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Dance Rites 2020 will take place online in November. Registrations are now closed. 

Due to COVID-19 and the safety of our communities, artists and staff, it has been decided that Dance Rites 2020 will be an online digital competition.

Enter Dance Rites 2020

What is Dance Rites?

Dance Rites is Australia’s national Indigenous dance competition which aims to ensure important cultural knowledge including language, dance, skin markings and instruments is shared from one generation to the next. 

In 2020, a gathering of dance groups from across the nation will come together to share their traditional culture and compete for a $20,000 prize. 

The runner up will receive a prize of $5,000, and the group with the highest scored Wildcard Dance will receive a prize of $3,000. Finally, the Rites of Passage prize, acknowledges a groups commitment to revitalising knowledge and practice, and celebrates the transfer of knowledge between generations. The Rites of Passage Winner will receive a prize of $4,000.

Dance Rites celebrates the continued cultural dance practices of Australia’s first peoples. The competition is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who have or would like to develop a dance group. Each group will record two performances, the first performance is the Traditional Welcome/Arrival or Farewell Dance which must include your local language/s. The second performance is a Wildcard Dance. This can be any kind of dance and is an opportunity to fuse the contemporary with the traditional!

As a result of nationwide measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the 2020 festival will be presented as a digital event, broadcast on the Opera House’s social media channels in November. 

Presented by Sydney Opera House.

 

How to register 

Registrations for Dance Rites 2020 have now closed. Please contact the Dance Rites team on 0407 535 111 or dancerites@sydneyoperahouse.com for any enquiries

Registration fee

Participants of Dance Rites 2020 will not have to pay a Registration Fee.

Who can enter Dance Rites?

Dance Rites is open to all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community dance groups. Groups can be pre-established or developed especially for Dance Rites.

Any performers under 18 years of age will need to have a signed guardian authorisation form. This form will be provided at a later date. Due to our online presentation this year, Dance Rites participants must be over 12 years of age.

What to prepare

Each group needs to film two dance pieces.

Each group will need to film at least two additional background pieces about their group and the dances to tell their story.

To support your participation, the Dance Rites team will work with your dance group and connect you to First Nations media organisations to record your performances.

We may also arrange equipment and guidance to film your performance where access to First Nations media organisations is not available.

Specific recording guidelines will be provided in the information pack you will receive after you register your group.

Your Dance Rites Performance

One Traditional Welcome/Arrival or Farewell Dance that must include your local language/s.

One Wildcard Dance.

 Both dances will need to take place in a 12m diameter circle.

Please consider social distancing laws that apply to you when choreographing your performances.

You can enter as an all-male, all-female, or mixed group.

All skill and experience levels are encouraged to participate. Participants must be over 12 years of age.

Each of your dances must not exceed 3 minutes.

The Dance Rites judges will consist of community, industry and independent dance professionals.

The judges will be looking for authenticity, reclamation work, use of costumes and props along with fusion of language and music.

More detailed criteria will be provided in the information pack that is sent out after registrations close.

Dance Rites can provide guidance along the way - get in contact if you ever have questions!

Terms and Conditions

Download the Dance Rites information sheet and terms and conditions here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why compete in Dance Rites?

Dance Rites is an opportunity to reclaim songlines, dance and other traditional practices. 

You can connect with elders in your community and Continue intergenerational exchange of story and ceremony.

Dance Rites will be fun, easy to join and a great way to get your community together.

Is there a maximum number of participants per group?

There is no maximum group size.

All members must fill in their details on the registration form. 

Any performers under 18 years of age will need to have a signed guardian authorisation form. This form will be provided at a later date. Due to our online presentation this year, Dance Rites participants must be over 12 years of age.

What are the prizes?

The winning dance group will receive a cheque for $20,000.

The runner up will receive $5,000.

The Rites of Passage Winner will receive a prize of $4,000.

The group with the highest scored 'Wildcard' Dance will receive a prize of $3,000.

Why is Dance Rites important?

The Dance Rites competition is inspired by Pow Wow Circuit in North America and Canada, and by the Kapa Haka in New Zealand. 

Teaching and learning traditional practices is the best way to reclaim songlines, celebrate and enjoy culture. 

How will entries be judged?

Judging will be judged by a panel of Sydney Opera House Trust selected judges, which will consist of community dance and song line custodians, along with professional choreographers and dance practitioners.

The judges will be looking for authenticity, reclamation work, use of costumes and props along with fusion of language and music.

Performances must consist of a Welcome/Arrival or Farewell Dance, and a 'Wildcard' Dance. 

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