Australasian Dance Collective announces new residency program with BlakDance

ADC Vicki Van Hout photo by Amanda JamesAustralasian Dance Collective (ADC) and BlakDance are thrilled to launch First Collective Residencies for established and emerging First Nations choreographers and dancers.

The two-year program will host eight leading First Nations guest artists, including raymond blanco, Vicki Van Hout, Yolande Brown, Jasmin Sheppard, Joel Bray, Katina Olsen, Karul Projects and Amrita Hepi as Resident Choreographers.

Each choreographer will explore their artistic practice, working with an ensemble of eight dancers; the six ADC company artists as well as two roles for First Nations dancers for each residency. Each residency will be held in ADC’s studio in the Judith Wright Arts Centre and will include masterclasses for local artists to connect with, and learn from, the guest artists.

First Collective Residencies, supported by QASP funding by Arts Queensland, strives to address the increasing demand for First Nations performance works of scale by supporting the creation of new and diverse performance work and providing a pathway to future mainstage commissions.

This partnership between ADC and BlakDance reflects the organisations’ shared goal to support First Nations choreographers and create pathways for First Nations dancers.

“First Collective Residencies is the culmination of many years of collaboration with BlakDance with the goal of celebrating and supporting the work of First Nations dance artists,” said ADC Artistic Director, Amy Hollingsworth.

“We also hope to generate broader opportunities for other First Nations dance artists and substantially increase our awareness, understanding and community relationships over the next five years,” said Hollingsworth.

“This initiative has been a long time in the planning and illustrates ADC’s commitment to diversifying the cannon of mainstage work in Australia,” said BlakDance Co-CEO Merindah Donnelly.

“First Nations choreographers lack opportunities to make work on ensembles because we have so few funded small to medium First Nations dance companies.”

“First Nations choreographers being commissioned to make work for established companies is still distressingly rare. This program will increase the visibility of First Nations choreographers and give these artists important opportunities to devise work for ensembles,” said Donnelly.

BlakDance will also provide support to ADC through application of its best practice cultural governance framework and processes for management of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). The First Collective Residencies program has been funded for two years; however, ADC hopes it will become a permanent fixture in the future.

“I am grateful to Arts Queensland for enabling this incredibly important step in ADC’s path of listening and learning and I hope that it creates the opportunity for us to continue to connect with many more First Nations artists as this program progresses,” said Amy Hollingsworth.

ADC is also thrilled to announce that Olivia Adams will take up the role of Associate Producer on the First Collective Residencies program, with Industry Placement funding by Arts Queensland.

Olivia Adams is a Wuli Wuli woman who is an Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts and QUT Dance graduate and current company dancer for Karul Projects, Queensland’s leading premiere Indigenous dance company.

Olivia will receive professional development working within the context of an established dance company, while remaining supported by the cultural context of BlakDance, the national organisation and producing platform for First Nations contemporary dance in Australia.

First Collective Residencies commences in November 2023 with the first Resident Choreographer, Vicki Van Hout. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Vicki Van Hout – photo by Amanda James