Making Radically Local Dance
Tracks Dance Company is located in Garamilla (Darwin) on Gulumerrdjin (Larrakia) Country in the NT and produces original and contemporary dance works that celebrate the place and the people who call the Northern Territory home. A multi-awarded centre of excellence, Tracks is a hub of expertise in community dance built on an extended history of trusted community collaboration. Tracks is an innovator, developing Australian dance that values and utilises a diversity of dance practice.
Tracks Dance Company celebrates the Northern Territory of Australia through: People - their stories, truths and diverse heritage; Place - Darwin with the deserts of Central Australia to the south, and the tropics of South East Asia to the north; Spirit - the vitality of a living culture enriched by traditional and contemporary life.
Bringing people together and adding value to their lives, Tracks offers audiences an opportunity to gain a personal insight into their local world, challenging and exposing them to new experiences – much like the Territory itself.
Enter one of our spectacular outdoor theatres; fashioned from WWII ruins, the canopies of giant rain-trees, rooftop car parks, or a basketball court in a remote desert community. See dancers drawn from the unique cultural mix of people who call the Territory home; from head-spinning breakers and funky contemporary movers to showgirl grannies and ochre painted elders. Sometimes a performance may reflect one central focus such as youth, Indigenous, seniors, or diverse cultures, while at other times Tracks explores the way that diversity sits side by side, and walks hand in hand in our world.
Tracks prides itself on working with local artists and investing in the development and employment of the local arts industry through a broad range of opportunities including choreographic development programs, studio residencies and showings, training, mentoring, volunteerism, community performances and signature dance productions.
A great strength of Tracks has been the artistic talent and collective skills of the Artistic Co-Directors, Tim Newth AM and David McMicken AM, who consistently produced excellent work for almost three decades. They approached the making of their work through a multi-arts lens, backing up their skills in dance, visual arts and design, drama, music, and literature. They use performance to inspire a wide range of Territorians of diverse cultural backgrounds: from youth through to the elderly, city to remote community.
David and Tim's extraordinary ability to work collaboratively was honed since the early 1990's. This is a core value of their creative process.
David McMicken has training in education, dance, theatre, literature and music and has had a successful career as a performer and director, founding several companies along the way. He has lived and worked in the Territory since 1991.
Tim Newth trained as a visual artist and moved into being a director who works in dance, theatre, and community arts. Based in Darwin since 1988, Tim is well known for creating spectacular outdoor performances in diverse spaces that connect people, place and culture. Tim retired from Tracks in mid 2023 but has continued to work on special projects.
2023 - After Tim Newth's retirement the Artistic Directorship was maintained by David McMicken. In 2022, long-term Tracks choreographer, dancer, and collaborator, Jess Devereux, took on the role of Associate Artistic Director.
In 1988 two community dance projects - Dance On Darwin, and a tour to the remote community of Lajamanu, brought together the creative skills of Tim Newth - a freelance visual artist and Sarah Calver - the Community Dance Development Officer at Brown's Mart Community Arts, and previous dancer with Feats Unlimited dance company. When David McMicken stepped off the plane from Melbourne at Darwin airport in 1991 he was overwhelmed by the sense of having arrived ‘home’ and he was soon working in collaboration with Tim and Sarah. Now with the addition of a new voice, the journey toward a uniquely Northern Territorian performing arts company continued.
In 1992 David took on the role of Community Dance Officer at Brown’s Mart Community Arts, a role he shared with Sarah, and naturally, with Darwin’s cultural makeup, many dance projects and collaborations with local cultural groups followed. In 1993 the community dance program was renamed to Tracks Dance Collective, with five founding members: Sarah Calver, David McMicken, Tim Newth, Berenice Franklin, and Lisa Campbell, (later becoming Tracks Dance Company).
Tracks produced its first Iconic Work 4WD Sweat Dust and Romance in 1997; an extraordinary full-length dance performance drawing together professional and community dancers in a show of skill, wit and diversity that celebrated what it was to be local. In 1998, the company was moved from Brown’s Mart Community Arts and in 1999, we incorporated as Tracks Inc., starting our journey as an independent legal organisation. Upon Tim's retirement in 2023, the company moved into a new collaborative artistic leadership model with David McMicken as Artistic Director and Jess Devereux as Associate Artistic Director.
Tracks produce exceptional performances of a high artistic standard and is nationally recognised as an innovative developer of a unique Australian dance idiom.
- Nominated 2000 Northern Territory Human Rights Awards for work with refugees and migrants, Sticks ‘n’ Stones project.
- Awarded 2004 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award
- Shortlisted 2007 Australian Dance Awards Services to Dance - David McMicken and Tim Newth
- Winner 2009 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth or Community Dance. Struck
- Winner 2009 Australian Business Arts Foundation Giving Award: South Australia Northern Territory - Milpirri
- Shortlisted 2011 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth or Community Dance. The Cook, The Queen and the Kelly
- Winner 2013 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth or Community Dance. Eight to Eighty - the Architecture of Age
- 2014 David McMicken and Tim Newth made Members (AM) in the general division of the Order of Australia.
- Shortlisted 2014 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth or Community Dance. Zombies in the Banyan Tree.
- Winner 2015 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance. Milpirri (Jardawanpa)
- Shortlisted 2017 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance. Landed
- Shortlisted 2017 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance. Milpirri - Kirdiji
- 2017 Finalist, Australian of the Year - Northern Territory. David McMicken and Tim Newth
- Winner 2018 Australian Dance Award, Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance. Man Made
- Winner 2019 Australian Dance Award, Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance. In Your Blood
- Winner 2021 Best Experimental Film, Fist full of Films for Homebodies
To find a full list and links to Tracks publications and writings, click here
Tracks Committee of Management is comprised of highly skilled and talented people, all of whom have a strong commitment to the work and philosophy of Tracks.
Chairperson: Max Dewa Stretton
Treasurer: Glenn Bernardin
Ordinary Members: David Taylor, Venaska Cheliah, Andrea Wicking, Rachael Wallis, Ken Conway AM, Lachlan Peattie, Anna Lindsay
Ex-Officio: David McMicken AM
Warlpiri First Nations Adviser: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
We greatly thank our generous donors - Click here for the list
If you wish to speak with us in confidence about the options and opportunities available to you relating to a gift or bequest to Tracks Dance Company, please contact our Administrator Debbie Micairain on (08) 8941 1410.
Agnès Michelet, Clancy Breasley, Sarah Calver, Ken Conway, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Paul Wan, Glad Morris (dec), Heather Richards, Sue Mornane, Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick, Fiona Carter, Betchay Mondragon, Suzanne Fermanis, Jill Macandrew, Sally Thomas, Susan Congreve, Kelly Blumberg.
Tracks Dance Company wishes to acknowledge and thank the following Sponsors for their commitment and generosity. Their support enables us to produce exceptional performances built on an extended history of trusted community collaborations. Our performances celebrate an important part of Australian culture – the frontier of the Northern Territory.