WSDA APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR

Published on 27th Jan, 2009

It is with great excitement that the board of Western Sydney Dance Action appoints Olivia Ansell as their new director.

Olivia Ansell’s involvement over the past decade, as a producer, director, choreographer, teacher and performer, demonstrates her diversity and versatility within the NSW arts sector, making her a valuable asset to an organisation such as Western Sydney Dance Action. Sydney based and a graduate of Queensland University of Technology’s Academy of the Arts, her recent experience includes producing the inaugural season of Short Sweet+Dance 2007, launching the Fast+Fresh Dance series for WSDA in 2008, directing Short Sweet+Dance 2009 and producing, directing and choreographing a range of events and dance activities for companies, organizations and institutions such as Sydney Olympic Park Authority’s Kids in the Park, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Cracker Comedy Festival, Dreamworld Themepark, Entertainment Alliance, College of Fine Arts UNSW, Sceggs Redlands, The McDonald College, Ecole Dance Theatre, Luna Park and the Conservatorium of Music.

Western Sydney Dance Action is a not-for-profit organisation that develops and nurtures the cultural fabric of dance in Western Sydney and beyond. The WSDA mission is to provide support and mentorship across it’s four core areas-Dance Development, Artist Support, Education and Audience Development.

WSDA was established by founding director, Kathy Baykitch, in 2000 as a partnership between Ausdance NSW and Riverside Theatres-and in 2004 commenced as a non-profit association. Under Kathy’s visionary direction, WSDA created, mentored, supported, and produced numerous artistic programs and initiatives that have consolidated Western Sydney Dance Action as an incubator of dance activity and opportunity in Western Sydney. These projects include Dance Bites-an annual program that produces four works per year by emerging and established choreographers, Westbound-a work experience initiative for secondary school students, ConnectEd Workshop series for primary school teachers, Fast+Fresh Dance for aspiring young choreographers and most significantly the establishment of a newly renovated, permanent 5 studio complex in Parramatta City called the Connect Arcade.

After six years of lobbying by Kathy for much needed rehearsal space in western Sydney, Connect Arcade was given funding approval by former NSW arts minister, Frank Sartor, on the 12th June 2008.

Newly appointed director, Olivia Ansell, said, “I am looking forward to consolidating and expanding upon the achievements of WSDA to date, maintaining the nurturing and unwavering support of Riverside Theatres Parramatta as well as projecting a new, self sustainable vision and pathway for WSDA to move in to it’s next generation of dance development.”

By supporting the development of both new and established work, cultivating exchange between fellow emerging and established Independent practitioners, strengthening Western Sydney Dance Action’s relationships between established artists and organizations, and pursuing opportunities that enhance dance education and community participation -Ms Ansell believes she can further expand western Sydney’s reputation as a centre for excellence in dance facilitation.

The 2009 program shall deliver an exciting partnership with Kay Armstrong’s youth dance company, YouMove, who are taking permanent part-time residency at the Connect Arcade. YouMove will be presented as part of the annual Dance Bite series staged at Riverside Theatres, and plan to feature their work at neighbouring arts centres, various community events, showings and educational workshops.

Olivia Ansell will commence in the role part-time, whilst she fulfils her commitments as festival director of Short Sweet+Dance 2009, before commencing with Western Sydney Dance Action full-time at the end of March.

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