Austinmer Dance Theatre performers taking up residencies and performing at the Sydney Fringe Festival

GRACEFUL: Kate Arber will be heading to Shanghai while Carien McKerrell is performing at the Sydney Fringe Festival. Picture: Robert Peet
GRACEFUL: Kate Arber will be heading to Shanghai while Carien McKerrell is performing at the Sydney Fringe Festival. Picture: Robert Peet

Two performers from Austinmer Dance Theatre head to China on Wednesday for a prestigious four week international residency.

Kate Arber and Madi High were invited to perform at the Metamorphosis Dance Collective in collaboration with the Shanghai Dance Theatre Company.

The pair are part of an elite group of around 30 dancers chosen by renowned choreographers Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich.

It comes as the non-profit Illawarra company is celebrating more successes from their troupe.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for my personal life and career it’s a great,” Ms Arber said.

“I have another opportunity to experience new people in a new environment, still learning what I love which is dance, and having that ability to network with people around the world.”

Saraphina Irvin and Jack Tuckerman have been accepted to attend a three week residency in Valencia in Spain, Maddy Backen is heading to Israel for five months after being accepted into the highly acclaimed Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, while a number of dancers will be performing at the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Ms Arber said of her first year with the “Austi crew” that she loved the family feel of the group and loved being surrounded by so many like minded people.

Michelle Forte founded the company in 2011 to “bridge the gap” between full-time dance training, tertiary education and a professional dance career.

Only 16 dancers are on the books this year, all of whom were selected via audition and don’t pay thousands to be there.

After teaching in Sydney for two decades, Ms Forte saw too many talented dancers give it up after the culture shock of moving out of home and overseas once turning professional.

“I just wanted to have something closer to home these kids could do – that if they did it for a year and if they decided they didn’t want to do it, they’re not on the other side of the world and haven’t spent enormous amounts of money to find that out,” she said.

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