Dance on Darwin

Dance on Darwin


    Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin City

    October 16, 1988

    This project highlights the wide variety of community dance in Darwin. The artistic team consisted of dancers/choreographers Beth Shelton (guest from Melbourne), Maggi Phillips, Sarah Calver, and visual artist Tim Newth. This three-month project offered workshops in modern dance, choreographic skills, and visual design. The workshops focused on two performance events: Dance Feast on October 2 1988 and Dance on Darwin Day. Dance on Darwin was performed in and around the Darwin Entertainment Centre (formally Darwin Performing Arts Centre). This was a joint project of Brown’s Mart Community Arts Projects and the Australian Association of Dance Education NT (now Ausdance NT).

    Creative Personnel

    Coordinators: Sarah Calver, Maggi Philips, Tim Newth, and Beth Shelton
    Mistress of Ceremonies: Rebecca Riggs
    Video documenter: Phil Becker
    Technical crew: Tim Brown, Matthew James, Peter Twigg
    Historical Photo Display: Marilyn Coleman


    Outdoor performances

    • Betty Washington’s School of Ballet – Highland dance piper Jim Cameron
    • Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre - Puppets and windsocks from Black Rainbow. Corrugated Iron operates from Brown’s Mart and offers workshops and performance opportunities for people aged 8-25
    • Darwin Theatre Group – Gecko Puppet
    • Celebration Dancers – Prayer of St Francis. (Contact Jenny Green.) Christian Liturgical Dance. Celebration dances of St Peter’s Anglican Church have been functioning for the past two years and are an affiliation of Dance Fellowship of Australia
    • Dance Co-Op – Participation Folk Dance led by Sue Ross. This group was formed in 1986 as a result of workshops given by Gary Dawson
    • Darwin Dance Mob – Wall of Water, & Wall of Sound, from Dance Feast. (Contact Sarah Calver.) Dance Mob did their first full-scale production in 1978. They are a community dance group that performs original works
    • Italian Folk Group – Carnival (Contact Sylvia Costerelli)
    • Tang Soo Tao – Tai Chi Display (Contact Sam Brenthal) Tang Soo has been teaching martial Arts in Darwin for 16 years, covering self-defence, yoga, meditation, Taoist philosophy, Tai Chi Chuan, and Tibetan meditations. They are affiliated with His Holiness The Dali Lama, the King of Tibet

    Foyer Performance

    • NT Scottish Association Country Dance group – The reel of the 51st Division, and Fraser's Favourite (Contact Judy Brock). Operating for three years and a subsidiary of the NT Scottish Association Inc.
    • Darwin Dance Academy – Swing Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Lucille Waltz. (Contact Lyn Skenner)
    • Darwin Dance Mob – Flower Wall from Dance Feast: Lendyll Fyson, Willis Gerrig, Glad Morris, Gail Morris, Wendy James, Jocelyn Perkins, Marie Porter, Joy Soullier, Elsie Thompson, Pat Townsend, Margaret Whight. Singers – The Star Piquettes

    During Interval

    • Filipino Cultural Group – Kuratsa, a Spanish courtship dance. (Contact Judith Ventic)
    • Wandering Stock – Kate Claire and Rachael Swain

    Theatre Performance

    • Maori Cultural Group (Contact Fay Draper)
    • Darwin School Of Ballet – Almost Mozart, choreographed by Michelle Forbes. This school has been going for 15 years with classes in Ballet, National and Modern.
    • Dance Co-Op – Adult Group – Avant Deux Travers (Brittany, France) A dance using Hungarian steps. Never on a Sunday, based on Greek steps.
    • Robeson Dance Studio – Samba, Cha Cha, Jive (Contact Helen Robeson) The studio has been operating in Darwin for the past 3 years, promoting ballroom dancing.
    • Casuarina Dance Ensemble – Ten nine eight seven. Choreographed by Sarah Calver and the group. Year 11 & 12 students at Casuarina Secondary College
    • Fiji Dance and Cultural Group (Contact Lavinia) – Meke In, Fijian fan dance. Usually performed by ladies and on this occasion by Adi, this dance celebrates a safe return of warriors from a tribal war. Meke Wesi, usually performed by men and today by Francis, it is an enactment of a great battle
    • Palmerston School of Ballet (Contact Jan Hedenig) Opened in 1984, teaches Cecchetti Classical, Ethnic, ISTD, Modern, tap, and Jazz
    • Scottish Country Dance Society (Contact Angus Henry) Loch Erichtside – Australian ladies. Group was founded in January 1988 and is dedicated to furthering and teaching Scottish Country Dancing
    • Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre – two excerpts from Black Rainbow – Desert Dane, and Finale
    • Timor Loro-Sae East Timorese Cultural Group. (Contact Mrs Montiero) Loo Sae, Saeaka – snake dance
    • Italian Folk Group – Tarantella for Sylvia, Taormina in Feste
    • Howard Springs School of Ballet (Contact Yvonne McDonnell) Classical Dance, Portuguese Folk Dance.
    • Irish Dance Academy (Contact Anne Todd)
    • Indian Classical Dance. Dancer Rukshana Ramachandran. This is one of several forms of Indian Dance. It describes the pranks of the childhood of divine Lord Krishna, first as a childhood of a mother, and then as a cowherd, and then omnipotent God commanding the spellbound devotions of Saints and Devotees
    • Tang Soo Tao


    • Darwin Dance Mob – Flame Wall from Dance Feast. Music Composed by Scott Trenwith
    • Ravenscrag Highland Dancing H.D.A. NT
    • Betty Washington School of Ballet – Masques and Cossacks
    • Dance Co-Op – Juniors Darwin High School Class. (Contact Patricia Smitheyman.) Hora Zemer, Tzadic Katama, Tserva Tserva. (Israel)
    • Bev Cowan’s School of Ballet
    • Just Us – Kayleigh/Lavander Blue. Performed by Emma Fowler and Julie Horn
    • Betty Washington School of Ballet – Anchors Aweigh
    • Sri Lankan Dance Group (Contact Mala Wijenayake) – Sigiriya Maiden’s Dance, usually performed at the palace in the presence of Kings and Queens of Ancient Sri Lanka.
    • Dance Connection (Contact Debbie Hatton) Medley Modern, Tap, Jazz. Formed on March 1st 1980, now Darwin’s only full-time professionally equipped dance centre. Over 60 classes weekly. The studio teaches all styles and employs fully qualified teachers.
    • Bev Cowan’s School of Ballet
    • Darwin Dance - Time Studio (Contact Steven Farrawel) medley of New Vogue – English Old time dances. The group formed in 1987
    • Betty Washington School of Ballet – Hungarian dances
    • Greek School Community Group (Contact Juliette Sellies) Who Pays the Ferryman?

    Thank you

    To all the dancers, teachers and organizers for their contribution and enthusiastic support. To the Performing Arts Centre office and technical staff for making our “home’ for the project such a haven. To Brown’s Mart Community Arts Project, Arts Council, National Arts Week – Stephanie and Kelly, Darwin Theatre Group, Frida, Migrant Resource Centre, Marilyn Coleman, Australian Association of Dance, Mary Crabbe, Jo Harrison, Ryan, Leanne, Mailin Chan, Janet Robertson, Helen Haritos, Ron Calvere, Cheree Simms-Farmer, Kaye Dyson, Dino Hodge, Jacqui Yard, Meredith and Andrea, Vaughan, Phil Becker, Lil Gerner, Margaret Brickhill, Richard Andrews, Jo Harrison, Scott Spencer, Conrad Page, Anna Phillips, and Alex Bridge.

    Funding Bodies

    This project was generously funded by the Australia Council and the Department of Health and Community Services.


    Dance Development Office: Sarah Calver

    [Under Brown’s Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]


    Photographer Unknown: Back Centre: Beth Shelton choreographer
    Photographer Unknown: Including Sarah Calver, Tim Newth (Front Centre)
    Photographer Unknown: (l-r) J Bird, ?(lift), Sarah Calver
    Photographer Unknown: Older Adults Group

    Explore Further

    Participation Projects

    Iconic Tracks Works

    Older Adults Home Page

    Eras of Youth Dance

    A Culturally Diverse Voice


    Dance on Darwin is a celebration of the strength, richness and diversity of dance in Darwin. The dance of many cultures and styles will be performed together, both numbers and quality showing that dance is alive, well and a thriving part of our community. The day culminated in the Dance on Darwin project.

    “There is a lot happening here and individual groups suddenly all have respect for what the others are doing.”  Stephanie Francis NT News Oct 6th 1988

    “Discovering how much my body loves me when I am using it creatively.”  Kerry

    “I am past the days of having stars in my eyes but it has put a glimmer in them.”  Glad Morris – Dance Mob Older Adults, (later became the Grey Panthers)

    “This makes me feel that although we are old we are not past it.”  Pat

    Tracks Dance Company Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

    Tracks Inc is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

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