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December 2016

Dance Makers Collective … The Making of ‘DADS’

IMAGES: Matt Cornell and Dominic O’Donnell


What a joy it was to return home from Europe for a little while to work on the production of the full length show, DADS!

Before I delve into the world of DADS it might be useful to explain exactly what DMC is…


Formed in 2013, The Dance Makers Collective (DMC) is a group of Sydney based dancers and choreographers that collectively aim to provide a platform for its members to make and produce work with its shared resources. In addition to this, our fluid structure acts as a platform for exchange and the incubation of ideas.

Within DMC we are very much committed to working collaboratively. This means: sharing but also handing over ideas, materials and skills for further exploration and development… all the way through to production!


DADS is a production (proposed and lead by Miranda Wheen) that aims to take on the secret dances of our fathers. Wheen explains,“DADS is about finding dance in the most unexpected places. As a professional dancer, I was very surprised to find that my dad also had a dedicated dance practice, the only difference being that his occurs behind closed doors…with a tambourine.”

The making of DADS also gave us the chance to work within a new choreographic template using: 1 director (Wheen) and 8 choreographer-collaborators. The choreographer-collaborators created and offered material over to the process which was eventually selected and moulded by the director. The creation of the show took place over 2years including 3 developments in Sydney and 1 residency through Dance Integrated Australia‘s, The Corner Residency Program in Federal, NSW.

It was here where we were introduced to Dustyesky, the Russian men’s choir from Mullumbimby. An utterly impressive group of men who lent their experiences of Dad dancing and also their incredible vocals (later to be mixed into the soundscape of the show) over a beer at the Mullumbimby RSL.

Cut to November 2016 and we were preparing for the Premiere season of DADS presented by FORM Dance Projects. With the help of Sydney Dance Company and Bangarra Dance Theatre, who provided us with studio space and of course the Dads of selected DMC members who built set pieces, shared intimate stories and dance moves, we finally had a show!

So there you have it… DADS

Devised and Performed by: Matt Cornell, Anya McKee, Sophia Ndaba, Katina Olsen, Marnie Palomares, Melanie Palomares, Carl Sciberras, Miranda Wheen and Rosslyn Wythes.

Venue: The Riverside Theatres, Parramatta NSW

Dates: 2 – 5 November 2016.