A new era for VCA Dance

Head of VCA Dance Jenny Kinder has announced she will step down from her role at the end of 2018.

Associate Professor Kinder, who has been Head since 2000, said she felt “extraordinarily fortunate” to have led the discipline for more than 18 years.

“It’s been a great honour to be Head of VCA Dance,” she said. “I came into the job expecting to be doing it for about ten years. But when the VCA became part of the University of Melbourne in 2010 that gave me a huge opportunity to reshape the curriculum, with the new Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance). It’s been an enormous privilege to train the dancers of the future and to see them contribute to the development and ecology of dance in this country.”

It was timely, she said, that her decision to step down came during this year’s celebrations for Dance 40, which is marking 40 years of dance at the VCA with performances, new dance works and public talks on the future of dance.

“One always hopes to go out on a high,” said Kinder. “It’s been wonderful to see more attention on VCA Dance this year, as well as all of the exciting events that have been programmed and will continue until December.”

“But I do think it’s time for new leadership, and look forward to continuing my work at the Faculty in a non-leadership role, doing some of the things I haven’t had time to do in recent years.”

VCA Director Professor Jon Cattapan said: “We would like to celebrate the considerable achievements of our colleague Jenny Kinder during her tenure as the Head of VCA Dance. We now embark on a new journey after 40 excellent years, with an eye on even greater successes in the years ahead.”

A recent Review of VCA Dance identified an opportunity to consider new approaches to high-level dance training. It also recommended potential cross-program collaborations and teaching across study areas, particularly with the VCA disciplines of Theatre, Music Theatre and Production.

Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music Professor Barry Conyngham said: “We applaud the work of Jenny Kinder, who has announced she is stepping down from her role as Head of VCA Dance. I would like to acknowledge the strengths, historical and current, of VCA Dance and give my strongest possible support to this important area of our Faculty. ”

An international search will shortly begin for a new Head of VCA Dance as the discipline enters a period of expansion and renewal.

Professor Cattapan said: “I can assure all students and staff that we are very committed to the curriculum of VCA Dance, which is rightly celebrated throughout Australia and internationally. From a student’s point of view, it will be business as usual and we perceive any future changes to include an expansion and renewal of the current VCA Dance offering, not a contraction.”


Banner image: Associate Professor Jenny Kinder speaks at the 2018 opening of Sue Healey’s Thinking Bodies, Dancing Minds exhibition at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery. By Drew Echberg.