Dance in Australia

Ceremonial dancing has a very important place in the Indigenous cultures of Australia. They vary from place to place, but most ceremonies combine dance, song, rituals and often elaborate body decorations and costumes. The different body paintings indicate the type of ceremony being performed. They play an important role in marriage ceremonies, in the education of Indigenous children, as well as story telling and oral history. The term corroboree is commonly used to refer to Australian Aboriginal dances, although this term has its origins among the people of the Sydney region. In some places, Aboriginal people perform corroborees for tourists. In the latter part of the 20th century the influence of Indigenous Australian dance traditions has been seen with the development of concert dance, with the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) providing training in contemporary dance.

The Australian bush dance, which draws on traditions from English, Irish, Scottish and other European dance styles, is also a common community activity. Favourite dances include the Irish Céilidh "Pride of Erin" and the quadrille "The Lancers". Locally originated dances include the "Waves of Bondi", the Melbourne Shuffle and New Vogue.

The Australian Ballet is the foremost classical ballet company in Australia. It began in 1962 and is today recognised as one of the world's major international ballet companies. It is based in Melbourne and performs works from the classical repertoire as well as contemporary works by major Australian and international choreographers.


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