About Gary

Gary is General Manager at QL2 Dance, previously General Manager at the Australian Choreographic Centre which developed the approach to youth dance programs which forms the core of QL2's work. He is a recovering computer programmer and live sound engineer. He discovered social dance through contemporary dance.

Welcome Mary Kendell, QL2 Dance’s new General Manager

Mary Kendell. Photo: Lorna Sim

Chair of QL2 Dance, the Hon Richard Refshauge SC, today announced the appointment of a new General Manager, Mary Kendell, to replace the outgoing Gary Barnes who will retire this month.

Mary says:  “I have worked in the non-for-profit arts sector for almost a decade.

From a very young age I became aware that my set of skills was strongly focused in Maths and working with numbers, while my interest and passion is deeply embedded within the arts. So it was quite apparent to me that to make the best of my talents, I should follow a career path in business management; but in order for me to maintain interest and drive in my career, only a job supporting the arts would satisfy.

Initially, I  applied for the position at QL2 because I was seeking an opportunity like this for myself — it combines what I am really good at with what I am passionate about.  Every career move that I have made was in search of this opportunity. However, this has now become something deeper,  something more meaningful. As I learn more about QL2,  the wonderful people who make QL2, its vision and the delivery of this vision, I understand better what I am a part of now.

I am extremely proud and excited about working at QL2.  My hope is to learn from Ruth and to support her in this quest to develop and empower dancers and dance-makers.

I thank the board for listening to me and offering me this wonderful opportunity.

Lastly, I  would like to publicly thank Gary for the wealth of knowledge and wisdom he has been trying to transfer to me.  Your passion and commitment are incredibly inspiring.  It will be an incredible challenge trying to fill your shoes but I am sure you already knew that. I am sad to see you leave, I  wish I could have worked with you,  but I hope that you will never be too far.”

Artistic Director Ruth Osborne: “In welcoming Mary into our wonderful organisation, I look back to consider where we have come from and where we are now.  It is significant for QL2 Dance to be entering a new era in appointing Mary as our new General Manager.  The Quantum Leap ensemble is in its 20th year and QL2 as a youth dance organisation is in its 12th.  Gary Barnes has worked beside me through all this time and has been crucial to our development, success and longevity.

Mary brings her own skills and experience to the role of GM and it will be exciting to see what her new perspective will have on us — staff, teachers, choreographers, dancers, parents, partner organisations and colleagues.

Welcome Mary!”

(L-R) Artistic Director of QL2 Dance Ruth Osborne with new General Manager Mary Kendell

The full announcement from QL2 Chair Richard Refshauge follows:

“I am delighted to announce that, after a careful consideration of impressive candidates for the position of General Manager, the Board of QL2 Dance has appointed Mary Kendell, formerly the Office Manager of the Canberra Glassworks. Mary brings a significant level of finance experience and qualifications, and a passion for the creative arts which will serve QL2 Dance well. The Board and staff look forward to working with Mary to continue the delivery of QL2 Dance’s substantial contribution to youth dance practice within the Canberra community and the nation more broadly, as well as the ongoing support and opportunities for independent contemporary dance practice in Canberra.

Richard also paid tribute to Gary Barnes, QL2 Dance’s long time – indeed, only – General Manager.  Richard said, “We are sad to see Gary depart; he has been a critical part of the success of QL2 Dance, always maintaining a high degree of excellence in administration that has resulted in the most effective delivery of our programs. His support for Ruth Osborne has been exceptional and his servicing of the Board has been of the first order.  We trust that we will be able to continue to have his support and, where needed, his expertise and wise counsel, but wish him and his partner, Yuko, every success in this next stage of their lives.”


A little bit flashy: Alison @NPG

Ed: Alison Plevey’s Australian Dance Party is Company in Residence at QL2 Dance — sharing spaces and experiences with our young dancers, and creating great dance in unsual places.

“We have kicked off the creative adventures for Australian Dance Party in 2018 with a little bit of red carpet.

Leaning into the cross arts, fun, social elements of the Party, I have been lucky enough to lead the development of a quirky short dance work entitled In a flash. The work references the current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery “Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits”, and aims to expand the audience experience of the gallery and enable an important cross arts dialogue.

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Primary teachers: subsidised places in a unique development opportunity


Act fast: only five subsidised places available!  We are seeking expressions of interest from primary teachers interested to participate in unique teacher development opportunity

What is on offer?

  • 5 week, Make A Move shoulder to shoulder development program (see below)
  • Includes free participation in TQI Accredited Seminars 1 & 2
  • Cost: $250, heavily subsidised, supported by ACT Education Directorate

QL2 Dance is offering five teachers/schools in the ACT this opportunity.
To apply contact: makeamove@ql2.org.au

5 week program includes:

  • 5 weekly class visits, 1.5 hours each
  • Planning session, 2 hours
  • On the ground, tailored professional learning for teachers. Action learning with key artist and teacher in class. Students exposed to breadth of creative dance education
    Includes Seminars (6 TQI accredited hours)
  • Weekly evaluation sessions 0.5 hours
  • Available Term 2, 2018
  • 15 hours total
  • $1090 per teacher — maximum 25 students

More information about Make a Move here.

Open audition — you can do this! 18 Feb for TWO ZERO with Quantum Leap


The audition has come and gone. If you are very very keen, please contact Artistic Director Ruth Osborne  — ruth@QL2.org.au — and we’ll see.

TWO ZERO is QL2 Dance’s major project for 2018 for our Quantum Leap ensemble (ages 14+) — which could mean you!. Are you a creative young person from in or around Canberra area? Then do the audition!  The selected ensemble will create TWO ZERO with Artistic Director Ruth Osborne and other choreographers. Continue reading

QL2 alumni building the dream at uni 

Well it’s that time of year, so we are giving huge congratulations to QL2 dancers who have been accepted into university performing arts courses — after highly competitive auditions and interviews.

Alison Tong, Caspar Ilschner, Maddy Bowman and Milly Vanzwol have all been accepted in to Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA, University of Melbourne). Mia Tuco has been accepted into the theatre degree at VCA. Caspar has also been accepted into New Zealand School of Dance and faces a tough choice!

(Photos: Lorna Sim) Continue reading