ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Ruth Osborne has devoted her professional life to youth dance, challenging old ideas and developing new methods. She is nationally respected for her teaching and choreographic work. She has developed dance in primary and secondary schools, tertiary institutions, private dance studios, summer schools and regional outreach tours. She has mentored choreographers and dancers, including both young emerging artists and senior dance professionals.
Her professional dance career extends over 40 years and includes performing, teaching, choreographing, directing, collaborating and mentoring. She has served on many arts related boards including Ausdance WA (President), The West Australian Ballet, WAAPA Advisory Panels, Arts WA Peer Assessment Panel, STEPS Youth Dance Company and Youth Arts Incorporated.
After extensive training and experience across all dance sectors in Sydney, Ruth moved to WA and in 1976 established the Contemporary Dance Centre, where she was Artistic Director until 1999. She taught at WAAPA from its inception; and was a founding board member, choreographer and Artistic Director of STEPS Youth Dance Company for 10 years.
She has choreographed for local, national and international television and film; and many large scale events including the Opening Ceremonies for the 6th and 8th World Swimming Championships; the Pacific School Games; collaborations for the Festival of Perth in 1995 and 1997; and Australia Day celebrations.
Ruth joined The Australian Choreographic Centre in Canberra as Manager of Youth Dance Practice in 1999, under Director Mark Gordon. She established the highly successful Quantum Leap youth choreographic ensemble, and developed ongoing programs, focused on choreographic literacy, for young people auditioned from Canberra and the region. These bridged community and professional practice, with professionally produced performances in major theatres and institutions in Canberra, and regional and interstate tours.
Ruth established the Licence to Move program to encourage boys into dance, and directed the highly acclaimed Industrial Hardware dance project series for young men and boys.
In 2003 she won the Canberra Critics Circle Dance Award for her ongoing work with Quantum Leap and in particular “boys in dance”. She was Artistic Director of the Australian Dance Awards in 2012 and 2013.
She won the Australian Dance Awards‘ 2011 Award for Services to Dance — “for her superlative teaching and wide-ranging services to dance for over four decades; for an outstanding contribution to dance education and to the development of youth dance practice in Australia.” She won a 2015 Canberra Critics Circle award for her piece “Walking and Falling”.