Austinmer dancers make national AUSDANCE finals

Dance success: Michelle Forte with Austinmer Dance Theatre performers in May. Picture: Greg Ellis.
Dance success: Michelle Forte with Austinmer Dance Theatre performers in May. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Austinmer Dance Theatre has been named one of four national finalists in the Outstanding Performance in Youth Dance category of the AUSDANCE 2018 Australian Dance Awards.

The Wollongong not-for-profit run by Michelle Forte has secured national finalist status for its 2017 Sydney Fringe season of UNREAL. 

Ms Forte was told the good news in a congratulatory email from the judging panel.

She was told selection process had been long and arduous this year because of the high standard set during the last 12 months.

“It was very competitive, so your achievement as one of the four finalists in your category is outstanding”.

Ms Forte said it was wonderful news for everyone involved in Austinmer Dance Theatre.

“We are beside ourselves with excitement,” she said. 

Most of the dancers who work with Ms Forte aspire to perform with the top Australian and European companies. And there is some more good news to share this month.

“We have three company members heading overseas very soon after being accepted via audition, into elite level residencies,” she said.

There was som more good news in June when Austinmer Dance Theatre was successful in applying to perform at the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Emerging dancers from all over Australia come to Wollongong for the opportunity Ms Forte provides.

That included her recently enlisting the help of three internationally renowned choreographers in a new production called Connect for the rising dance stars aged between 16 and 23.

“We bridge the gap between full time training, tertiary education and the professional career,” Ms Forte said.

“They are not students. They are dancers who are just about to turn professional. We call ourselves and professional company. I have had a lot of people say to me I should base the company in Sydney but I am determined to keep it in Wollongong. I grew up here. There are a lot of dance schools in the area and I just think it is really important”.

“We have three dancers from Queensland, one from Victoria, two from Nowra, six from Sydney and six from Wollongong. The interstate people all move here specifically to work with the company after they successfully audition.”