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”. In 2017 she is taking up a Churchill Fellowship to study in the UK.
ACTING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR (September–October 2017) Alison Plevey is an award-winning choreographer and dance and physical artist based in Canberra. Her practice spans youth dance and theatre, education, cross-disciplinary collaborations, festival commissions, solo research and arts industry development in regional NSW and the ACT. Alison holds a first class honours degree from WAAPA. She is a member of The Childer’s Group, an independent arts advocacy group in Canberra.
Recent works include ‘Mine!’ (ACT National Science Week 2017), ‘Nervous’ at Mount Stromlo Observatory, and ‘Strings Attached’ at New Acton, ‘Dancing with Drones’ (Performance Space LiveWorks 2015), ‘Shake It’ (Art, Not Apart Festival 2017), ‘Autonomous’ (You Are Here Festival 2017), ‘Sprout’ (Art, Not Apart Festival 2016), ‘Heatwave’ (Dance on the Edge 2016), ‘Johnny Castellano is Mine’ (The Street Theatre 2014), ‘WORK IT’ (Art, Not Apart and You Are Here Festivals 2015).
Alison is Co-Director of dance and physical theatre company Lingua Franca with Adam Deusien. Based in Bathurst they create visceral original performance engaging professional, emerging and community artists. Their recent work ‘unsustainable behaviour’ was presented at the Regional Arts Australian Conference, ArtLands Dubbo 2016).
Alison is Leader of new Canberra company Australian Dance Party, driven by her ongoing study of dance as a universal communicative medium and a powerful practice for humanity to experience, debate and celebrate. The Party is an evolution of her work as a solo artist and inspired collaborations with diverse artists in Canberra. She aims to build the sustainability of professional dance in our political capital and legitimise the role of the arts in our contemporary context.