Presented by Ausdance

The selection panel is made up of 13 dance professionals from all states and territories. They represent the dance sector and include teachers, independent artists, dance company directors, writers/critics, administrators and youth dance specialists. Members serve a 3–4 year term.

Invite the selection panel to your performance

Panel members try to see all performances in their state. To invite them, send an invitation to the nominations coordinator who will forward it to panel members. Australian dance companies can ask for a copy of the contact list.

The voting process

A thorough voting system is in place, with two, sometimes three rounds of voting.

The long list

  • Nominations are open to the public
  • The selection panel considers all eligible nominations and your supporting comments.

The shortlist

  1. The selection panel reads biographies of nominees for lifetime achievement, services to dance and services to education to make a well informed decision about who makes it into the shortlist.
  2. They view video excerpts of nominated works.
  3. Each panel member rates their top four in each category by allocating 4 points for first place, 3 points for second place etc.
  4. If the scores for the winners are even or very close, the panel consults with the advisors until there is a majority agreement.

If a member of the selection panel is nominated for an award, they are excluded from voting in that category and excluded from any discussion about that category.

Members of the selection panel are volunteers.

Bradley Chatfield

Head of Dance at Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts


Born in Mordialloc, Bradley is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people. A graduate of The Australian Ballet School, Bradley then joined the Hong Kong Ballet before commencing an award-winning career with Sydney Dance Company (1991 - 2009). Bradley toured extensively with SDC, both in Australia and internationally. Bradley is highly acclaimed in the dance industry with an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer (2003). In 2009 he was named in Sydney Morning Herald’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Sydney, and in 2010 he joined Dancenorth as Rehearsal Director. Bradley is currently Head of Dance at the Aboriginal Centre of the Performing Arts in Brisbane.

Carol Wellman Kelly

Dancer, Teacher, Mentor & Director


Carol's roles include dancer, teacher, rehearsal director, artistic director, mentor for Independent choreographers, guest lecturer and assessor for University dance and theatre courses and board member on local and federal arts funding panels. Carol choreographs for theatre companies and recently performed in A Delicate SituationLina Limosani). Trained in ballet and gymnastics with a BA in Dance from VCA, Carol performed with 2 Dance Plus (Buzz) Chrissie Parrott Dance Collective and Dancenorth. Carol has worked as dancer and in education and outreach in the UK and Europe. From 2000 - 08 Carol was Assistant Director for ADT touring across Europe, UK, Asia and USA.

Julia Quinn

Teacher & Freelance Artist


Julia is a teacher and freelance artist in Darwin. Trained as a dancer in both the NT and SA, Julia was co-artistic director of Juniper Tree Dance Co. from 1993-2002 and was the Dance Animateur for Tracks from 2002-2008. She currently works extensively for the NT Department of Education and the Cecchetti studio, The Darwin School of Ballet, and is a regular guest artist and mentor for SLIDE. With a particular interest in youth, Julia promotes dance as a pivotal tool to empower young people to excel in their lives.

Karen van Ulzen

Editor of Dance Australia


After training as a professional dancer, Karen completed a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Writing, working as a freelance book and dance reviewer before joining Dance Australia first as editorial assistant then as editor. In 1998 Karen received a Churchill Fellowship to study dance companies and schools overseas. Aside from her work for Dance Australia, Karen has contributed as a dance writer to many other publications, including The Australian, Dance Magazine (US) and Ballett International. She has also published a novel, Crowning Glory and other works of short fiction. She received an Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance in 2008.

Lesley Graham

Teacher & Education Consultant


Lesley has been performing and teaching dance for over 25 years. Teaching positions include Lecturer in Dance Education and Course Coordinator of External Dance Studies at Queensland University of Technology, Faculty of Education/Human Movement and sessional Lecturer in Dance at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Tasmania. She was the Education Consultant on the National Indigenous Dance project Treading the Pathways and contributed to the Curriculum Corporation’s— Access Asia project. Lesley is a co-chair of the World Dance Alliance—Asia Pacific Welfare and Status Committee.

Maggie Tonkin

Dance Writer, Critic & Journalist


Maggie has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Adelaide, where she teaches and researches nineteenth and twentieth century literature. She trained in ballet and contemporary dance and has performed semi-professionally with the State Opera of South Australia and in independent dance works. Maggie writes for Dance Australia and occasionally for ballet-tanz, a leading European dance magazine.

Michael Whaites

Lecturer in contemporary dance at WAAPA & Artistic Director of LINK Dance Company


Working in the dance industry over 30 years, Michael was a founding member of Dancenorth and has danced with Australian Dance Theatre, Twyla Tharp and Dancers and the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. He has worked with numerous independent artists and institutions across the globe and has choreographed over 30 works both nationally and internationally. Michael has served as a member of the Dance Board of the Australia Council, of the WAAPA Board and a committee member of Ausdance NSW, Strut Dance Inc, Future Moves and Move Me. He currently sits on the advisory committee of the new dance company Co3.

Michelle Potter

Writer, Historian, Curator & Dance Reviewer


Michelle has a doctorate in Art History and Dance History from the Australian National University. A recipient of two Australian Dance Awards, Michelle was founding editor of Brolga–an Australian journal about dance, inaugural Curator of Dance at the National Library of Australia (2002–06) and Curator, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, NY Public Library for the Performing Arts (2006–08). Her writings and oral histories are extensive and range from major books, to articles in scholarly journals and reviews in magazines, theatre programs, newspapers and on her website Michelle Potter On Dancing.

Susan Bendall

Lecturer, Writer & Dance Reviewer


A writer and reviewer for Dance Australia magazine, Susan has a particular interest in new Australian work and the kinaesthetic empathy inherent in the viewer/dancer connection. With a practice-led research Master of Fine Arts in dance (VCA, 2015), Susan approaches the artform from multiple perspectives: the viewer, the reviewer and the practitioner. Susan is a published author and currently lectures in English for Academic Purposes at Trinity College. Through her practice overlays an objective critical response to dance as a complement to her passion.

Darren Spowart

dancer, pilates teacher, creator of Conscious Control series


After three years training at the exclusive Australian ballet school, I was invited to join the Australian Ballet Company and later the Sydney Dance Company. As a dancer, my focus and fascination turned to the power of the mind and the conscious approach to control required to meet the physical demands of movement. During this time, I was introduced to Pilates and found that it gave me a whole new level of understanding about my body – how to balance, strengthen individual weaknesses and build whole body awareness.

Patrick Harding-Irmer

Independent artist


Patrick has a BA Dip.Ed. from Sydney University and a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance from the University of Kent. He worked with London Contemporary Dance Theatre for 17 years as dancer, teacher, choreographer and acting artistic director. In 1985 he was voted best modern dancer in Britain by Dance and Dancers magazine. Since retiring from LCDT, Patrick has been teaching the Martha Graham technique around Australia and working as freelance performer with some of our leading companies and independent artists.

Matthew Lawrence

dancer, choreographer & associate lecturer in dance, QUT


Matthew was a principal artist with The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Queensland Ballet, and a guest artist with Stuttgart Ballet, World Ballet Festival in Japan and The Royal New Zealand Ballet. He has taught for The Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet (mentor to the Young Artists’ Program) and other leading training institutions. Matthew has written for the Dancing Times and currently writes for Dance Australia. He has choreographed works for Birmingham Royal Ballet and Queensland Ballet, Elmhurst School of Dance, Queensland Ballet Academy and QUT.

Terri-Ann White

Director UWA Publishing


Terri-ann has spent her working life around books and ideas: as a bookseller, writer, teacher, editor, festival organiser and now publisher. The one driving constant in her life is the passion for the unique voice in writing and other artistic expression, and she has collaborated to make work with dancers, visual artists and musicians over decades. She has been Chair, Strut Dance Collective and a peer assessment panelist for the Australia Council for the Arts and is currently Director of UWA Publishing. What keeps her awake at night is an obsession with contemporary dance and its ideas and bodies.