Participation Projects

Participation Projects

Get On The Dance Floor

People dance with Tracks for so many different reasons. Some want to feel alive in their bodies, others feel they have something to say, while some want to be dancers and choreographers as a career. At Tracks we believe that everyone should have the chance to enjoy dancing, making dance, and to creatively participate in the development of their own local culture. The Tracks Participation Program is about engaging in dance as a whole of life activity and presenting it publicly. This program provides diverse opportunities to be involved in a project at Tracks; everything from large-scale one-off participatory performances to smaller pop-up performances, and even the chance to be seen on stage at some of Darwin's largest events.

Tracks Youth Dancers, Vera Tabuzo (front) - Arafura Games Opening. Photo Palm Photographics

Tracks and the Brown's Mart Era

From 1988-1997 Tracks dance was operating as the Brown’s Mart Community Arts Community Dance Program, (taking on the name Tracks in 1994). During this time, we were in close association with the other Brown’s Mart community program areas including Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre, Fringe Festival, Community Arts Projects, Indigenous Residencies, Multicultural Arts, Music Therapy, and the community newspaper Lightning Times. This allowed the Dance Development Officers, (firstly Sarah Calver, and then joined by David McMicken), to work across the various programs and with many different groups. We were also able to maintain our dance specific classes and performances run through the weekly Darwin Dance Mob classes for children, teenagers, adults, and older adults, and Local Troupe for trained dancers. Many performance opportunities were created to allow for full community participation. For most of these, it was about getting as many dancers and groups to present their work in showcase situations.

Dorethea Randall and David McMIcken - Yipirinya After the Rain. Photo Tim Newth

Dance on Darwin saw 41 dance groups perform at the Darwin Performing Arts Centre. While community residencies in Lajamanu (a remote Indigenous Community), Jabiru (a mining town on the edge of Kakadu National Park), and at the Yipirinya indigenous School in Alice Springs gave people outside Darwin chance to join in the fun of dancing.

Many classes and workshops were taught in various schools around Darwin, often leading to short performances at various events, including Open House and Mixtures at the Mart.

Participation Relationship Performance

We often say 'our company is our community'.  We want our company to reflect our community's makeup; be that age, culture, ability, or social interest. Having a whole of life approach to dance and making ourselves actively aware of the many diverse dance voices and languages in Darwin means we actively make sure of this inclusion.

When someone participates in a Tracks activity this is the start of a relationship. It is from this relationship that new performance grows. Most performers within a Tracks show volunteer to perform, exploring their passion to be a part of something. They choose to give up their time to be part of an artistic process, led and shaped by Tracks Artistic Directors and Dance Animateurs. 

Love Vs Gravity - Bradley Alderson (Ben Tyler), Bart Robertson, David Taylor, Glenn Bernardin and Neil Ludvigson. Photo Therese Ritchie

Warlpiri dance from the Tanami desert, Balinese hand and eye movement, street Breakdance, or contemporary forms of release and improvisation are all informers of our making process, and deepen the dance language of a Tracks show. Our diverse community people's personal heritage and lineage shape and drive content. If you are a young person you are an expert at being young, as is a 70-year-old grandmother expert at knowing how an old person moves. When you have the real thing in your neighbourhood, why not work with them to add their story to our living culture.

Early shows like Dance Feast, Tracks and Clusters, and Thru Moves bring together individuals and groups, people who maybe linked by age or culture. Social awareness issues have led to the drawing of participants and artistic vision together in performances like Bodies of Light and Love Vs Gravity, performed on World Aids Day.

Tracks Iconic works grow from participation united with artistic vision.

Core to Our Practice

Tracks incorporated in 1999. We had moved away from Brown's Mart Community Arts and were working from Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts. Very soonafter, we moved to multi-year funding from both the Northern Territory and Federal Governments. We entered a new phase where we were in charge of our own programming. Participation remained a core element of our practice. By 2003 we had our own dance studio for the first time. With the employment of Dance Animateurs from 2001, we were able to create our own participatory classes and workshops, provide pop-up performance opportunities and head into large-scale dance projects such as Big Dance, Tracktivation, and En Masse.

Big Dance CBD Darwin - Kate Dyer, Francisca Kleinebeck and Jenni Sanderson. Photo Duane Preston

In 2018 Tracks moved to Harbour Veiw Plaza giving birth to a new era of partication for the company. New projects like the Dead Singers Dance Society and old ones like the Grey Panthers fill our new studio with people and the joy of dancing with others.

Tracks Dance Company Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Tracks Inc is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

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