Presented by Ausdance

This year, the Australian Dance Awards are replacing the traditional ADA ‘winners’ program and, instead, celebrating the many people who sustained their craft and artistry, and entertained us in clever, brilliant and comical ways, finding joy even as they struggled to continue during 2020 and the Covid-19 epidemic. 


The exception will be the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will again recognise someone who has spent 40 years or more significantly contributing to Australian dance.

To honour the stories of determination, empathy and kindness that enabled dance communities to survive 2020, we have created five new categories that recognise these achievements and successes

It was a tough year in which dance companies, independent artists and teachers took their classes and other creative activities online, allowing us to watch kitchen improvisations, classes on balconies and gardens, and ideas being shared on Zoom, using all possible means to make stunning online mini-shows to keep up communities’ spirits. 

To celebrate each of these activities, this year’s awards will profile all nominees, allowing us to demonstrate the many benefits of dance across diverse cultures and society at large.

We now invite you to nominate exceptional 2020 dance activities in one or more of the following categories. Nominations will close on 23 September, but in order to honour every nominee, we will need a photo or short film clip (no more than 30 seconds) to accompany the nomination.


Evolving Practice

This category celebrates the ways in which independents and companies balanced the need for safety, the logistics of creating performance in constrained circumstances, and the determination and creativity it's taken to deliver high-quality training and support programs for professional artists.

Achieving Miracles

This category celebrates the achievements of those who managed to inspire others with their ability to survive challenges and offer support to others. With loneliness, isolation, poverty for some, and for others work denied by lockdowns and curfews, the category highlights the positivity and creative energy that triumphed in 2020.

Profiling Accessibility & Diversity 

This category celebrates the artists who created inclusive communities, supported disadvantaged populations, such as communities at risk, remote and regional areas, or marginalised peoples dealing with racism, poverty or mental health and found ways to bring dance to all in 2020.

Creating Community Benefit

This category recognises imaginative approaches to teaching and learning in schools and communities during the pandemic. The relationship between dance students and a dance studio or other dance education setting is special—the industry is part of the lives of thousands of people.

Lifetime Achievement

This category celebrates an individual who has spent 40 years or more significantly contributing to Australian dance. In 2020 we focus particularly on their ability to continue to inspire their community during the pandemic.