The Australian Youth Dance Festival  (AYDF)


The Australian Youth Dance Festival (AYDF) is the nation’s first dance-specific festival for youth.

In 1996, Ausdance National identified a major gap in the networking of youth dance practitioners and young artists. Many young people were already expressing themselves through dance in unique and creative ways. However, in a country this size, there was virtually no contact with their peers with similar interests in other cities and towns. By initiating a youth dance festival, Ausdance also hoped to address some of the social issues faced by young people isolated by distance, population, regional and racial tensions. Creative art is a common support and channel of expression for young people; dance being one of the mediums. Through AYDF, we aim to provide young people a forum for healthy exchange and to begin their professional development.

AYDF aims to:

  • Empower and engage young people through creative arts/dance
  • Encourage participation and learning, and to provide young people skill-up opportunities to be the next generation of creators
  • Enable young people to network and form relationships with their future colleagues
  • Connect young people with their peers and provide them the opportunity to create with the same generation of people who  share similar interests
  • Allow young people to be mentored by a network of industry leaders in a supportive, non-competitive environment, to be the  next generation of leaders
  • Continue shining a light on the vibrant and diverse youth dance sector in Australia


Previous Australian Youth Dance Festivals

Ausdance National devised and produced the first four festivals held in Darwin, NT (1997), Townsville, QLD (1999), and Armidale, NSW (2001 and 2004).
In 2006, Ausdance Victoria hosted the festival in Horsham, VIC
In 2009, Ausdance WA presented the festival in Mandurah, WA. 
In 2012, Ausdance NSW hosted the festival in Gosford, NSW.
In 2014, Ausdance SA presented the festival in Renmark, SA.

Read about previous AYDFs here

The Australian Youth Dance Festival (AYDF) 2017

In partnership with Youth Dance Australia and under the artistic direction of Adam Wheeler, AYDF2017 was remodeled to provide new opportunities for young people to access some of the finest dance experiences available in Australia, in a supportive, non-competitive environment that encourages participation and learning. Held in a major city (Melbourne) for the first time, 96 young dancers participated in three-and-a-half-days of intensive technique, performance-based and choreographic masterclasses with some of Australia's most respected and prolific dance artists and choreographers, including Swedish choreographers, Lee Brummer and Israel Aloni of ilDance. 

For youth dance leaders
Youth dance leaders present at AYDF2017 participated in a Professional Development session with Lee Brummer of ilDance. Additionally, the Festival provided a platform for the leaders to convene and share about their work and the progress of youth dance in Australia during the Youth Dance Leaders' summit. 

Emergence premiered excerpts of seven new works from:

  • Stompin
  • Wagana & Dust Dancers
  • fLiNG Physical Theatre
  • Chris Dyke
  • Flipside
  • Yellow Wheel
  • QL2

Held at Melbourne's flagship contemporary arts venue, Meat Market, the production represented the vibrant and diverse youth dance sector in Australia, and showcased the level of excellence in artistry and performance by youth dancers and youth dance leaders. View the Emergence program here>>


Photography by Maylei Hunt


Ausdance Victoria is supported by:

Emergence is supported by:

AYDF2017 Venue Partners:


AYDF2017 Media Partner:


What next?

Planning and discussions are in motion for 2019, Australian Youth Dance Festival - International. If you would like to be updated on all events and dates around AYDF2019, sign up to the AYDF mailing list below:

Name *


Are you a young professional or graduate looking for a professional development opportunity? Or do you have a passion for dance and would like to be involved in AYDF2019? Ausdance Victoria will be seeking individuals for the following:

We will be releasing more information about both positions next year, so stay tuned or follow us on social media.