Light The Way Dance Collective Review
It’s the ultimate coffee table book for dancers of all ages, or those who love the performing arts. Light the Way Dance Collective is a collection of over 50 Australian dancers, choreographers and creators who have shaped the dance world.
Light the Way (LTW) features commercial dancers, choreographers, musical theatre stars, ballet and tap dancers from all walks of life. The book provides detailed biographical information and interviews with the creatives, giving a firsthand insight into Australia’s dance industry. It is a real eye opener.
Such featured artists include David Atkins, Rhonda Burchmore, Talia Fowler, Nancye Hayes, Chris Horsey, Matt Lee, Todd McKenney, Stephen Page, Dein Perry and Stephen Tannos.
LTW is produced by Louise Telford and Kelley Abbey.
Telford owns and manages Elle Events and Productions and is a former dancer. From 2008-2016, she was the Performing Arts Director of Global Dance Tours. She also produced the nationwide tour of Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler. She has founded the KidsXpress Dance Challenge, where 100% of the proceeds are donated to charity. Over a decade, she raised over $500,000 for KidsXpress.
Abbey is one of Australia’s most prolific dance creators. With a career spanning over 3 decades, she has worked both nationally and internationally. She started her career in musical theatre and has won Green Room and Helpmann Awards among others. Abbey has choregraphed various musicals such as Fame, Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar and Hugh Jackman’s The Boy From Oz. She was the creative director for the 2014, 2019 and 2020 seasons of Dancing with the Stars and was a frequent choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance Australia and USA. She was also the lead performer and creative motion capture consultant on the film Happy Feet. Read more about Abbey’s fantastic career in the book.
LTW will see a portion of sales being donated to ‘The Arts Wellbeing Collective’ which is a nation-wide initiative that comprises a consortium of arts and cultural organisations working together to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts.
They have done such things as: delivered more than 100 workshops and 70 presentations; developed and delivered a range of resources for production teams, touring companies, performing artists and more; and rolled out tailored, accredited Mental Health First Aid training to nearly 200 performing arts practitioners.
One of the most important things The Arts Wellbeing Collective has done is create a support helpline. It is a free, confidential phone counselling service, available 24/7 to anyone in Australia who works in the arts industry.
The performing arts industry can be tough and was made even tougher by Covid-19, so it is amazing that a support line and organisation such as this exists so that those in need get the support they require.
I absolutely adored this coffee table book. The set-out is attractive and the artists profiles are easy-to read. Each artist has been interviewed so their biography is written in their own words, keeping the book interesting as no two interviews are the same. It’s fascinating reading about their backgrounds before they were successful, and equally inspiring to learn about the hard work and dedication put in to be where they are now.
LTW shows just how cut-throat the entertainment industry can be. It doesn’t matter how well known you are or how much experience you have, you are never guaranteed a job. If you’re not right for the job, then you move on and work toward the next project. Rejection is just one of the elements of the job.
Many of the featured artists discuss how Covid has impacted upon their work and the industry. Overnight, most were left in limbo not knowing how long they would be without work or when they could take the stage again. Thankfully, many shows are now able to open but the impact of Covid upon these artists will remain for the foreseeable feature.
Light The Way is an inspiring book for readers of all ages. No matter if you’re a young dancer just starting out, a teenager or young adult striving to become a professional, an adult working within the industry or a retired dancer such as myself. Many of these artists I grew up watching on stage or TV while others I have never heard of. I enjoyed reading each of their profiles, learning about who they are all the while feeling inspired.
Telford, Abbey and their amazing team of contributors have created a unique book that will be cherished for years.
To purchase the book, visit Light the Way's website