Movers and groovers, shakers and makers.

Post by Gareth Hart.

Dance Here is a month long program of dance ‘happenings’ around the Yarra Ranges.

Pioneered by Yarra Ranges Council, the program sees over 75 events taking place in unexpected and exciting ways and locations around the Ranges.

From pop-up flash mobs and dance parties, to workshops and taster classes, to performances, Dance Here is for movers and shakers of all kinds.

The project is an extension of ‘Dance Tracks’ a three year focus from Yarra Ranges Council, in developing the artform of Dance in the region. The major difference here though, is that the whole project is driven by the community.

In late 2015 Council embarked on a public Expression of Interest process, asking for artists, individuals and groups, to propose a dance activity to take place. The result was overwhelming, with some 55 applications received. A majority of these projects were funded by council (many involving multiple events and occurrences), and thus an ambitious month-long program of events now takes place.

Some highlights of the program include a world record attempt for the biggest progressive dance, a hip-hop flash mob, performances on the streets of Healesville, workshops by some incredible local artists, performances along the bus routes in Yarra Glen, Dance classes for boys only, silent discos, archival dance footage screenings, and so much more.

I personally have my toes dipped in three projects, one being the presentation of a dance installation titled “home is where the Art is”, which is a reconstruction of the sensory memories of my (now demolished) childhood home. It’s a short work of approximately 10 minutes for one person at a time. As a work that has such limited capacity (over three hours, only 18 people will experience the work in total), it is not a project that can easily secure presentation opportunities. So funded and fully supported initiatives like Dance Here are vital to it’s life. Tracking further along this train of thought, initiatives like Dance Here are imperative in allowing artists to dream, to create boldly, and to be instilled with belief from our local community.

Gareth Hart dancing

I was recently asked on radio if this was the only program of this scope in Australia. And to my knowledge, yes, it is.

According to organisers, Dance Here is “a vibrant month-long program of dance and movement workshops, performances and pop-up events happening across the region”. What I personally find inspiring however, as I read through the program of events, is that the vibrancy is held within the array of talented people we have living in this region, and the incredible ideas that they bring to life on a regular base.

Dance Here promises to be a month of events quite unlike anything else the Ranges has ever seen. My advice? Get amongst it, especially as it all kicked off on March 15th.

Oh, I forgot to mention that all 75 events are free.

Clearly there are no excuses for busting a move.