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Moving Boldly: Canberra gets a new dance festival

Beatrice Smith

Celebrating the legacy of dance of all cultures in professional and community practice, The BOLD Festival will offer five days of workshops, performances, talks, forums and film showings during the Enlighten Festival from 8-12 March.

Speakers, performers and facilitators will include Meryl Tankard, Vicki van Hout, Dr Stephanie Burridge, Dr Garry Lester, Annie Greig, Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, Glen Murray and more.

I am in awe of dance elders,” says Artistic Director of BOLD Liz Lea. “As I get older myself, and am seeking a new way to keep performing – i.e. not throwing myself about so much – I look to people like Elizabeth Cameron Dalman as inspiration for longevity in a dance career. Often though, as we age, our voices are not heard as much or people see older artists as no longer relevant. This is not always the case of course but it does happen.”

Meryl. Image: Regis Lansac

Meryl Tankard. Image: Regis Lansac

“I also work in community dance alot and see the massive benefits and joy dance brings to so many older people. So, BOLD seemed timely and we have the support of such amazing partner institutions. This is a very Canberra story.”

Across four days, BOLD will bring together dance artists from a wide range of areas, cultures and countries, and through talks, performances, films and revivals of historic works, we explore their legacies, experiences and careers evolving with age.

The events themselves will take place in prestigious spaces such as the National Library of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, National Film and Sound Archive, Mirramu Creative Arts Centre and QL2 Dance Theatre, Gorman House Arts Centre. As to why the festival chose these spaces, Liz says it was “their experience, passion, wisdom, humour and the amazing connections that exist between them.”

Liz says that choosing a highlight to look forward to is a tough decision, however, the film showings with Meryl Tankard and Vicki van Hout, Evening with Elizabeth at the Portrait Gallery and performances on the weekend at QL2 Dance are her initial ‘not to miss’ picks.

Glen Murray. Image: Nicole Robson

Glen Murray. Image: Nicole Robson

“I am excited to have an amazing array of younger artists speaking about the work they are creating inspired by family, elders and country also,” she says. “That will be fun and rather tongue in cheek. I am also excited to have people visit Canberra during Enlighten. I think our city looks her best then!”

Interdisciplinarity practises will be explored through connections between movement, history multiculturalism and art, with an emphasis on Australian indigenous dance heritage.

As Liz says, “our present lies in our past – BOLD celebrates the changes that come with age.”

the essentials

What: The BOLD Festival
When: 8-12 March 2017
Where: A variety of spaces across Canberra. See program for more details

Feature image: Dom O’Donnell



Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author

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