Our Team

Advocating for Dance in Queensland

Find out more about the Ausdance QLD team and Management Committee

Kate Usher

Executive Director

Kate Usher is a Brisbane based Producer. Kate graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in 2008 with a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Dance), a Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration in 2009 and a Masters in Creative Production and Arts Management in 2011, where her thesis ‘The Business of Dance: Identifying the Skills and Knowledge for becoming a Self Producer’ was awarded the grade of High Distinction. A big believer in ‘life-long learning’ Kate is working through an MBA at Queensland University of Technology researching trends in the Cultural Economy.

In her spare time Kate curates Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance and is a co-founder with Glyn Roberts of this emergent arts organization. Prior to this Kate held the role of Associate Producer at Metro Arts working across all art forms in contemporary performance, Producer at World Science Festival Brisbane, and her formative years were spent with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in the Arts Programming team. During her time with QPAC Kate worked on numerous projects such as: in-theatre performance, commercial projects, large scale events and bespoke festivals. Projects dear to her heart are Out of the Box festival for Children and QPAC’s International Series.

With her freelance producing practice, Kate has also worked for Woodford Folk Festival, La Boite Theatre Company, Brisbane City Council and Artslink.

Kate is a keen advocate for Independent Dance and was a member of the Ausdance Queensland management committee 2010 – 2016. Furthermore, Kate still enjoys rolling and flying in a good contemporary class.

Dr. Anja Ali-Haapala

Dance Development Consultant

Anja is a researcher and community dance practitioner. Central to Anja’s research work is an interest in how people experience dance, as audience members and active participants. Anja has worked closely with The Australian Ballet (Melbourne), Sydney Dance Company, Expressions Dance Company (Brisbane), Queensland Ballet (Brisbane) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and has presented and published her findings internationally.

Through her community dance practice, Anja promotes the joy in dancing as a teacher and facilitator. She’s worked in community, school and corporate settings, providing opportunities for regional and city kids, active older adults, librarians, international students, budding dancers and more to explore, express and (hopefully) enjoy moving.

Anja is Co-Chair of the Early Career Researchers Community – Dance, an international network for emerging dance researchers, and is a Research and Documentation Network Adviser for the World Dance Alliance, Asia-Pacific region. Anja was awarded a PhD in Creative Industries by QUT in 2016 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance (First Class Honours) from QUT in 2011.

www.ali-haapala.com.au

Ashleigh Musk

Program Producer

Ashleigh is a Brisbane-based dancer, creator and producer. After graduating from the Queensland University of Technology (Australia) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance) in 2012, Ashleigh moved overseas where she completed a Postgraduate Diploma of Contemporary Dance at the University of Kent / Northern School of Contemporary Dance (Leeds, UK) in 2013 and a Postgraduate in Production and Cultural Event Management at the University of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) in 2016.

Alongside her work in producing and arts management, Ashleigh has also worked with various international companies and choreographers. She has choreographed for and performed in festivals throughout the world, including the Guandong Modern Dance Festival (China, 2011), 2High Arts Festival (Australia, 2011), Sismógraf (Spain, 2016), Swallowsfeet (UK, 2016) and Ripollesdansa (Spain,
2017).

For the past five years, Ashleigh co-founded and implemented a cultural project in Figueres, Spain, using dance as the main art form but which also expanded into other disciplines including circus, music, theatre and installations/digital art. The project, AGITART, involved various lines of work: an annual international festival, educational and audience engagement projects, a touring dance company, programming for the city theatre and collaborations with various cultural key stakeholders in Spain.

Stephanie Pokoj

Adminstration and Communications Officer

Stephanie completed a Graduate Diploma in Creative Industries in 2017 majoring in advertising and communications in the arts (QUT), as well as holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Dance Performance (QUT). Stephanie has expanded her practice into arts marketing putting her skills in graphic design, website design and management into effect working closely with the Independent Arts sector and freelance commercial contracts.

From 2017 to 2019 she was the Marketing and Development Coordinator for Brisbane’s Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance, as well as sitting of the Supercell Managment Committee.  

As her time as a dancer, Stephanie has worked and trained in Australia and UK focusing on the intersection between dance, theatre and installation works. Stephanie was part of Supercell 2017 as a dancer performing in “They Gather” choreographed by Bridget Fiske & Joseph Lau, as well as being able to present her work “Unconsciously Done” as part of the INDEX program. She has also performed and choreographed for Bleach* Festival, Outcast Performing Arts, Lucid Dance Company and other independent artists. Stephanie teaches ballet and contemporary for local Brisbane dance studios.

Stephanie joined Ausdance QLD in March 2018. 

Management Committee

The Ausdance QLD management committee members meet up every six weeks. They are responsible for the governance of Ausdance Queensland.

Renee Place

Chair

Renee is an Arts Advocate, Dance Educator and Dance Educational Consultant.

Damien Cassidy

Vice-Chair

Damien is a Producer for Brisbane Festival.

Lynne Masters

Treasurer

Lynne is the Head of Finance at Queensland Ballet.

Lisa McCready

Secretary

Lisa is the Deputy General Manager at Circa Contemporary Circus.

Clarissa Rayward

Ordinary Member

Clarissa is the Director of Brisbane Family Law Centre.

Gail Hewton

Ordinary Member

Gail is a passionate Community Dance Artist working with older people.

Dr. Jordin Steele

Ordinary Member

Jordin works in arts and cultural strategy and policy design for Brisbane City Council.

Julie Chenery

Ordinary Member

Juile is an educator, counsellor and long term dance-o-phile. Motivated by creating options and opportunities to help people thrive.

Maddie Nixon

Ordinary Member

Maddie is a Brisbane based writer, dramaturg and production stage manager.

Meg Cooper

Ordinary Member

Meg is the founder of Mad Dance House.