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A celebration of dance: DanceSurance IGNITE by VDF brings Victoria back to the stage

After an unbelievably tough year for dancers all across Australia – and the world – the idea of getting back onstage is more exciting than ever. With this in mind, Victorian Dance Festival’s (VDF) organisers have forged ahead with a brand new event at a COVID-safe venue, determined to give dancers the chance to do what they love once again. For one night only, Victorian dance studios and companies will join forces to reignite the industry with DanceSurance Ignite, at Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre’s Plenary Theatre.

Dancers from Transit Dance
Onstage at VDF 2019.
Dancers from Transit Dance
perform at VDF 2019.

VDF is a major event on every Aussie dancer’s calendar year-on-year, and the disappointment of postponing the last event until October this year was felt by all. So while we waited, the VDF team brainstormed to find something they were still able to do. They came up with Ignite, a Victoria-based gala, as their way of giving back to the dance community they love.

“Our dance family was hit so hard by the restrictions of the last year,” explains VDF Director Deborah Searle. “It’s just been heart-breaking. Although we can’t hold the VDF festivities in their entirety just yet, we can bring everyone together to present a gala and show the world how vibrant and talented our community is, so here we go! We want to reignite, re-energise and reconnect the dance industry. We can’t wait to celebrate dance and give everyone a chance to shine again!”

VDF Artistic Director Yvette Lee is thrilled to be able to reunite with the studios and companies she usually works with at the festival. “I can’t wait to catch up with everyone at VDF’s new Ignite showcase,” she says. “After a year of solitude, it will be such a special night to all come together and dance!” 

Dancers from Patrick School of the Arts Onstage at VDF 2019.
Dancers from Patrick School of the Arts at VDF 2019.

Connection is, after all, the essence of VDF. The festival has always been about inclusion and community, rather than competition. Ignite is very much the spirit of VDF, in a different format. And, with 36 acts and almost 1000 dancers participating, it’s doing its job at bringing everyone together.

Kelly Aykers, who is one of Ignite’s sponsors, and whose full time and casual students are performing in Ignite, is grateful for some progress along the path toward normality. “This past year has been tough on all of us,” she explains. “Ignite is the first step of our Victorian dance community coming back together. Dancers are resilient and dedicated performers, and I believe with producers like VDF providing such great opportunities to our students, our businesses will once again thrive. A huge thank you to Deb and all her team.”

The VDF team knew that finding the perfect venue to host such a large-scale event was the key to making it happen. The state-of-the-art MCEC Plenary features a 22-metre wide stage and fabulous views from every seat. It’s also COVID-safe, and every booking automatically allows for seats either side to facilitate social distancing. And, despite the venue’s vast size, tickets are selling fast, so Victorians hoping to support the festival and its performers should get in quick.

Book tickets for Ignite at www.vdf.com.au/ignite.

DanceSurance Ignite will feature performances from:

  • Patrick School of the Arts
  • Kelly Aykers Full Time Dance
  • Transit Dance
  • Spectrum Dance
  • Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance
  • Lion Heart Dance Company
  • Origins Dance Company
  • Scimm Dance Company
  • Indefinite Dance Company
  • The Legacy & Co
  • HD Dance
  • The Academy of Classical Ballet
  • Melbourne Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA)
  • Platforms Youth Company
  • Dance Nation Academy
  • Melbourne Dance Theatre
  • Kelly Aykers Casual Dance
  • Gisborne Dance Academy
  • Sally’s School of Performing Arts
  • Dance Machine
  • KADS
  • Instyle Dance Company
  • WestEnd Performing Arts
  • Karen Feldman’s Dance Studio
  • Evolution program from Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance
  • Mel’s Dance Central
  • That Dance Place
  • Aspect Motion School of Dance
  • Tenacity Entertainment
  • The Rage Dance Company
  • Patrick School of the Arts Academy
  • Michelle Rae School of Dance
  • The Dance Company (TDC)
  • ShowBiz Performing Arts Studios
  • Gotta Dance Studio
  • Step in Time Studio of Dance
  • Concept Studios of Performing Arts
  • LFK Dance and Gym

VDF would like to thank presenting sponsor DanceSurance for their generous support. For more information, visit www.dancesurance.com.

Thank you also to VDF major sponsors Energetiks, Show Works and Dance Informa; Gold Sponsors Performance Arts Awards, Dance Forever and Jump Dance Challenge; and Silver Sponsors Spectrum Dance and Kelly Aykers Full Time Dance. Thank you also to VDF photographer Belinda Strodder.

Book tickets for Ignite at www.vdf.com.au/ignite.

By Emily Newton-Smith of Dance Informa.

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