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VDF
TEACHER
CONFERENCE

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TICKETS SOLD OUT

all tickets include

weekend access too!

Access to all classes (50+ Masterclasses) - join in or watch for inspiration

 

Shop Australia's largest dance market and expo

 

Fashion show with the latest dance costumes and dancewear
 

Access to watch the professional auditions

Industry Panel

Entry to the Teacher Zone

*Speakers subject to change.

Vitality

The state of being strong and active; energy.

What a line up! International and Australian industry leaders, entrepreneurs and creatives all coming together to inspire, encourage, equip and challenge Australia's dance educators and studio business owners.

 

Opening Performance

by Lion Heart Dance Company

guest speakers

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Lucy durack

Lucy is one of Australia’s most well-known leading ladies with major roles to her credit including Glinda in Wicked, Sophie in The Letdown (Netflix/ABC), Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical, Roxy in Sisters(Netflix), Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (for which she won a Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Award), Audra in A Perfect Pairing (Netflix), Chantelle “Tugger” Waugh in Doctor Doctor (Nine), and most recently Mrs Lilicroft/Mrs Madrina in the World Premiere of Midnight the Musical.

Further highlights include playing Katie Halloway in Now Add Honey (Gristmill/Netflix), Michelle in Upper Middle Bogan (ABC/Netflix), Rose Walker on Neighbours (Ten Peach), Sarah in Touching the Void (MTC), Glinda in The Wizard of Oz (GFO), Sybil Chase in Private Lives (MTC), as The Cactus on The Masked Singer (Ten), a judge on Australia’s Got Talent (Seven), as the voice of Daisy Quokka’s Mum in animated feature film Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal.

Lucy won the Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for Legally Blonde; Best Screen Play Asia Web Award for Lift; and an AACTA Award for Best Online Drama or Comedy Series for Love In Lockdown. She is currently developing television series with Gristmill and Jungle and is the proud co-founder and co-director of evidence-based health and wellness tech company and CSIRO tested app Hey Lemonade, for which she was a finalist for the 2023 Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards.

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Lisa pavane

the australian ballet school

Born in Newcastle NSW, Lisa joined The Australian Ballet School as a student in 1978 and trained under the founding Director of The Australian Ballet School, Dame Margaret Scott AC DBE.

 

In 1980 Lisa toured with the inaugural Dancers’ Company (now known as The Australian Ballet’s National Tour). Lisa joined The Australian Ballet in 1981. She rose swiftly to Soloist in 1983 and Principal Artist in 1986. In 1994 Lisa joined English National Ballet as Senior Principal. As a dancer, Lisa appeared internationally as a guest artist with many ballet companies, including the Boston, Kirov and Birmingham Royal. Lisa retired from the stage in 1999.

In 2007 she joined The Australian Ballet School staff and in 2008 became the first graduate of the School’s Vocational Graduate Certificate in Elite Ballet Instruction. Lisa held a number of leadership positions as a member of the School’s faculty. In 2012 Lisa became Head of Student Training, was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and gained her Graduate Certificate in Professional Education and Training.

Lisa commenced as Director of The Australian Ballet School in 2015 and will step down from the role in June 2024, in the School’s 60th anniversary year.

Read all about Lisa Pavane's illustrious career in her recent Dance Informa interview here.

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EMMA WATKINS

Emma Watkins is a children’s entertainer with a focus on integrated accessibility through visual communication combined with creative children's screen media.

 

Dancer and filmmaker Emma Watkins began her performance career early from the age of 3, nurturing her love of dance and movement, performing ballet, Irish, hip-hop, tap and contemporary dance. After dancing in productions around Australia, France, India, Canada, China and New Zealand, Emma joined Australian children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles. 

Emma’s passion for movement and body expression expanded to an interest in sign language and raising awareness of Australia's Deaf community since she was young. Ever since, Emma pursued studying sign language, completing her Diploma of Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and currently studying a Diploma in Interpreting at Deaf Connect and her PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney, focusing on the affective, artistic integrations of sign language, dance and film editing.

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Emma will also be appearing as her newest character Emma Memma as part of the VDF Mini Movers program on Saturday 13 April.

Emma Memma focuses on a new generation of communication, where she and her friends navigate challenges and adventure using sign language, choreographed dance narratives, gesture, mime, singing, speaking, listening, making craft and drawing.

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Emma Memma’s debut album has won an ARIA in the Best Children’s Album category at the 2023 ARIA Awards.

natalie wier

Australian choreographer Natalie Weir is known internationally for her highly physical partner work, her organic movement style and her touching insight into humanity. Natalie completed an Associate Diploma of Performing Arts at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. She was a founding member of Expressions Dance Company (EDC) and was offered her first choreographic commission by Expressions Artistic Director Maggi Sietsma at the age of 18.

 

In her 30-plus year career, she has created major new works for world class companies such as Queensland Ballet, The Australian Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Expressions Dance Company, Dance North, Australian Dance Theatre, Houston Ballet, Singapore Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and ABT Studio Company. Natalie was resident choreographer for The Australian Ballet and Queensland Ballet and was appointed Artistic Director of Expressions Dance Company in 2009, where she held that position until the end of 2018.

Natalie received the Choo San Goh Award for Steppenwolfe, created for the Houston Ballet in America, and was also the recipient of an Australia Council Fellowship.

 

Her works as Artistic Director of EDC received multiple Helpmann and Australian Dance nominations and awards, and her work Jabula has been performed all over the world, more recently by Ballet West in Salt Lake City and Singapore Ballet.  In 2022 Natalie created Goldberg Variations for WA Ballet, which recently received an award from Performing Arts WA Awards, for most outstanding ensemble. 

 

Natalie was appointed resident choreographer of Queensland Ballet by Artistic Director Li Cunxin in 2020, and most recently created works for QB for the Synergy season, Bespoke in 2021 with the Jette Parker Young Artists, she created Four Last Songs for the Bespoke season with the QB artists in 2023 and has created 3 works for Queensland Ballet Academy's innovative Soiree seasons. 

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BENJAMIN CURE

LION HEART DANCE COMPANY
 

Benjamin Curé was born and raised in Melbourne, training on full scholarships at both The Edge Performers School and the Space Dance and Arts Centre.  In 2015, he founded Lion Heart Dance Company which has since produced multiple seasons of work. 

 

Curé's performance career has witnessed him work with a diverse range of companies, including Vertical Shadows Dance Company and Opera Australia, in conjunction with reaching the top 100 of So You Think You Can Dance Australia (2014). Recently, Curé  performed in Graeme Murphy's 'Turanndot' with Opera Australia in December of 2019. 

Curé is an esteemed choreographer with a history of choreographing for music videos, international conferences and industry events. His founding company Lion Heart has produced 9 seasons of work, a dance film in partnership with PRIDE Productions, been the recipient of multiple Arts and Culture grants from the City of Stonnington and been commissioned by the City of Boroondara to produce a season at the Hawthorn Arts Centre.

 

In 2024, his video work,  'Rubik's Fugue', was selected for the VCE dance prescribed list, becoming the first Victorian choreographer, and one of only a small handful of Australian choreographers, to have their work included.

Benjamin Curé will present a practical workshop and discussion on this work at Vitality Dance Teacher Conference 2024.

   

Ben is an innovative choreographer, a passionate educator and a relentless creative force within the local arts scene.

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TRICIA GOMEZ

RHYTHM WORKS INTEGRATIVE DANCE

UNDERSTANDING THE UNIQUE NEEDS OF YOUR STUDENTS

With increasing behavioral challenges and sensory needs of students, teachers need to be able to assess and make necessary accommodations to provide an optimal learning environment. This session delivered direct from Tricia's home in the US will provide a general understanding of behavior and highlight common sensory challenges often encountered in class.

 

Tricia Gomez has been a staple in the dance teacher education space for the past 20 years. Before teaching teachers, Tricia had a robust professional performing career, dancing for the Los Angeles Laker Girls, Universal Studios, Disney, choreographing for many TV shows, and starring in the CBS TV series, “Dance Revolution,” as the head judge. You likely know Tricia as the creator of Hip Hop in a Box and 1-2-3 Dance. Most recently, Tricia has focused on educating teachers on best practices for working with students who have unique needs, including cognitive delays, learning differences, physical disabilities, and behavioral challenges through the Rhythm Works Integrative Dance certification and the Classroom Management SOS staff training.


In 2021, Tricia acquired the Intellidance® curriculum and training, which focuses on the developmentally significant Parent+Me classes for babies ages 3 months through 5 years old.


In 2021, Tricia also launched Teaching Artist Exchange, a global marketplace (like Etsy) where teachers from around the world can host their own store to share their brilliant teaching resources. It’s a 1-stop-shop for any teaching resource you can think of! All of Tricia’s educational resources can be found at www.inspirecreateeducate.com.

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lowe napalan

AUSBREAKING

and dr rachael gunn 'raygun'

AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC BREAKER

Breaking into Dance Studios

Hear from AUSBreaking's Lowe Napalan and Australian Olympic Breaker 'Raygun' ahead of her appearance at this year's Olympic games in July, where Breaking will feature for the very first time. Find out how you can capitalise on the Olympic excitement and hype and introduce this amazing dance style to your studio.

 

Lowe Napalan (Lowe)

The president of AUSBreaking and a member of 'SKB' crew. Lowe has been breaking for over 2 decades, winning numerous titles and actively competing on a world level as one of Australia's top bboys. Lowe is also a part of the Australian Olympic Team for Breaking, as head coach, for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

 

He is currently supporting the Australian Breaking community via AUSBreaking. Creating pathways and opportunities for Australian bgirls and bboys in hopes that the current and future generations achieve even greater heights.

Rachael Gunn (Raygun)

Rachael Gunn is an elite female breaker/bgirl who competes under the name ‘Raygun’. She recently won the Oceania Breaking Championships and will be representing Australia at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games for breaking’s Olympic debut.

 

She was Australia’s top ranked bgirl in 2020, 2021, and 2023 and has represented Australia at the World Breaking Championships in France (2021), South Korea (2022), and Belgium (2023). Raygun’s strengths as a breaker are her distinctive style and original moves.

 

In addition to being an elite breaker, Rachael has a PhD in cultural studies and is a Lecturer at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on breaking culture, and she has published many articles and book chapters in this area.

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jarryd byrne

PARTNERING PRACTICAL WORKSHOP

Join the wonderful Jarryd Byrne for a practical workshop on partnering
Explore different holds, combinations, choreography and more in this fun filled practical opportunity to move and be moved!

 

Jarryd is a creative, choreographer and dancer who has forged a successful career on both stage and screen. Specialising in Latin and Ballroom, Jarryd is a Dancing With The Stars Champion, winning with Actress and Comedian, Celia Pacquola.

His most recent choreography credits include Stan’s Ten Pound Poms, Dancing With The Stars; MTC’s Heisenberg; Immersive Cinema’s Dirty DancingThe Unbelievables and White Night Melbourne.

Professional Credits include: “Nathan Starkey’ Baz Luhrmans Strictly Ballroom The Musical (understudy Ken Railings), Burn The Floor; The Unbelievables and Shake Rattle & Roll.

A resident professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars, Jarryd has been partnered with stars such as Renee Bargh, Olympia Vallance, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Jesinta Franklin and Ash Pollard.

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eilannin harris-black

AUSDANCE VIC

Partnering with Registered Training Organisations for Dance Studio Success

 

An accomplished teacher, working performer and creative practitioner, Eilannin holds a Masters Degree in Musical Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London) and has trained with Brent Street Studios (Diploma of Musical Theatre), NIDA Open (The Musical Performer Studio), Hunter Institute (Diploma of Dance) and the Australian Institute of Music (Diploma of Music – Music Theatre).

When not performing Eilannin has worked as a live Theatrical Event Producer producing events throughout Australia, New Zealand and Canada. She is also the Founder of Theatre Blacks where she was Course Director for five years heading training and assessment in both Musical Theatre and Dance up to Advanced Diploma level. As an experienced training designer and teacher, Eilannin is passionate about increasing access to the arts and performance training to all those with the willingness to learn.

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SALLY HARRISON

Sally is the founder of Band-ITS & Strength4Dance, a business dedicated to injury prevention and creating a strong body for a lifetime of dance. Having ended her own dance career due to injury she is passionate about helping the next generation of performers understand and look after their ‘tool of the trade’.

Sally is a state registered physiotherapist and fitness trainer with over 20 years of experience in both the health and fitness industries. 

She has been working as a physio with dancers since 2008 and has worked with both musicals and Bangarra Dance Theatre. Sally is also an ongoing contributor for Dance Life magazine and lectures at AMPA, Brent St, Ettinghausens, UDC, ED5 and Transit Dance. She also presents at many national conferences for both the dance and health and fitness communities (Cecchetti, ATOD, SADF, RAD, FILEX and Healthy Aging Summit). She is very excited to be invited to share her love of movement training and injury prevention with the dance educators at VDF's Teacher Conference.

YOU VOTED FOR YOUR CHOSEN SUBJECT

Vitality Teacher Conference and VDF are committed to giving teachers Professional Development opportunities appealing and relevant to them. Sally Harrison kindly allowed teachers to vote for their chosen subject in her area of expertise to present at VDF. Your chosen subject is:

INTRO TO ANATOMY TRAINS - myofascial trains in the body and how they all influence each other with regard to both flexibility and strength. 

spotlight on syllabi

Meet leading Syllabus Organisations from Australia and Internationally


At VDF24 we will shine a spotlight on the benefits of syllabus-based learning and examinations, as we sit down with leading Australian and international syllabus organisations. Join us for this unique Q&A style panel discussion, and have an opportunity to ask questions and connect.

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business bootcamp

Join leading dance industry experts for our Vitality Business Bootcamp session. 

Have the chance to pick the brains of some of Australia's most prolific and successful business owners and mentors. Ask those burning questions and hear more about their individual areas of expertise, including their top tips for your studio, business and personal success!

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