagement with the presenters. These choreographers then had opportunities to connect with the presenters through dedicated networking events and facilitated processes. Providing an opportunity for both artists and presenters to build meaningful relationships with each other.

The BlakDance Presenter Series delegation spent the first three nights of the Festival immersing themselves in First Nations dance during YIRRAMBOI programming. Delegates had the opportunity to participate in hand crafted presenter workshops, see and discuss work with colleagues, network and develop first hand insights into curatorial capacity of First Nations dance. Delegates participated in a schedule of activities comprising of selected performances and group activities, networking events with the Indigenous dance sector through interfacing with the National Indigenous Dance Forum.

The series aimed to respond to an evidenced gap between audience interest and lack of presentations of Indigenous work highlighted in Australia Council research Showcasing Creativity and Building Audiences.

The 2018 BlakDance Presenter Series sat alongside the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM), at Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm, 18 - 23 February 2018. Discovering a diverse range of First Nations contemporary art and makers ready to share their work and ideas.

The BlakDance Presenter Series is a professional development opportunity for Australian and international presenters who want to program First Nations’ contemporary performing arts at their venues and festivals. Presenters, who were preselected via an application based process, participate in a facilitated series of discussions and activities designed to transform cultural thinking and programming decision-making process. Facilitated by Rhoda Roberts and Collette Brennan. 

The Zoom-In: BlakDance Presenter Series facilitated by leading international provocateur Judy Harquail, this event will allow delegates a chance to peer behind-the-scenes of the BlakDance Presenters Series as together they chart a new a course for the presentation of contemporary Indigenous performance.

Building on our previous initiatives, we are delighted to be facilitating another BlakDance Presenter Series, at Dance Massive, Melbourne, 12 - 24 March 2019. The program is a partnership between the newly established APAM Office, BlakDance and Dance Massive offering strategic support to First Nations artists and rewarding relationships with visiting international presenters and programmers interested First Nations work. 

The BlakDance Presenter Series sits alongside the largest critical mass of First Nations Australian work ever presented at Dance Massive. Hosted by industry advisors, Jacob Boehme and Collette Brennan, the BlakDance Presenter Series is designed to transform cultural thinking and create co-learning opportunities with presenters and producers when programming and presenting First Nations work. It follows the highly successful models delivered by BlakDance at APAM 2018 and NIDF 2017. Presented by BlakDance in partnership with the APAM Office.

For Dance Massive 2019, BlakDance and APAM also worked together to identify and bring out North American presenters with an interest in working with Australian First Nations artists; Émilie Monnet - Artistic Director, ONISHKA Indigenous Contemporary Scene and Erin Boberg Doughton - Artistic Director and Curator of Performance, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA).