2020 Keir Choreographic Award | Media Release 15 Oct 2019

The Keir Foundation, Carriageworks, Dancehouse and the Australia Council for the Arts today announced the eight artists and collectives who have been commissioned to make new works for the Keir Choreographic Award in March 2020. The winner of the prestigious Award will be chosen by a jury of five internationally renowned leaders in contemporary dance and receive a cash prize of $50,000. The eight new commissions will be presented at Dancehouse, Melbourne from 3 – 7 March and four semi-finalists will be chosen by the jury to present at Carriageworks, Sydney from 12–14 March. The jury will announce the recipients of the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award and the $10,000 Audience Award on 14 March.

The 2020 artist selection represents an outstanding mix of early-career to established practitioners, from states and cities across Australia, with diverse perspectives on and approaches to contemporary dance. The eight selected choreographers plan to explore politically and socially engaged themes – from Indigenous sovereignty and Blak feminism, to Queer diasporas on colonised land, to living with a disability and life in the age of climate change. Presenting work in March are: Alison Currie, Angela Goh, Riana Head-Toussaint, Amrita Hepi, Jo Lloyd, Zachary Lopez, Lewis Major, The Farm.

The 2020 Keir Choreographic Award jury tasked with the responsibility of selecting the eight new commissions and to decide the recipient of the Award are: Claudia La Rocco (USA); Mette Edvardsen (NO); Serge Laurent (FR); and Takao Kawaguchi (JP). The Australia Council for Arts, the Keir Foundation, Carriageworks and Dancehouse have confirmed their continued support for next three editions of the Keir Choreographic Award – an exciting development ensuring the longevity of this one-of-a-kind commissioning program.

In making the announcement, Keir Choreographic Award Founder Phillip Keir said: ‘I am thrilled that our eminent jury has assembled such an interesting group of artists for the 2020 award. The wonderful diversity of this group of artists reflects the great strength of contemporary choreography in Australia. It will be fascinating to see the outcomes of these choreographic ideas as they are worked into eight fully formed works. I am very much look forward to the presentations at Dancehouse and Carriageworks in March.’

Carriageworks CEO Blair French said: ‘Supporting artists in the development of new ideas and work is central to Carriageworks’ mission. We are excited to again be partnering with Dancehouse, the Australia Council for the Arts and the Keir Foundation to support experimentation in Australian choreography and look forward to presenting a selection of the new works to Sydney audiences at Carriageworks in March.’

Dancehouse Artistic Director Angela Conquet said: ‘It is extremely rewarding to see such great diversity – of practice, of career spectrum and of geographical provenance. I am truly looking forward to seeing how these urgent and timely interrogations that are about to be seeded with these upcoming eight new works will unfold in March. We are also looking forward to working with the exceptional jury and bringing to Australian audiences a multi-faceted and accessible public program, which will complement the competition in both Melbourne and Sydney.’

Australia Council for the Arts CEO Adrian Collette said: ‘After the success of previous editions, we are delighted to once again support the Keir Choreographic Award with partner organisations the Keir Foundation, Dancehouse and Carriageworks. We are looking forward to connecting even more Australian audiences to contemporary dance experiences through the compelling works of these talented artists.’

The Keir Foundation, Carriageworks, Dancehouse and the Australia Council for the Arts acknowledge the support of the project’s venue partner HOTA – Home of the Arts.


Choreographic Art in the 21st Century is an increasingly expanded and international field, incorporating a multiplicity      of practices and production modes, and a diversity of aesthetic, philosophical and social perspectives. Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and launched in 2014 as Australia’s only cash award for choreography, the Keir Choreographic Award looks to identify and illuminate the most urgent and experimental choreographic practices occurring in the Australian context today.

The Award has fast become the largest generator of new choreographic work in Australia and offers a rare opportunity to develop and present new work. To date the Award has garnered further commissioning and touring support, both nationally and internationally with works including Berlin-based artist Martin Hansen’s If it’s all in my veins which since 2016 has been presented in Hong Kong, Paris and Berlin.  Previous Keir Choreographic  Award  recipients  include Melbourne-based  artist Atlanta Eke,  2014;  Sydney-based  Torres  Strait  Islander  choreographer  and  performer, Ghenoa  Gela,  2016;  and Javanese-Australian choreographer and performer, Melanie Lane, 2018.


Established by Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin the Foundation’s purpose is to foster innovation and excellence in the arts, particularly among new and emerging practitioners. The Keir Foundation has previously worked in commissioning dance projects and this choreographic award emerged from an ongoing involvement with the dance community both nationally and internationally. www.keirfoundation.org


Carriageworks is the largest and most significant contemporary multi-arts centre of its kind in Australia. Engaging artists and audiences with contemporary ideas and issues, Carriageworks presents ambitious, artist-led programs that emerge from Carriageworks’ commitment to reflecting social and cultural diversity.


Dancehouse is the Centre for independent dance in Melbourne. Through its programs of residencies, performance, training and research, Dancehouse is a space for developing challenging, invigorating, and socially engaged moving art. Dancehouse is also a hub of knowledge and resources, a presenter of outstanding programs targeting multiple communities and a fierce advocate for the vibrancy and literacy of the Australian independent dance sector. www.dancehouse.com.au


The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government’s principal arts funding and advisory body. The Australia Council invests in artistic excellence through support for all facets of the creative process and is committed to the arts being more accessible to all Australians. www.australiacouncil.gov.au

Learn more about the Keir Choreographic Award here.

For further information and interviews please contact Julia Barnes, julia@articulatepr.com.au 0402 678 589 or Kym Elphinstone, kym@articulatepr.com.au 0421 106 139.