Sharp Short Dance 2020


Sharp Short Dance unearths the finest young dance artists from Sydney and beyond. The festival provides a rare opportunity for aspiring choreographers and dancers, film makers and music creators to display their talents in a supportive environment. Young performers are inspired to strive for their own artistic excellence and encouraged to actively participate in all genres and traditions of dance from tap to jazz, flamenco to Bollywood, classical to contemporary.

This year applicants were invited to enter a dance film or a recorded performance (approx. 3 mins long). Mentorship sessions with film and dance experts were offered, providing professional advice as to the technicalities involved in making a dance film, recording a performance on video as well as in producing an effective dance work. General Public had the option to vote for their favourite work over a month of online engagement from the 26th of October. A panel of industry professionals invited the best works to perform in the live streamed Final.

Winning performances were eligible for awards including Most Innovative Choreography, Most Outstanding Male and Female Dancers, Most Outstanding Solo, Duet and Ensemble performances, Audience Choice Award, Outstanding Dance Film and Best Original Music Score. Finalists are offered a variety of prizes as well as valuable industry secondment opportunities with leading dance companies such as Shaun Parker & Company and Twisted Element.

The winners of the 13th annual Sharp Short Dance festival, presented by FORM Dance Projects, were announced on Saturday 21st November following an impressive final event held at Riverside Theatres and live streamed online.

The judging panel included members of the dance industry including Emma Saunders (WE ARE HERE Company),  Jamie Winbank (Sharp Short Dance Artistic Producer 2018), Jo Clancy (Wagana Dancers), Melissa Ramos (Dance Cinema), Omer Backley-Astrachan (coordinator of Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year), Shaun Parker (Shaun Parker & Company) and Aruna Gandhi (Silambam-Sydney). Awards were presented by the judges and the host of the event, dance artist Kay Armstrong.

Over 100 dancers competed in this year’s event. From a total of 52 dance works, 24 were selected to continue to the final.

Most Innovative Choreography – Saskia Ellis (Earthern)
Most Innovative Choreography (Junior) – Amari Leiva Urzua (Al Mal Tiempo)
Most Outstanding Talent – Isaac Clark (Masque)
Outstanding Female Dancer – Danni Cook (To Fear, To Feel)
Outstanding Male Dancer – Chris Wade (Volatile)
Outstanding Solo Performance – Lucy Angel (Moonlight)
Outstanding Duet Performance – Ruby Howard and Toby McKnight (Try Not To Break It)
Outstanding Ensemble Performance – Taylor Mikic and Priyasha Naidoo (Prison Yard)
Outstanding Dance Film – Georgia Gallagher (The Helper)
Audience Choice Award – Frances Orlina (Moon River)
Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Year Secondment – Toby McKnight (Try Not To Break It)
Twisted Element Secondment – Mia Ryan (Life Satisfaction)
Wild Hearts Secondment – Nikitta Jancek (Perception)
We Are Here Secondment – Paul & Frank Barbara (Scala Ad Caelum), and Saskia Ellis (Earthern)
Shaun Parker and Company Secondment – Paul & Frank Barbara (Scala Ad Caelum), Derell Akrong (Prison Yard) and Priyasha Naidoo (Prison Yard)
AMPA Summer Intensive – Lily Cole (In My Dreams), Jannah Allen (Discomfort) and Sophia Kaloudis (Masque)

Heats Monday 26 October – Thursday 12 November
Heat Finalists Monday 16 – Tuesday 17 November
Final  Saturday 21 November at 7.00pm

Presented and produced by FORM Dance Projects and Riverside Theatres

Emma Saunders, FORM’s 2020 Associate Artist, WE ARE HERE Company

Jamie Winbank, Artistic Producer of Sharp Short Dance 2018

Jo Clancy, Founder and Director of the Wagana Dancers

Melissa Ramos, Founder, Director and Curator of Dance Cinema

Omer Backley-Astrachan, Course Coordinator Sydney Dance Company PPY

Shaun Parker, Artistic Director of Shaun Parker & Company

Aruna Gandhi, Bharatanatyam artist and Founder-Director of Silambam-Sydney


This is where you want to be if you are keen to spot the dancers who are going to be the familiar faces of the future.”
Vicki Van Hout, FORM’s Resident Blogger 2019

The most appealing part was being able to showcase my choreography in front of an audience as well as making new friends with the same passions as me!”
Participant 2019

“Such a great festival with a very warm and inclusive vibe. The participants will remember this occasion for life!”
Judge 2019

“Not only are the performances of the young people awesome, but you always ensure that the production is not just city, state, Australian but a world class production that we can all be proud to be from Western Sydney. You and the performers do this city proud.”
Clr Bill Tyrrell, City of Parramatta 2019

Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo
Partner logo