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Adelaide to host International Joint Congress of Dance


Hundreds of dancers and dance enthusiasts will flock to Adelaide in July for Panpapanpalya and the Adelaide Dance Festival.

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The University of South Australia and Adelaide College of the Arts will host the joint meeting of Dance and the Child International (DaCi) and the World Dance Alliance (WDA) from July 8 to 13.

Named ‘Panpapanpalya’, the international congress will host performances, workshops and academic presentations and is expected to attract more than 800 people from 25 different countries over the five-day program.

The conference will bring together a broad range of dancers, dance educators, researchers and the public to celebrate dance.

It will also build on the 2015 UNESCO Copenhagen Declaration, which focused on enhancing arts education for children globally, to create an Adelaide Declaration.

Congress convenor Dr Jeff Meiners said Adelaide was a good place to host the conference because the South Australian capital was home to several dance companies, including the world-renowned Australian Dance Theatre troupe.

The inaugural Adelaide Dance Festival (ADF) will be held in conjunction with the Panpapanpalya conference, featuring a two-week program of independent dance artists and iconic Australian dance companies.

The name Panpapanpalya means gathering and sharing in Kaurna – the language of the Aboriginal people of the Adelaide region – and reflects the conference themes of dance, gathering, generations, learning.

The use of the word was negotiated with Kaurna elders and aims to honour the rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance practices and global indigenous dance cultures and encompass the inclusivity and diversity of the event.

Nichola Hall, the national marketing and communications manager for the Royal Academy of Dance, a partner of the Panpapanpalya conference, says the event will highlight dance as a way to connect generations, cultures and communities.

“Dance is a language. We are all born to move in some way or another and the subtlety of that language differs from place to place and style of dance, but we certainly all do share a common language,” Hall says.

“It’s a way that you can communicate with somebody without understanding the words coming out of their mouth and you can always relate to them in movement. It’s something that unites people across ages, cultures and interests.”

Choreographers from Portugal have created a dance about mental health and will lead conference participants in a project to be performed in South Australia’s new Royal Adelaide Hospital and adjoining South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

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