Carriageworks and the Keir Foundation today announced a new partnership with Critical Path, and revealed details of their 2016 public program as part of the 2016 Keir Choreographic Award (KCA). Carriageworks, Dancehouse and the Keir Foundation announced Atlanta Eke – the winner of the inaugural Award in 2014 – as a new addition to the judging panel. New judge Atlanta Eke joins the impressive jury for Australia’s first major contemporary choreographic award, which also includes Bojana Cvejić, Pierre Bal-Blanc, Sarah Michelson and Phillip Keir, founder of the Keir Foundation.

The Keir Choreographic Award’s Sydney public program includes a series of thought provoking performance lectures and panel discussions with international leaders in contemporary dance. Documenta 14 curator and Director of the Contemporary Art Centre – Brétigny, Pierre Bal-Blanc who is based in Athens and Paris, will take part in an ‘in conversation’ discussion on the subject of Exhibiting Dance with Stephanie Rosenthal, Artistic Director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney and the chief curator of London’s Hayward Gallery.

A panel discussion of dance practitioners from across Asia will be hosted by Claire Hicks, Director of Critical Path, exploring the topic of Where is choreography now? Hicks will be joined in this discussion by Daisuke Muto (Japan), Helly Minarti (Indonesia), Bilqis Hijjas (Malaysia), Kim Seong-Hee (Korea) and Chow Ka Fai (Singapore).

Key issues in contemporary performance and how the practices of making, performing and attending reinvent performance and dance today will be explored in Choreographing Problems: a performance lecture from Bojana Cvejić. The lecture will be hosted by Dr Erin Brannigan, a Senior Lecturer in Dance at the University of New South Wales who joins Cvejić, a Brussel-based performance theorist and performance maker.  This lecture will be a podcast and available for download from Monday 8 May 2016.

Rounding out the public program is an Afternoon Tea with Sarah Michelson offering local Sydney artists the opportunity to meet and discuss their practice with 2016 Keir Choreographic Jury member Sarah Michelson, a British choreographer and dancer who lives and works in New York City.

The biennial Award is dedicated to the commissioning of new choreographic work and to promoting innovative, experimental and cross-art form practice in contemporary dance. Award entry requirements call for professional artists with an established practice to enter by submitting a five-minute video with a choreographic idea of 20-minutes in duration. The eight finalists for the 2016 Award were selected in November 2015 by an independent national and international jury and were then tasked to each create a new piece of original work.

The eight finalists for the 2016 award, who hail from across Australia, include: 2014 Keir Choreographic Award finalists Sarah Aiken, Melbourne based choreographer, performer and teacher originally from Belligen NSW and James Batchelor, Canberra-born, award-winning choreographer and performer; Chloe Chignell, emerging choreographer and recent DanceWEB scholarship recipient; Ghenoa Gela a Sydney based choreographer and performer from Torres Strait Islands whose recent work includes MURA BUAI [Liveworks, Performance Space]; Australian choreographer and performer Martin Hansen, now based in Berlin; Alice Heyward, seen recently in Xavier Le Roy’s work Temporary Title [Carriageworks] and Maria Hassabi’s Intermission [Australian Centre for Contemporary Art]  Rebecca Jensen, a New Zealand artist, whose work was presented in Next Wave 2014 and Dance Massive 2015  and Paea Leach who has worked as a performer and collaborator in Australia and Europe and  was  most recently commissioned by Chunky Move’s Next Move 2014 season.

The eight commissioned works will have a premiere season at Melbourne’s Dancehouse from 26-30 April 2016. Four of those works will then be selected by the jury to participate in the Sydney season of finals presented by Carriageworks from 5-7 May 2016. The artists compete for the accolade of the award including a cash prize of $30,000 for first prize and $10,000 for an audience choice prize that will be voted by Sydney audiences.