Australia Council Media Release
KAGE unfunded in Australia Council’s recent four-year funding announcement
“KAGE is a wonderful company that has always broken new ground in the development of dance and physical theatre” David McAllister - Artistic Director, The Australian Ballet
Celebrated and award-winning dance theatre company KAGE, is one of several key Australian arts companies to have had its federal funding cut by the Australia Council.
The funding covers operational activity for the company which allows KAGE to employ five on-going staff, maintain an office at the Abbotsford Convent and be able to plan for the future with security and stability.
On the cusp of KAGE’s twentieth birthday, the company is at its strongest having had two different works recently premiere at both the 2014 Melbourne Festival and 2014 Sydney Festival as well as its international debut in Helsinki, Finland in 2015. KAGE has created over 20 new works and employed more than 110 artists and 106 creative collaborators. Over the last 19 years KAGE has continued to ‘rethink dance’ reaching a broad audience, including those who may not have attended a contemporary dance performance previously.
As one of the earliest contemporary dance companies to form in Australia, they are known for their originality of ideas and artistic focus. They collaborate across cultures and disciplines to create works of skill, beauty and irreverence that are rich in ideas and resonate deeply with diverse audiences. KAGE has performed in every corner of Australia. They have presented their works in 78 different venues ranging from art galleries, nightclubs, traditional theatres and outdoor locations. With an ongoing commitment to fostering the next generation of Australian talent, KAGE has mentored 37 emerging artists and arts facilitators.
KAGE is one of many arts companies who have lost funding due to the decrease in the Australia Council budget. With Force Majeure and Legs On The Wall included in the cuts, the future of dance theatre as an artform in Australia is under threat. Small to medium companies play a critical part in the overall arts ecology with the ability to be innovative, push boundaries and take risks when creating new works. These companies also provide opportunities for independent artists. The announcement that KAGE has lost its Australia Council Organisation funding comes at a critical time for KAGE. The company is about to embark on rehearsals for a new work called Out of Earshot, as well as a creative development collaborating with Aboriginal artists and Sámi artists from Northern Norway.
The Chair of the Board of Directors of KAGE, Fabienne Michaux says, “One of KAGE’s most significant achievements has been proving that live performance can tackle taboo topics with great grace. It is very distressing that recent Government policies will have a such a significant impact on this incredible and vibrant company”.
Kate Denborough and Gerard Van Dyck established the company in 1997. Their creative partnership is based on a shared desire to push the boundaries of dance and physicality with irreverence and humour. KAGE creates performances that relate and respond to current social thinking and strive to develop an unparalleled and distinctive sensibility, style and aesthetic for dance theatre.
KAGE Ambassador Eddie Perfect said, “I've been a proud Ambassador and long time advocate and admirer of KAGE. The innovative works they produce constantly push the boundaries of dance, drama, technology and cultural inclusion. Whether they're developing work with Indigenous communities, senior citizens or cultures from across the globe, KAGE makes smart, progressive, high quality work that enriches the Australian cultural landscape."
KAGE collaborator Michael Leunig said, "Small companies like KAGE bring vitality, originality and inspiration - AS WELL as excellence. I have witnessed this process in my work with KAGE. I have watched these dancers create and work and offer. I believe in this healthy process and know it to be essential. This is why they matter ".
KAGE is currently seeking support for the development of their latest work directed by Kate Denborough. Out of Earshot will feature a profoundly Deaf dancer as well as a renowned contemporary jazz musician and explore the power of non-verbal language, intense physicality and the role that sound plays within communication. Donations can be made at: https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/out-of-earshot/
For further enquiries, images and interview requests please contact:
Clare McKenzie, Executive Produce
P: +61 3 9417 6700
M: +61 408 107 085