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Dance Rites 2017

Make your gift for First Nations' culture

Dance Rites is an inspirational, long-term program to increase participation and engagement in cultural life by First Australians. Created by the Sydney Opera House in 2015 through the vision of Rhoda Roberts AO, Head of First Nations programming,
Dance Rites revives a range of vanishing cultural practices including dance, language, traditional instruments and skin markings to ensure that they are passed from one generation to the next.

Save the date!

Please put Sunday 26 November in your diary for the Dance Rites 2017 competition finals, as part of Homeground, the Opera House’s free, outdoor annual celebration of First Nations’ culture. 

Help Dance Rites achieve its 2017 goals

Our donors have enabled Dance Rites to achieve its goals with substantial success in its first two establishing years. Dance Rites is now entering a critical stage in its development. To ensure Dance Rites continues to achieve its purpose, your gift will help to:

  • Broaden geographic representation, including from northern,  central and western Australia;
  • Increase registrations and the number of groups participating;
  • Decrease drop-outs after registration from groups who cannot afford travel expenses to Sydney;
  • Support communities from remote areas to participate; and
  • Grow Indigenous community awareness of Dance Rites across Australia.
“One of the nation's most joyful and competitive Indigenous cultural events.”

ABC Lateline

What does my gift do?

The greatest barrier limiting Dance Rites’ potential is the substantial drop-out rate between registration and participation. In 2016, one third of registered groups were forced to cancel due to a lack of funding for travel and accommodation. Your gift will support a travel fund to help remote and disadvantaged communities make the journey to Sydney for the competition finals.

Make your gift for Dance Rites

The Opera House and the Creative Music Fund, Dance Rites Foundation Partner, invite you to join them in their financial support of theis ground-breaking initiative.

Make your gift for Dance Rites now, download the gift form, or to find out more about supporting the program please contact the Philanthropy team on 02 9250 7077 or

2016 Successes

  • 100% increase in registrations from 8 to 16 groups
  • 50% increase in participation in the competition from 8 to 12 groups
  • Broader geographical representation in registrations to include 4 communities from western Australia
  • High level of youth engagement: more than 50% of participants aged under 30
  • 25% increase in onsite attendance from 1,200 to 1,500
  • 1.8 million cumulative audience from all channels in each year

Dance Rites 2017 Donors

We are especially grateful to our Founding Dance Rites Donors (*) for their commitment and ongoing generosity.

* Founding Dance Rites Donor  ^ Creative Music Fund Investor


The Penn Foundation ^
Crispin Rice *
Janne Ryan *^ 
Brook Turner *

Inner Circle of Friends

Annette Adair *
Albert Fisher Family Trust *^
Rojé Augustin and Tom Donald
Janie Austin *^
Annabelle Chapman *^
Anne Coombs and Susan Varga *^
Natalie Cootes-McBryde ^
Shamal and Kate Dass ^
Galina Kaseko and Sam Burshtein
Jane Kift *
Tohsak Mahaworasilpa
Agnes Matrai *
Jean McPherson
Lisa-Marie Murphy and Nick Fletcher ^
Jenny Newel
Martin Portus *^
Lindy Ryan ^
Anne Schlebaum
Bronwyn Simons *^
Susan Spencer *^
Tom Tansey
Helen Trinca ^


Sydney Opera House acknowledges the generous support of the Creative Music Fund, Dance Rites Foundation Partner.
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