In late September, Ausdance ACT appointed Dr Cathy Adamek from South Australia as the organisation’s new director.
Adamek steps into the Canberra role with a breadth of experience and knowledge, having formerly been president of Ausdance South Australia in a voluntary capacity.
“I started at board level as secretary and then became president,” she said.
“This job came up in the network and when I saw it, I thought ‘I could do this full-time and also be paid for it’.
“Each Ausdance is quite different depending on which state you’re in; it was a huge asset being able to understand the broad remit of Ausdance as a peak body and as an organisational body too.
“It came in the COVID time too when there was a lot of uncertainty for artists.”
Having worked as a performer, choreographer, director and creative producer across theatre, film, TV and radio, Adamek’s credits also include a PhD she completed in 2017.
Her thesis, entitled Adelaide Dance Music Culture: Late 1980s–Early 1990s, covered how the culture moved from new wave into acid house into rave, a movement she was deeply intertwined with.
Her experience at Ausdance SA means Adamek is well versed in the peak body’s role as an advocacy group; she is keen to promote dance practice “in all its forms”.
“Out of all physical activities, dance is number three in Australia but it doesn’t always seem to receive the attention alongside sport,” she said.
“One of the roles of Ausdance is to promote effectively the incredible diaspora of dance that goes on, but also here being able to run programs as well.”
Since arriving in September, Adamek said she’s enjoyed getting a feel for the lay of the land here in the capital.
“I’ve really had to hit the ground running with it, effectively they haven’t had a manager since 2014-15,” she said.
“Every place has their own local colour, and what those grassroots things that have often been developing for decades are, and so that’s always exciting, nothing’s ever the same in any two places.
“I can see there are opportunities to harvest some really interesting, innovative and high-quality work.
“There’s quite a lot of site-specific work and performance art, and I love all that work … that’s bubbling along really well.
“There’s also the potential to develop really great theatre work that moves out of the contemporary European style genre a little bit and challenges people a little bit more.
“There’s a massive groundswell of local artists here who are about to step up to that next level; I’m here to be able to help facilitate that.”
Adamek has also had to familiarise herself with Canberra more broadly since arriving.
“The only time I’d ever come to Canberra was on the way to the snow in the ‘90s,” she smiled.
“I love going to different places … It was another opportunity to explore a new place and meet more people.”
Despite making a smooth move interstate, Adamek said she’s missed her son who will be moving to Canberra next year.