Australian Dance Party is Canberra's new dance company
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Australian Dance Party is Canberra's new dance company

The Australian Dance Party is here and wants your vote.

No, it's not a new fringe political group standing for the upcoming ACT election. The Dance Party (slogan: "toe the party line") is actually Canberra's first new contemporary dance company for years.

Alison Plevey with dancers Janine Proost, Liz Lea and Gabriel Comerford.

Alison Plevey with dancers Janine Proost, Liz Lea and Gabriel Comerford.Credit:Jamila Toderas

It's led by choreographer and performer Alison Plevey, who has been working on the project for the past two years.

"It started with an initiation from myself and some potential supporters... [for] the development of a professional dance company, which we haven't had for a number of years here in Canberra," she said. "They were very interested to know why we don't have a company and how that might happen."

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The Dance Party was launched at Hotel Hotel on August 3 with performances, food and music, and will debut its first performance later in August - a work called Strings Attached which is a collaboration with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra at NewActon.

The company name is a play on Canberra's political identity but also an invitation to have fun. Plevey says the Australian Dance Party will perform quirky, playful works in collaboration with everyone from neuroscientists to the airport.

She wants the company to be a home for talented Canberra dancers. "We definitely have the resources and the people who are wanting to work as professional dancers but don't because there's not the platform or not the work," she says.

And she wants to contribute towards the city's growing cultural scene.

"We have a creative voice, we're not just consumers of culture but we are creators of it and it's been that sense that we're still a burgeoning city, we don't really have our own identity or kind of a muddled identity," she says.

"But there's such a wealth of diversity of artists here. So for me the dance party is about bringing dance out, out of the theatre, connecting with other facets of our world and in that sense reinstating its value."

The company is supported by the Molonglo Group, which developed the Nishi building and the arty Hotel Hotel. Director Jonathan Efkarpidis said he had admired dance as an art form for a long time and praised Plevey's work, saying it was entertaining and thought provoking.

"I've always admired the Sydney Dance Company and thought it would be really interesting to have something like this here," he says. "I think Canberra's got some really good talent [but] we're bad at showing it."

The Australian Dance Party performs Strings Attached on August 25-27 at NewActon. See australiandance.party

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