Founded in 2000 by Riverside Theatres and Ausdance NSW as an outreach program of the NSW Ministry for the Arts, Western Sydney Arts Strategy, Western Sydney Dance Action became an incorporated association in 2004 under the leadership and direction of Kathy Baykitch (2000-2008) and Olivia Ansell (2009-2010).
Since inception the organisation has established strong networks with local and state government, education and community based sectors and now has a board comprised of representatives from First Nations, government, education, corporate business, finance and the arts.
In 2011 the new director, Annette McLernon, launched the organisation as FORM Dance Projects, maturing the organisation from a small service provider into a professional arts organisation with a growing reputation for presenting a high calibre artistic program of contemporary dance works, while playing a key role in continuing to nurture the cultural fabric of Western Sydney. With a legacy of 20 years and the hard work of many committed and dedicated people, FORM has grown into a vital hybrid arts organisation firmly anchored in Western Sydney.
Since 2011, FORM’s profile has grown locally and nationally amongst artists, peers, audiences, government, philanthropists and media. Uniquely placed in the Australian independent dance sector as both presenter and producer, FORM drives an artistic program engaging a community of local, national and international dance artists.
FORM’s vision is ambitious. In Parramatta, rapidly transforming into Sydney’s central city, we work in an environment reflective of a future Australia. Up to 300 independent dance artists, early career to estibalished, participate in our artistic and education programs annually. Alongside over independent dance artists, we embrace the diversity of young Western Sydney dancers from many cultural communities to challenge the face of Australian contemporary dance. We build on our expertise in the contemporary dance sector and offer something new to artists and audiences.
In recent years, FORM has continued to grow capacity to provide presentation opportunities for independent dance makers and has ventured into commissioning and producing large scale, genre-defying, festival productions. These commissions support artform development, enhance professional development, and the dance practices of early career to established dance artists. Through our entire artistic program FORM fosters career pathways, provides employment, and promotes the “made in Parramatta” reputation and brand.
FORM has garnered significant ongoing support and recognition to continue our development as a small to medium arts organisation. FORM has secured continuous local government support from the City of Parramatta, multi-year NSW state government funding, substantial philanthropic support and trusted partnerships with flagship arts companies and cross-sectorial partners. This has increased FORM’s momentum and provides the necessary groundwork for the next phase of organisational growth.
FORM is a nimble and versatile Western Sydney performing arts company, nationally recognised, with impact across the arts sector at multiple levels. Our many successes over the last decade demonstrate FORM is forging an exciting trajectory, based on unique initiatives and responses to the broader arts landscape.