Raewyn Hill appointed as Artistic Director of the Contemporary Dance Company of Western Australia — 26.09.14

The Contemporary Dance Company of Western Australia (CDWA) today announced the appointment of Raewyn Hill as its first Artistic Director.

The Contemporary Dance Company of Western Australia (CDCWA) today announced the appointment of Raewyn Hill as its first Artistic Director. 

The CDCWA is a vibrant, new contemporary dance company that seeks to reinvigorate the conversation about, and experience of, contemporary dance and use its unique structure to support and inspire the development of contemporary dance, dancers and dance culture. The CDCWA will also integrate the best elements of the Buzz Dance Theatre and STEPS Youth Dance Company.

Wendy Wise, Chair of the CDCWA, said, "I am delighted to appoint someone with Ms Hill's celebrated talent and recognition as our first Artistic Director. The appointment of Helpmann Award nominated Ms Hill is a crucial step in the CDCWA's launch, as it seeks to reposition the art-form in the state.

"Ms Hill's work has been programmed and presented worldwide to critical acclaim during a career spanning nearly 25-years. Her experience will give us the artistic impetus we need to develop and launch the CDCWA's inaugural season in mid-2015," said Ms Wise.

Ms Hill will be responsible for developing an innovative and distinctive vision to underpin the CDCWA's year round artistic programme and for curating, commissioning and creating world-class works. Her appointment will inject choreographic innovation, enable collaboration with other choreographers and artistic companies and help to attract and retain the best contemporary dancers.

"Ms Hill has choreographed, directed and taught in cities across the world, including Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, New York, Moscow and Tokyo. Her commitment to innovation and embracing change stood out during the national and international search for a new Artistic Director. Her ability to engage the sector and inspire new audiences will help the CDCWA enrich the community and promote a sense of connection to contemporary dance," continued Ms Wise.

"Alongside her main-stage work, Ms Hill has a reputation for developing innovative dance programmes that link the company with the community. This will be vital as CDCWA seeks to contribute to the national cultural environment, gain international recognition and provide exciting new employment opportunities for dancers."

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said the appointment represented another significant milestone in the development of the Contemporary Dance Company of WA.

Founding supporter, Michael Chaney, said that he was excited about the formation of the new company and the appointment of Raewyn Hill.

"The re-establishment of a professional contemporary dance company in Western Australia is long overdue after a 20 year gap. Creativity drives progress and there is no greater source of creativity than in the performing arts," said Mr Chaney.

Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director at the Sydney Dance Company, said, "It's the ideal launch springboard! The company, with its solid foundations and world-class aspirations, is launching itself with the perfect director at the helm. This is such a fantastic opportunity for West Australia; they should be both excited and proud. We look forward to building a strong relationship across the Nullabor with them."

Ms Hill joins CDCWA after five years as Artistic Director of Dancenorth. Before this, Ms Hill choreographed and taught at a number of the world's leading institutions, including The Juilliard School (New York), Beijing Dance Academy (China), New Zealand School of Dance (New Zealand), Western Australian Academy for Performing Arts (Perth). Her early career included leading her own company, Soapbox Productions / Raewyn Hill and Dancers. Her screen performance and choreography credits include Xena, Rude Awakenings, Lost World, Virtuosi and as an advisor for New Zealand's So You Think You Can Dance.

For the last two years, Dancenorth has been nominated in the Australian Dance Awards for Best Company (Abandon, 2014), Services to Education (2013) and Best Community and Education Program (Small Dances/Big Stories, 2013). In 2013, Ms Hill was also recognised in the Top 50 Most Influential People in North Queensland and was made a Queensland Cultural Champion by the Queensland Government. In 2012, Ms Hill received a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Ballet or Dance Work for her creation MASS.

Ms Hill graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) in 1992 with the award for the Best All Round Student. Her commitment to dance in New Zealand was recognised in 2002 when she was distinguished on the NZSD Honours Board.

MoveMe.org.au is your one-stop-shop for contemporary dance in WA - watch this space for more information and announcements about CDCWA.

Press release as published on moveme.org.nz