The state of being strong and active; energy.

The Full Day Program will be announced soon, but here is your line-up of inspiring and powerful speakers. Keep tabs on this page, as more speakers and special guests are announced in the coming weeks....

VDF

TEACHER
DAY

Vitality
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TRAVIS WALL

2 x Emmy Winner Travis Wall returns to VDF in 2020 thanks to Energetiks.

His class at Teacher Day last year was the talk of the town! He was engaging, inspiring and encouraging, and his unique brand of commercial contemporary dance is something you just must experience.

 

Travis Wall is known for his award winning work on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, music videos, television, film, Broadway, commercials and more. His company Shaping Sound has enjoyed sell out seasons across America, and he is one of the most in-demand choreographers in America.

Desmond Richardson
Dance royalty, Desmond Richardson is coming to VITALITY TEACHER DAY, direct from New York, thanks to Dance Informa!

With his technical virtuosity and statuesque expressive demeanor, award winning dancer and choreographer, Desmond Richardson has been hailed by the NY Times as among the great dancers of his time. Desmond is the co-founder of the renowned Complexions Contemporary Ballet and a highly esteemed member of the American dance and theater community. He was the first African-American principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre and has been an invited guest and principal dancer at some of the world's most prestigious companies: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; The Frankfurt Ballet; The Bolshoi Theater; The Royal Swedish Opera Ballet Mariinsky Theater; Teatro a La Scala; The Washington Ballet and The San Francisco Ballet.

Desmond was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the original Broadway cast of ‘Fosse’ and was deemed a standout in the Tony- Award winning production of ‘After Midnight’. He also appeared in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway production of ‘Movin’ Out.’ Desmond has danced with icons such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Elton John, and Aretha Franklin. He has appeared as a celebrity guest performer and choreographer on hit TV shows, films, videos and stage productions such as The American Music Awards, The Oscars, Italy's AMICI Maria De Filippi and America, Australia and Israel's So You Think You Can Dance.

Desmond continues to give back as a Master Teacher as a guest professor at Harvard University, The Juilliard School, Marymount University and Skidmore University. 

LUCY DURACK

Originally hailing from Perth, Lucy Durack graduated from WAAPA with a Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre). She has fast become one of Australia’s leading ladies of stage and screen with a list of major roles to her credit, most recently as Sophie in Netflix/ABC’s highly acclaimed The Letdown, Roxy Karibas in Sisters (Netflix Original), Glinda the Good Witch in the original Australian cast of both Wicked and The Wizard of Oz (GFO), and as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical (GFO) for which she won both the Sydney Theatre and Helpmann Award!
 

Lucy won the hearts of the entire nation as one of the beloved judges in this year’s Australia's Got Talent (Seven Network) and will soon return to the stage as Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical with GFO.

Further screen credits include roles in Doctor Doctor, Upper Middle Bogan, How To Stay Married, Here Come The Habibs, The Moodys, Headland, All Saints, Get Krack!n, as well as film roles in Now Add Honey, Goddess, Dripping in Chocolate and The Dripping Tap.
 

As a voice over artist, Lucy has created a number of audiobooks, most proudly an introduction to her family story, Dame Mary Durack’s Kings In Grass Castles and most amusingly the children’s book titled Lucy The Good.
 

Performing regularly in concert, some highlights have been singing the British and Australian National Anthems for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke Of Edinburgh for the state reception at Perth’s Governor’s Gardens, singing the Australian National Anthem at the AFL Grand Final, the State of Origin and The Melbourne Cup, regular appearances on Nine Network’s Carols By Candlelight and Seven Network’s Carols in The Domain, performing with the Sydney, Perth, Queensland, Adelaide and West Australian Symphony Orchestras and in the concert series Disney Under The Stars (Live Nation).

DR. SUE MAYES

Dr Sue Mayes is the Director of Artistic Health at The Australian Ballet. Sue has been the Principal Physiotherapist of The Australian Ballet since 1997 and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at La Trobe University. She has published papers from her PhD, titled: ‘Hip joint health in professional ballet dancers’, and co-authored ballet injury related publications.

 

In collaboration with Prof Jill Cook, Sue is leading a research program that is investigating joint health and wellbeing in ballet dancers as part of the research partnership between The Australian Ballet and La Trobe University.

 

Sue has presented at conferences around the world, including the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conferences and the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco 2017, and lectures regularly throughout Australia. She provided physiotherapy for Sylvie Guillem's tours throughout Japan with Tokyo Ballet (2000-2015), and for the ‘New Universe of Manuel Legris’ program in Tokyo (2010). Sue was nominated for an Australian Dance Award in the category ‘Services to Dance’ in 2017 and 2018. She received a La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018.

 

Sue was recently interviewed by Dance Informa, discussing “why the Australian ballet dancers quit stretching”. The controversial article evoked many questions about traditional stretching and teaching methods. Read it here and think about what you can ask Sue at Vitality Teacher Day:

Dancemagazine.com.au/2019/09/why-the-australian-ballet-dancers-quit-stretching/

JANE GRECH

Jane Grech's mission is to continually embrace opportunities to educate, encourage and empower dance students, teachers and studio owners to lead significant and fulfilling lives.

 

As a writer, speaker and worldwide thought leader in Dance Studio Management, Jane connects warmly with her audiences as she joyfully shares her knowledge and experiences. As a mother of 3, a dance teacher for 25 years, and a studio owner for 15, Jane knows firsthand the current challenges of raising a family, teaching dance and running a dance studio: her advice is raw, real and relevant.

 

In addition to owning Jane Grech Dance Centre, Pirouettes Dancewear and DanceStep, Jane leads Dance Studio Success with Jane Grech where she designs and share high quality resources and programs to support and mentor Dance Studio Owners and teachers.⁠

WILL CENTURION
Qualified Mental Health practitioner, Will Centurion has created an in-demand mental health service that provides programs to students and teachers in the performing arts. Will is passionate about providing dance educators the strategies needed to manage the challenges they face within their work communities.

Having performed for over 20 years in the entertainment industry, Will has an industry informed understanding of the needs of dance teachers, choreographers and studio owners to maintain their own well-being and safety.

Will has spent 2019 creating and presenting The Teacher’s Mental Health Toolkit, a professional development program designed to help educators understand and respond to issues such as student anxiety and emotional challenges, whilst addressing their own self-care needs.

Will has engaged with over 21 performing arts schools and 740 students in NSW & VIC, has spoken at the Australian and New Zealand Workplace Mental Health Conference, The Victorian Dance Festival, The Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare Conference and more.

*Speakers subject to change.

ANDREW PILCHER

Andrew Pilcher is a renowned Physiotherapist that works with dancers, singers, acrobats and other high level performers and has a passion to help performers achieve their full potential. Andrew worked for seven years in London at PhysioEd Medical, servicing over 30 West End productions. He has extensive TV experience with BBC television dance performing shows and expertise with performers in the commercial, classical and music theatre fields. He has worked with dancers from company's such as The Royal Ballet in London as well as with the world’s leading bands including Coldplay. His clients have also included actors from blockbusters such as Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter.

Andrew Pilcher lectures in the Dance department at Melbourne University VCA campus teaching anatomy and physiology. Andrew is uniquely skilled in manual therapy and he teaches clinical Pilates in APMA equivalent accreditation.

Andrew originally trained at Curtain University Australia and has a performance background himself in music, singing and acting. He is part way through his Master of Manipulative physiotherapy training. He is married to a Musical Theatre performer, actress and choreographer/producer and has two young children. He loves running, cycling and producing international arts initiatives with his wife.

DR KATRINA RANK

Dr Katrina Rank is a leading Australian educator and dance artist, contributing to national and international movement education outcomes. A ballet and contemporary dancer by training, Katrina maintains a performance and teaching practice and received an Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education in 2018.
 

Katrina has worked in various roles for Ausdance since 2008 including acting Director, Education Manager and consultant. She is currently Director of Education and Lifelong Learning. Katrina was the author and project leader of Teaching and Leading Dance to Older People, a research program and report which has been distributed widely. Her extensive background in education and community arts also saw her work on the Knowing You Knowing me Project with the City of Whittlesea in 2017–2018 and the hugely successful Alice Project. The Alice Project was a community dance initiative that reached across four regional Victorian municipalities and more than 15,000 participants over two years, as part of the VicHealth MOTION program. 
 

Her recent dance focus has been on dance for health, with particular reference to ageing and Parkinson’s disease. In 2013, Katrina initiated Fine Lines, intergenerational dance and projects. Fine Lines began with contemporary dance classes for experienced mature dancers.

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