Dr Katrina Rank is the Director of Education and Lifelong Learning at Ausdance Victoria. Ausdance is Australia's peak body for dance, providing high-level strategic advice and vision for the sector. A national organisation with branches throughout the country, it offers programs and services for people to experience and engage in dance. A graduate of the Australian Ballet School, Katrina danced professionally in companies in Australia and the UK. She holds the following qualifications: Graduate (Australian Ballet School), B.Ed in Dance & Drama, B.Lit Hons in Dance and PhD Contemporary Arts (Deakin University). She is the creator and lead teacher of Fine Lines, Melbourne’s mature dance collective. katrina-rank.squarespace.com/
Kolkata, Indian born and Sydney based multidisciplinary performance artist, Dr. Rakini Devi explores cultural identity as an artist originating from the East and located in the West. Trained in two forms of Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam and Odissi, Dr. Devi's Kalika Dance Company 1991-1998 integrated classical Indian dance forms into a contemporary context. Her practice-led research integrates both Indian and western performance techniques, creating her own idiosyncratic performance language and aesthetic.
Dr. Devi's work centres on female religious iconography as protest against global misogynist atrocities including female infanticide, dowry deaths and femicide. Her current repertoire includes The Female Pope (Sydney, New York, Sweden), The Widow, Kali Madonna, The Black Madonna and her doctoral presentation Urban Kali (2017).
Dr. Devi’s 2001 Australia Council Dance Fellowship, amongst other awards and subsequent overseas residencies and performances, contributed towards her practice and exploration of new intercultural performance methodologies. She was guest lecturer in dance at (WAAPA & UNWS), and has conducted workshops internationally. In 2018 she completed her DCA (Doctor of Creative Arts), titled Urban Kali: From Sacred Dance to Secular Performance.
In 2019, she will travel to India where she will collaborate with Culture Monks, and present at the Tantidhatri Live Art Festival for Women in Kolkata, as well as teach at the National School of Drama in Delhi.
OFFBEAT, the Canberra dance group composed of people with Parkinson’s and their family and carers, commenced dancing in 2013. With groups based at Belconnen (led by Philip Piggin) and Tuggeranong Arts Centres (led by Jane Ingall), the dancers were soon invited to perform at numerous places and events around the ACT and beyond. Always the decision of the dancers, they have now indeed found their inner show pony! Performance opportunities have continued to appear – as part of Parkinson’s events and more, and the group has subsequently performed at the National Museum of Australia, the National Library of Australia, both Belconnen and Tuggeranong Arts Centres, the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, and just recently the DANcienCE conference in Sydney and the Major’s Creek Folk Festival.
For people with Parkinson’s disease, rigorous dance classes led by trained teaching artists are becoming internationally recognised as an important, beneficial and welcome addition to the portfolio of exercise and therapy interventions. By approaching movement as dance students, not as patients, persons with Parkinson’s can focus on PD-specific concerns like mobility, balance, rhythm and flexibility in an enjoyable, social and communal environment. Dance classes create an environment emphasising expression, creativity, engagement and positive relationship building. The Dance for People with Parkinson’s program started as a single collaborative program between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group around 2001. Over the past 17 years, Dance for PD has pioneered an arts-based approach that is being adopted by dance companies and schools, Parkinson’s groups and healthcare organisations in more than 60 communities around the world.
Debora di Centa
Philip Piggin (Program Coordinator)
Plus guest tutors
Fiona James trained in classical ballet throughout her youth, continuing through to advanced level. However, while persuing a career in medical research, she discovered the joy of contemporary dance while taking classes after-work and performing with Bodenweiser dance studio. After moving on to motherhood, Fiona joined Katoomba Dance Theatre, a community based contemporary dance troupe in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. While with KDT she regularly performed and choreographed works for them. While Contemporary dance remained her first love, Fiona gained her teachers qualifications in RAD classical ballet and ran her own school, offering tuition in classical and contemporary dance. From1997 and 2017 Fiona also organised the unique Blue Mountains, City of the Arts dance festival.
In 2014 Fiona was asked to teach contemporary dance classes for Penrith council's new initiative, a senior's contemporary dance troupe, and "Agile not Fragile" was born.