Soft Landing 2015 for graduates: a life-changing skill development and performance project

[2015 Soft Landing applications have now closed]

Soft Landing is about you, a performing artist and human being.

With Amelia McQueenNatalie Abbott, and Solon Ulbrich.  A project of QL2 Dance.

Dates: 28 APRIL – 17 MAY 2015 (no partial attendance)

Location: QL2 Dance, Canberra

Cost: FREE! 

You will have the opportunity to choreograph, perform, train in and teach dance among a group of committed and skilled artists at similar stages in their career, while being lead and supported by experienced dancers and choreographers.

  • You will be challenged to make decisions about yourself and your art practice.
  • You will train physically and engage creatively.
  • You will contribute creative tasks relevant to your interests.
  • You will support your peers and bring their concepts to life.
  • Together, you will debate, reveal, feel, talk, eat, dance and WORK!!

Apply online — but read this page first!

In a small group of passionate and skilled young recent graduates drawn from VCA, WAAPA, NAISDA, QUT, Deakin and AC Arts, we will challenge  the difficult transition from the tertiary course into the dance profession. You will form relationships with other dancers that will continue to support you far into the future.

Soft Landing is designed to develop your capacity to respond to creative challenges with professional rigour, choreographic intelligence and an awareness of context. More importantly, it will bring awareness and clarity to your personal beliefs and morals so that you can powerfully navigate your life as an artist.

Independent dancer and choreographer Amelia McQueen will be full-time director of Soft Landing for 2015, utilising varied tools and processes from contemporary dance and yoga to drive the exploration of your mind and body. Soft Landing 2008 graduate Natalie Abbott brings her diverse performance and choreographic interests into the studio and will be collaborating with Amelia to create a unique Soft Landing experience for this year’s participants. And Solon Ulbrich, who developed Soft Landing over many years, returns to challenge you.

There will also be sessions on some of the practical issues freelance artists face, including copyright, contracts and risk management.

Soft Landing 2015 concludes with public performance and discussionfor which you will both be choreographed on and choreograph on others if you choose to do so.

Eight years of successful participants are now at the forefront of dance in Australia and overseas, in companies and independent practice. You can read more from them: Paul Jackson in 2014,  Bicky Lee in 2013, or Courtney Scheu in 2012. Previous Soft Landers include:

Miranda Zeller
Trish Wood
Hannah Wong
Amy Wiseman
Jamie Winbank
James Welsby
Rebecca Taylor
Sarah Taylor
Frankie Snowden
Amy Shepherdson
Courtney Scheu
Ash Rose
Emily Robinson
Emily Ranford
Janine Proost
Alison Plevey
Quindell Orton
Chrissy Norford
Jo Naumann
Emma Harrison
Emma Fishwick
Rhiannon Ferris
Ashleigh Berry

Angela Goh
Chiemi Fukumori
Emi Forster
Stephanie Harper
Katherine Gurr
Leeke GriffinAmy McPherson
Caitlin McKenzie
Annabel Mae Saies
Katherine MacDonald
Rebecca Lee
Jake Kuzma
Anna Kallstrom
Rebecca Jensen
Elanor Jane Webber
Paul Jackson
Lenka Hughes
Jessie Hoeschle
Luke Hickmott
Brie Healy
Tess Feldman
Megan Exton
Ashlea English
Madeline Edwards
Penelope Dolling
Gemma Dawkins
Dean Cross
Matt Cornell
Gabriel Comerford
Ashlee Bye
Sophie Burgoyne
Ashley Burgess
Kara Burdack
Tessa Broadby
Laura Boynes
Emily Bowman
Asher Bowen-Saunders
Sara Black
Kelly Beneforti
Lachlan Bell
Bridget Barnicoat
Anabelle Balharry
Rebecca Bainger
Carly Armstrong
Sarah Aiken
Linton Aberle
Natalie Abbott

“… I have felt constantly challenged, as well as physically, mentally and emotionally drained after each day. I have experienced fear, personal judgement, uncomfortableness, self-doubt, anxiety and sadness, but also excitement, freedom, happiness, lightness, progress and a re-discovered interest and engagement in dance.”

“… it’s felt like a cold shower. It’s been uncomfortable, it’s been terrifying, but it’s been refreshing, reinvigorating, and, ultimately, awakening. …I am emerging refreshed and re-energised.”

“… gave me not only a new kind of inspiration but also the necessary knowledge and tools to survive in this tough industry.”

 “I had such a powerful transformation … I found the courage required to source my own opportunities and ensure I was stepping closer towards my goals.”

  “… taught me how to overcome fears with my dancing and as a person. It allowed me to break through walls I had around me. It set me up with new connections.”

“…offered me an opportunity to think differently, an opportunity to find a better relationship with myself as well as those around me, and an acceptance and pride in what I do as an independent dance artist.”

“… the group … feels more like my peers than my year group from university… because they were committed to developing into professional artists.”

“…  dramatically impacted my practice as a dance performer and choreographer. The information I gained physically, conceptually and logistically will inform the development of my career”

“…one of the most important things that I learnt was how to talk about dance and the importance of beginning conversations about dance.”

“…gave me initiative to change the way I drive my life, the way I approach dance as an artist and as a business; and to ignite potential in myself.”

Can I apply?

All dance graduates within the first two years after completing their degree and aged 27 or under are eligible.

Soft Landing has a core period of 3 weeks in Canberra, with a timetable filling 5-6 days per week. You must make a clear commitment to the entire process, and be available full-time for the period.

You must be prepared for online discussion and research prior to the studio development, and we will also provide online and phone mentoring support after the fulltime program has concluded.


There is no fee to participate. Thanks to our donors!

You must make your own arrangements for your travel and stay in Canberra.

How to apply

  1. Prepare a CV listing your dance training, professional development activities, and performance and choreographic work, especially any activities outside university. Save it as a PDF.
  2. Prepare a list of 1-3 professional referees who are prepared to speak to the panel if contacted. Optionally, obtain letters of reference and have them in electronic form (scans, photos, pdfs).
  3. Prepare 1-500 words expressing your reasons for wanting to do Soft Landing, and addressing the selection criteria.
  4. Select 1-3 dance photos of yourself
  5. Prepare a video of up to 10 minutes, preferably with material demonstrating your dance skills both as a dancer and as a choreographer. Prepare notes about what you have included on the video.
  6. Prepare a short description of what is in the video: choreographers, dancers, events, dates, places. We need to know who and what we are looking at.
  7. Submit your video and other large files, by uploading to a file sharing or transfer service, such as Youtube, Vimeo, Dropbox,, etc. Make it private, and send the link to
  8. APPLY ONLINE  at our website.

CHECK that you have received an email from us confirming we have received your application. Contact us at if you don’t, or if something goes wrong.


Prime selection criteria will be:

  • a demonstrated desire to work in this mentored environment with Amelia and the other artists;
  • potential benefit to you, as an artist;
  • your potential contribution to Australian dance.

We will also consider availability, commitment, physical capacity and diversity.

Applications will be assessed by:

  • Amelia McQueen: Project Director
  • Ruth Osborne: Artistic Director QL2


  • Applications due: 19 January 2015
  • Successful applicants will be advised by email by: 6 February 2015
  • Core intensive:  28 April – 17 May 2015


If you have any further queries please contact Amelia and Ruth at

Amelia McQueen graduated from Adelaide College of the Arts in 2000 with a Bachelor of Dance Performance, and lives in Melbourne. She has been an ensemble member for companies such as Tanz Atelier Wien (Vienna), Tasdance (Launceston), and Stalker Theatre Company (Sydney). She has toured internationally with physical theatre company Strange Fruit since 2004 and in 2011/12 was a Member of its Board of Directors. Under the direction of Tanja Liedtke she developed a role for the dance theatre production ‘Twelfth Floor’ (Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Choreography 2006) that she performed in Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany 2006-2009. She is featured in the current release film ‘Life in Movement’ (Foxtel Australian Documentary Prize 2011) about Tanja’s life and death, and continues to work for the Tanja Liedtke Foundation delivering the ‘Inspiring Dance’ workshop series, which Amelia co-devised with a team of Tanja’s collaborators. Amelia has presented her own choreography in theatres and art galleries in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Amsterdam. She was commissioned by Kath Papas and The Substation to create ‘Soft Targets’ with Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal and Bilwa for the 2010 Melbourne Fringe Festival and this work later received the award for Outstanding Choreography at Short and Sweet Dance Festival in Canberra. In 2011 she made a live art event ‘Australia Dance – The Future’ with Atlanta Eke and Tim Darbyshire, performing uninvited on the Merlyn stage at Malthouse Theatre after the curtain call of a Dance Massive presentation in an act they described as ‘cultural terrorism.’ Amelia has worked in the youth dance field as a choreographer, mentor, Artistic Director and contemporary teacher for the Tanja Liedtke Foundation, QL2 Dance, Ausdance ACT, Ausdance NSW and Tasdance. As a dancer most recently she has created and performed with independent choreographers including Michael Schumacher, Adelina Larsson, Victoria Chiu and Janine Proost.

Natalie Abbott creates sensorial performance experiences. She is committed to the idea that everything is choreography, including light, sound movement and design and she utilises this vision when devising work. Natalie has been making her own work; touring throughout Europe, Asia and America; and working with independent choreographers and visual artists in Melbourne, the UK and NY. Her works include Ultimate Pressure – a video sensory immersion, Next Wave Festival 2010; Circles For Squares, Lucy Guerin’s Pieces for Small Spaces 2011; Levity – a video work at Blindside Gallery 2012; Physical Fractals, Next Wave Festival 2012, Dance Massive 2013; Deep Flex, Tiny Stadiums, Sydney 2013; Sweat – Melbourne at the NGV 2014. Her new Work Maximum will be presented at Arts House for Next Wave 2014, at Festival de Avignon in France and at Performance Space in Sydney 2014. Natalie is a collaborator for the Deep Soulful Sweats (fantasy light yoga project) at Chunky Move, which has recently been invited to FOLA and the Next Wave Festival opening party, 2014. She recently spoke alongside Stelarc on a panel, Art and the Body at the Wheeler Centre for Ideas for the Festival of Live Art in Melbourne. Natalie is a mentor and yoga teacher and is constantly inspired and surprised by the potential of the human body and mind. She is an avid performer, choreographer and experimental media artist, constantly seeking to extend her craft through practice and experience.