AUSDANCE VICTORIA TEAM
Michelle Silby, Executive Director
Michelle Silby has an extensive career in dance in both creative and administrative functions. Over the last 25 years, Michelle has worked across a variety of contexts as a dance performer, teacher, choreographer, educator and management roles: as a director, festival director, company manager and education consultant in the UK, Europe, and the last 10 years, in Australia. After successfully leading Ausdance NSW since Oct 2012, she was appointed Executive Director, Ausdance Victoria in Nov 2015. She is inspired by the opportunities that leading both states will bring to the dance sector, wider communities and respective organisations. Michelle was born in the UK, where she studied dance at Arts Educational Schools London, followed by a post-graduate year at London Contemporary Dance School, The Place in 1992. Later in 2000-1, after moving into management and leadership roles, she undertook an intensive arts and business management course for arts leaders, and was most recently awarded a subsidised place to attend short course in Australia for not-for-profit leaders by Harvard Business school.
Michelle moved to Sydney in 2006 and Melbourne in 2015 where she has continued to work in the arts. She has held roles as the Program Manager, Dance at the Australia Council for the Arts, Executive Producer for the 2014 Australian Dance Awards, and is also an Independent Consultant for Arts and Dance with various clients across Australia. As an arts leader, she is strategic, entrepreneurial and generous with her time and support of others.
Katrina Rank, Director of Education of Life Long Learning
Dr Katrina Rank is a leading Australian educator and dance artist, contributing to national and international movement education outcomes. A ballet and contemporary dancer by training, Katrina maintains a performance and teaching practice and received an Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education in 2018.
Katrina has worked in various roles for Ausdance since 2008 including acting Director, Education Manager and consultant. She is currently Director of Education and Lifelong Learning. Katrina was the author and project leader of Teaching and Leading Dance to Older People, a research program and report which has been distributed widely. Her extensive background in education and community arts also saw her work on the Knowing You Knowing me Project with the City of Whittlesea in 2017–2018 and the hugely successful Alice Project. The Alice Project was a community dance initiative that reached across four regional Victorian municipalities and more than 15,000 participants over two years, as part of the VicHealth MOTION program.
Her recent dance focus has been on dance for health, with particular reference to ageing and Parkinson’s disease. In 2013, Katrina initiated Fine Lines, intergenerational dance and projects. Fine Lines began with contemporary dance classes for experienced mature dancers.
Clare McKenzie, General Manager
Clare is an experienced arts manager, having worked in managing, producing and marketing roles in the arts industry for over ten years. As General Manager of Ausdance, Clare manages the financial and operational aspects of the organisation as well as industry programs. Prior to joining Ausdance Victoria, Clare was Executive Producer for KAGE Dance Theatre, overseeing finance, strategic planning and business development including National and International touring. Clare also has significant experience in international market development and marketing gained through her previous position at Circus Oz. Clare has experience in music and literary management, having worked for acclaimed vocal group Coco’s Lunch and independent bookstore Readings Booksellers. Clare completed her Masters of Arts Management at The University of Melbourne in 2010.
Sasha Leong, Dance Development Officer
Sasha Leong joined Ausdance Victoria in 2015 and took on the role of Dance Development Officer in 2016. She is passionate about diversity in the arts, community engagement and social activism. One of her highlights at Ausdance is the development and delivery Knowing You, Knowing Me, an 18-month community dance project, working closely with the local community in the City of Whittlesea.
Outside of Ausdance, Sasha is an independent multi-disciplinary performing artist based in the West of Naarm. After performing professionally as a dancer and actor on stage and screen, she moved on to creating and collaborating with artists of diverse backgrounds with recent works, Emergence (2017) and Bukjeh (2018). In addition to her creative practice, Sasha offers project and production support to community groups within her local municipality, and is a recent participant of Leadership Victoria's 2018 New and Emerging Communities Leadership (Women) program.
KELLY DICKSON, ACTING CHAIR
Kelly Dickson has held a variety of roles in the cultural, government and sports sectors over a 25-year career, including marketing, communications, commercial, public affairs, stakeholder engagement, strategy and producing. As the Chief Operating Officer for the Victorian Major Events Company, she was Founder and Project Director for White Night Melbourne (2013-2016) and White Night Ballarat, in addition to leading bid teams for a range of cultural and sporting events.
Kelly currently provides consultancy services in strategy, major event creation and delivery, to host governments and councils, tourism organisations, venues and event organisers, both in Australia and internationally.
AMY JENNINGS, SECRETARY
Amy Jennings is Legal Counsel for Tennis Australia Limited, the governing body of tennis in Australia. Throughout her legal career, Amy has worked with a number of not-for-profit sporting organisations, including Football Federation Australia, and also sits as a member of Football Federation Victoria’s Grievance and Disciplinary Tribunal.
In addition to her legal qualifications, Amy holds a Bachelor of Communication from the University of Newcastle and a Master of Arts (Broadcast Journalism) from University College Falmouth, having worked as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, ABC and Austereo. Prior to her time in television and radio, Amy also worked as a freelance photographer and writer for Dancetrain Magazine.
Growing up in Newcastle, NSW, Amy is passionate about dance and the opportunities and sense of community it can provide for people in regional areas – young and old.
HELEN HAINES, TREASURER
Helen Haines is the Director and founder of Dollars + Sense Consulting, a boutique bookkeeping company based in Cremorne. Helen is passionate about seeing small businesses succeed and takes a holistic approach to their business but getting to know why they do what they do, not just the what or how. Helen has a range of financial experience in compliance, small business advisory and operational administration. She helps businesses grow, thrive and achieve their goals every day.
In January 2019, her little girl, Francesca, arrived and outside of work family time is her favourite thing! Between her and her husband they are changing the stereotypical family roles and living the concept of work-life rhythm. She is passionate about the arts and being a part of the Ausdance community.
Lauren Brewerton is currently a HR Partner at Arts Centre Melbourne for the Performing Arts Pillar. With a passion for the arts Lauren has spent twenty years within the industry, firstly in stage and venue management and then in front of house where she continues to work to this day.
After spending time in Scotland working in theatre, Lauren returned to Australia where she began a career in recruitment and then generalist HR. Throughout her HR career which spans over ten years, Lauren has worked across the corporate, higher education and government sectors. Her most recent role with Arts Centre Melbourne has enabled her love of the arts and her HR career to combine.
DR. SALLY DENNING
Dr Sally Denning is the Program Manager, Quality Unit at the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF). Sally assisted ACF to successfully gain Quality Assurance certification with ISO 9001:2015 and the Victorian DHHS Service Standards in 2014 and more recently manages compliance aspects for ACF’s Registered Training Organisation.
Sally has a strong background as a dancer, educator and a clinical counsellor and has worked for the last 8 years at ACF offering clinical counselling, dance therapy and playtherapy for children who have experienced trauma, neglect and abuse and their carers. Sally holds a PhD (Dance Therapy Research) from Melbourne University, a Masters in Education (Melb Uni), Graduate Diploma in Movement & Dance (Melb Uni), Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Education & Training (Vic Uni), Graduate Certificate in Dance Therapy (Melb Uni), Bachelor of Education (Melb Uni) and a Diploma of Quality Auditing (GMS). She is a registered clinical counsellor (PACFA Reg. Clinical), registered counsellor (Glasser Institute), clinically registered play therapist (APTA), registered play therapist – supervisor (APTA) and professional registered dance-movement therapist (DTAA).
Amity is an experienced legal professional and arts advocate with extensive engagement in the legal and arts sectors spanning a decade.
Amity is a senior commercial lawyer in private practice at a large firm with particular expertise in commercial transactions drafting and review, contract negotiation and corporate advisory. Throughout her practice she has provided legal and business advisory services for the creative sector assisting artists and arts organisations, and has accumulated broad experience in not-for-profit board governance. Amity also has expertise in arts media and marketing having worked with flagship performing arts companies The Australian Ballet, as Publicist, and Bangarra Dance Theatre, as Marketing Manager. She has also worked as a Marketing Consultant managing the strategic marketing activities of Cirque du Soleil, Luna Park and Sydney Dance Company.
Amity holds a double Bachelor degree in Law and Arts with Honours from The University of Melbourne. She is committed to artistic and cultural expression in Australia and loves all forms of dance.
Kate is recognised as one of Australia’s foremost choreographers and directors of dance-theatre. She is an award-winning creator of original performances, which integrate the mediums of dance, theatre and visual artistry. From 1997-2017, she was the Artistic Director of KAGE, which she co-founded with Gerard Van Dyck. As the Artistic Director of KAGE, Kate devised, directed and/or performed in all the Company’s works. Kate has choreographed new work for Australian Dance Theatre, Chunky Move, Victorian College of the Arts, Fling Physical Theatre and Tasdance. Many of her works have won industry awards and national and international recognition. In 2013 Kate was recognised in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group 100 Women of Influence Awards. Kate’s final work for KAGE, Caught in the Middle toured Scandinavia in 2018 and continues touring throughout Norway in 2020. Kate is currently studying a Master of Teaching at Swinburne University.