From 4-10 July, AYDF‘21 will bring together over 130 young dance artists and 40 professional dance artists and educators at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in the heart of Melbourne’s vibrant Arts precinct.

Internationally acclaimed, Australian choreographers, Caitlin Comerford and Kyall Shanks will be Co-Artistic Directors for AYDF 2021. They will create a program of excellence around three curatorial themes (RE)GENERATE, (RE)IGNITE and, (RE)CONNECT. Kyall and Caitlin both have a strong connection to youth dance culture and bring both energy and experience to the role.

“It’s exciting for me to be involved with AYDF ’21. I’ve been working in youth dance for about five years but directing a festival is a brand-new thing,” says Caitlin.

COVID-19 has created uncertainty for many young people regarding their careers and hopes for the future, and the Australian Youth Dance Festival 2021 aims to reignite the creativity and confidence of young, emerging dance artists and the professional allies who work with and support them.

Kyall Shanks says that during the COVID restrictions of last year young people had almost no say in how their lives were being directed. “I feel like they involuntarily lost their autonomy a little bit,” Kyall says and adds “I’m looking forward to helping young dancers to find their voice again through their art and their community.”

Subsidised ticketing

Ausdance VIC is offering five fully funded scholarships to Melbourne based youth contemporary dancers who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or First Nations. Applications for this scholarship will be made public on our website in the coming weeks.

Eligible attendees can also access a Victorian government subsidy to purchase tickets to the festival via the Get Active Kids Program which helps families get their kids involved in organised sport and recreation activities by reimbursing some costs. Eligible children aged between 4 and 18 may be able to receive up to $200 each.

Get Active Kids is administered by the Victorian government, information about eligibility and applications is available from Get Active Victoria. The AYDF falls within the timeframe of Round 2, claims can be lodged between 31 May and 11 July.