Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Annual Achievement Award awardees
2018: Suzie Graham Kuzmanovski, in memoriam
The Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation is proud to present this year’s Annual Achievement Award for the exceptional and significant contributions to the advancement of dance movement therapy in Australia that have been made by Suzie Graham Kuzmanovski.
Suzie’s faith in dance as a healing modality stemmed from her own experience of using dance to heal her own body. Her practice was highly intuitive and refined, but also carefully thought out and researched.
Suzie worked with people with intellectual disabilities in Colac, innovating ways of engaging them and their learning well before she ever heard of dance therapy. In 2004 she commenced a certificate in dance therapy training in Melbourne – the distance between Colac and Melbourne did not seem to deter her as she attended week-end workshops and evening tutorials through 2004.
Displaying a sensitivity to the needs of people with intellectual disabilities, she was an enthusiastic advocate for them, keen to draw the group into dance movement and therapeutic dance. In the words of Suzie’s supervisor, “her clients really mattered to her”. With perseverance Suzie set up the first regular dance therapy groups in Colac for her clients.
As she gradually gained recognition for her DMT skills she was invited to set up a DMT group with primary school girls to address relational aggression.
Suzie had a community orientation, aligning and connecting her groups, where possible, with other community services to enhance the outcomes for both. She worked with primary school aged children who were part of Colac’s growing Sudanese community and collaborated with the local primary school’s action plan to address emotional blocks to learning. Dance was seen as one of their strategies for expression of feeling.
Her successful involvement with children of the Sudanese community led to an invitation to use DMT with Sudanese refugee women and their babies with the aim of facilitating an opportunity to express their stories in dance and to facilitate healing dances.
When facing her own health issues, Suzie returned to and relied on her knowledge and experience in DMT to guide her during these times. In Hanny Exiner’s book “Dance Therapy Redefined” Hanny writes the following “We work with dance as the therapeutic material. Dance is the main vehicle of the therapy and it is in the act of dancing that the therapy is realised”. It is this last sentence in particular that Suzie truly lived. Her contribution in the rural town of Colac is a shining example of the way dance therapy can contribute to healing and connection in community.
Thank you Suzie for recognizing people’s needs and having the faith and perseverance to meet those through dance.
Bouthaina Mayall, Convenor, Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation
2017: Jennifer Helmich
The Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation is thrilled to present the Annual Achievement Award for 2017 to Jennifer Helmich in recognition of her exceptional and significant contributions to the development and advancement of dance movement therapy in Australia. Jennifer’s entire working career has involved promoting and working for dance movement therapy in one way or another, and combining it with her nursing career.
Jennifer was one of the group of enthusiastic practitioners who were instrumental in the establishment of the International Dance Therapy Institute of Australia (IDTIA). She was a member of the IDTIA committee for more than 20 years and held many roles including Convenor, Treasurer, Training Coordinator and Education Committee member. She also took on other vital tasks for the Institute too numerous to recount and is still a faculty member of the Institute’s three year training in dance movement therapy.
Jennifer’s contributions, whether in administration or teaching, have been characterised by attention to detail and tireless commitment, beyond the specifics of any role. She has provided much support, encouragement and direction to many students as they completed their training requirements. All of this has contributed significantly to the professionalism of the dance movement therapy training and dance movement therapy generally.
Jennifer was also a major force in bringing the DTAA into the membership of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) – a lengthy and complex process. In the beginning of that relationship, she represented the DTAA at PACFA. She believed in the importance of DTAA’s membership of PACFA at a time when the General Committee was challenged to keep the association afloat. At that time, the other committee members were not ready to take up the relationship because of the significant extra work it required.
It took several years of providing PACFA with the needed paperwork, policies and procedures. There were many meetings with the PACFA Committee, where Jennifer and Denis Kelynack brilliantly represented the DTAA. With dance movement therapy being accepted by PACFA as a specialised form of counselling and psychotherapy, a valuable strengthening in the recognition of our practice in Australia has evolved. Jennifer’s foresight and commitment, which led to the association becoming a Member Association (MA), has proved to be invaluable for the profession as a whole and for the DTAA’s members.
In addition, during the early days of the DTAA, she was actively involved in setting up the structure and guidelines for the DTAA’s Professional Membership Committee and serving on it for a number of years. Jennifer has presented at conferences in Australia and overseas on the use of dance movement therapy in settings such as those for survivors of trauma. She has also had papers included in all four of the Dance Therapy Collections series.
On behalf of the Australian dance movement therapy community we thank you.
Naomi Aitchison, Convenor, Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation October 2017
It is such an honour to receive the HEMF 2017 Annual Achievement Award. To receive the award from one’s esteemed colleagues is humbling. Reading the citation and looking back, it is hard to recall the detail of the actions that went into assisting the establishment of dance movement therapy in Victoria. What I do recall is the passion, the urgency and importance of creating a place for dance therapy in therapy and in the psychotherapy world, the recognition. The excitement propelled a handful of people onward to create the Association and the the teaching institutes. Oh my, it was hard work and a lot of fun!! This year, I retired from dance therapy practice, so to receive this Award is the pinnacle, the fulfilment of a career in dance movement therapy; like putting cream on top of the cake – yum !!
2016: Sally Denning
This year the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation is thrilled to be presenting the annual achievement award for an exceptional and significant contribution to the advancement of dance movement therapy in Australia for the year 2015/2016 to Sally Denning. This year she became Doctor Sally Denning, the first Australian to have gained a PhD in dance movement therapy from an Australian university. We offer her our congratulations on her great achievement.
The research that she undertook to gain her PhD was an investigation into the current state of Australian dance movement therapy as well as a study of the origins of dance therapy in the USA in the mid-twentieth century and the work of the two founding figures of the profession’s development in Australia. We hope that the conclusions she reached and described in her thesis will have a dynamic effect on the future of the profession.
Sally has worked with children and adolescents at risk in the education system and conducted extensive training for teachers and other professionals in the field. Currently she works full time at the Australian Childhood Foundation as a Therapeutic Specialist, working clinically with children who have experienced trauma and abuse. Sally has also worked with children with Down Syndrome, adults with MS, depression and those who wish to discover more about themselves. Previously, Sally worked for 14 years as a professional belly dancer and since retiring from this role has, on occasions, applied belly dance as a tool within some of her dance movement therapy sessions. Once again dance movement therapy has been enriched by bringing it together with a deep knowledge of an alternative form of dance.
We also commend the outstanding contribution she has made and continues to make to the DTAA’s Professional Membership Committee.
Naomi Aitchison, Convenor, The Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation, November 2016.
2014 Award to Naomi Audette (Mirabai Light) in memoriam
HEMF recognises the great loss to the dance movement therapy community, and others, caused by the death of Naomi Audette (Mirabai Light) in 2011. Thanks to the loving diligence of her colleague and friend, Alexandra Jordan, Naomi’s prolific writings were gathered, edited and made available through Moving On. The citation, which was presented to her husband Arion Light and their son Azriel at the DTAA’s AGM on November 23rd 2014, reads:
The Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation is proud and delighted to present this year’s Annual Achievement Award for the exceptional and significant contributions to the advancement of dance movement therapy in Australia that have been made by Naomi Audette (also known as Mirabai Light).
Despite her tragically early death, she left a body of work that has the potential to influence, enrich and add to the knowledge base of the profession for many years to come. As well as her research and writings, Naomi was incredibly versatile in her practical therapeutic and educational work, being able to draw on her experiences as a professional performer, acrobat, dancer and Clown Doctor. Prior to conducting her private practice, which included running public workshops and facilitating movement groups for growth and change, she worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Her work there was with children, adolescents and mothers and babies with a range of mental health issues. She also co-authored the book, Therapeutic Games for Groupwork, which grew out of her work at the hospital.
Naomi’s life and work has been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to many practitioners. In part this is thanks to the publication of her extensive writings that describe her deeply personal research. These have been made available to the dance movement therapy community in a number of articles published in Moving On.* Her presence is still missed by the members of Australia’s dance movement therapy community as well as by others who have been enlightened and inspired by her. The awarding of this recognition of her gifts will be appreciated by them all.
Naomi Aitchison, Convenor, The Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation
(*A debt of gratitude is due to Alexandra Jordan who, with the assistance of Monique Buggy, has been able to make available, to the dance therapy community and others, the range and depth of Naomi’s work.)
2013: Tony Norquay
The announcement of this award was made at the DTAA’s A.G.M. on November 9th 2013. The citation read:
The Foundation is delighted to announce that the recipient of the Annual Achievement Award for 2012/2013 is Tony Norquay. Ton’y part in the growth and development of dance movement therapy in Australia has been fundamental. One of the major roles he undertook as elected Convenor of the International Dance Therapy Institute of Australia in February 1992. Since then he has been a key member of that organization until his retirement from it in October this year. For this we are all truly grateful.
Naomi Aitchison (on behalf of the Foundation’s members)
How surprised and humbled, slightly embarrassed and yet delighted I am. … Such a prestigious award – do I really deserve it? … though it is true I have done a lot, there is so much more that could be done, and has been done by so many others. I am truly most honoured to be the recipient … I am still a major champion of dance movement therapy in all its forms and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
2012: Anna Ganz
The award was presented to Anna at the DTAA’s Annual General Meeting on November 10th 2012. The citation said:
The members of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Managing Committee are delighted to select you as the recipient of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Annual Achievement Award for 2011/2012. This is in recognition of your considerable contributions to the field of dance-movement therapy in Australia. Please accept our congratulations. In particular we wish to commend your unstinting commitment to ensuring that the DTAA retains its membership of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). We know that this is and has been a constant and onerous task for at least five years. Without your efforts the DTAA’s ongoing membership of that body would undoubtedly not have been maintained. That membership is vital for the ongoing recognition and viability of the DMT profession in Australia. Your work as coordinator of the DTAA Professional Membership Committee, since mid-2007, has also contributed to the growth and development of the profession. In addition, taking over from Jill Groom to be the DTAA’s Treasurer for many years, and the other work you have done as an active member of the committee, demonstrate your inspirational devotion to the ongoing existence of the body that nurtures and encourages the professional life of DM therapists throughout the country.
Naomi Aitchison (on behalf of the Foundation’s members)
Anna was surprised by the award and humble, though delighted, in her acceptance of it.
2011: Mary Builth
The Foundation is delighted to announce that the recipient of the Annual Achievement Award for 2010/2011 is Mary Builth. She is known and loved by many, many members of the dance-movement therapy community as well as all the people who have been fortunate enough to be her students and clients. Mary was unable to leave her home in South Australia due to the ill health of her husband, Bill, so the award was not made to her in person. This was the first time that a recipient has not received the award in the presence of their colleagues and friends. However the citation for Mary’s award was read to the attendees at the DTAA’s A.G.M., on 5 November 2011, where she was acknowledged by all who know her as a person most worthy to receive it. The citation follows.
The members of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Managing Committee are delighted to select you as the recipient of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Annual Achievement Award for 2010/2011. This is in recognition of your inimitable contributions to the field of dance-movement therapy in Australia. Please accept our congratulations. As one of the ‘grandmothers’ of dance-movement therapy we honour your long-term enrichment of the profession. We recognise that yours is a beautifully unique and powerful approach to healing, teaching and nurturing, not only of students of dance movement therapy but also of the hundreds of clients to whom you’ve brought joy, a love of living and discoveries about themselves and the world they live in. Being in your presence and experiencing what you bring to your work has been an inspiration to all of us who know you. As with all the best teachers and healers, you have always opened yourself up to newfound teachings and deepened your understanding of the beauty and wonder of human beings and our world. And you have found ways to incorporate these into your work which keeps alive the thrill and wonder of what you do.
We welcome you as totally deserving to be the latest in the growing list of wonderful people who have already been recipients of this award. May you keep dancing on for many years to come.
Naomi Aitchison (on behalf of the Foundation’s members)
2010: Jenny Czulak Riley
The citation and gift were presented to Jenny Czulak Riley by Naomi Aitchison on behalf of the Foundation at the DTAA’s end-of-year gathering on December 9th. As part of the ceremony, many people spoke of their great admiration and appreciation of Jenny’s contributions to their own and others’ understanding of the joy of dance and dance as therapy, especially for people who are in the later years of their life. At the same time they also expressed their admiration and appreciation of Jenny’s other accomplishments.
The citation said:
The members of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Managing Committee are delighted to name you as the recipient of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Annual Achievement Award for 2009/2010. This is in recognition of your contributions to the field of dance-movement therapy in Australia. Please accept our congratulations. We are proud to be able to make this award to honour your long-term participation in the work of the DTAA and generosity to the organization as well as your contributions to the dance-movement therapy field in other ways. Your unstinting editorial collaboration in bringing to fruition Johanna Exiner’s and Denis Kelynack’s book Dance Therapy Redefined was one of the many steps you have taken to deepen people’s understanding of the power of dance as therapy. Your editorial skills have also played a part over many years in the publication of Moving On, the DTAA’s journal, as have your frequent contributions to its contents.
We also recognise that you are one of a very small and select band of contributors to this field who has published a practical and inspirational book. Growing Older Dancing On, your creative, thoughtful and thought provoking contribution the field of dance as therapy with the older members of the general community, has been, and we are sure will continue to be for many years to come, an invaluable resource for workers in the field of caring for the elderly. It has also brought insight to members of the dance-movement therapy community who choose to work with people in nursing homes and other groups of elders. Since immersing yourself in the field of dance through the Graduate Diploma in Movement and Dance and later as one of a small group of people who completed the Graduate Certificate in Dance Therapy at I.E.C.D. you have consistently promoted the cause of dance as a healing practiceYour pioneering work, leadership and ongoing commitment to dance-movement therapy were also acknowledged by the DTAA when they awarded you an honourary Professional Membership in 2007.
Your enthusiasm and constant striving for excellence has been a light in the darkness for many.
Naomi Aitchison (on behalf of the Foundation’s members)
Jenny Czulak-Riley & Naomi Aitchison | Jenny Czulak-Riley (Fran Ostroburski – background) | Naomi Aitchison, HEMF reading citation
2009: Denis Kelynack
Denis’ award was made at the dinner in November 2009, celebrating 15 years since the inauguration of the DTAA. Denis was totally surprised and delighted to be chosen and very moved by the acclaim that so many of the people attending the dinner paid to him in a ritual facilitated by Linda Murrow. Below is the citation that was presented to him with the award.
The members of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Managing Committee are delighted to present you with the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Annual Achievement Award for 2008/2009 for your contributions to the field of dance-movement therapy in Australia. Please accept our congratulations. We are proud to be able to make an award that recognises the long-term contributions and achievements made by you as a pioneer in the field, having begun applying creative dance to therapy in the 1970’s. From that time on you infused your work as a psychologist with your growing understanding of the power of dance-movement as a healing tool. As one of Australia’s pioneers in the field and as an educator, from the early days of the Graduate Diploma in Movement and Dance at the Institute of early Childhood Development in Kew and later as a lecturer in the Dance Therapy Graduate Certificate course there, you have influenced and supported many of today’s DMT practitioners and educators. More recently you were one of the creators of and lecturers in the course at RMIT.
You have worked for many years to promote and support the profession individually as well as being one of the founding members of the DTAA, having served as its President and in other roles. As President and as convenor of the Professional Membership Committee you helped the DTAA negotiate the complex issues that arose during the early stages of PACFA’s formation. You were also instrumental in refining the documentation and processes that were required for the fulfilment of Professional Membership of the DTAA to meet PACFA’s standards. Over many years you continued to widen and refine your knowledge and understanding of DMT practice, both overseas and in Australia, culminating in your work with Hanny. This latter experience not only deepened your understanding of dance-movement as therapy even more but also led to you co-authoring Dance Therapy Redefined with her.
Naomi Aitchison (on behalf of the Foundation’s members)
Liz Loughlin honours Denis Kelynack with HEMF Award.
2008: Elizabeth Loughlin
At the DTAA’s AGM in November 2008 the HEMF Annual Achievement Award was presented to a surprised and delighted Elizabeth Loughlin (M.A, B. Litt. Hons (Perf Arts), BA. Dip.Soc.Studs., Dip. Dance-Movt. Therapy (IDTIA), Prof. Mem. DTAA). We were thrilled to be able to select Elizabeth as the recipient, to be able to formally recognise and applaud the pioneering work for which she has been responsible for more than thirty years as well as the fundamental roles she has played in the development and awareness of dance-movement therapy in Australia.
The members of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Managing Committee are delighted to present you with the Annual Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Achievement Award for 2007/2008 for your contributions to the field of dance-movement therapy in Australia. Please accept our congratulations. Unlike previous awards this is being presented based on our review of all the issues of our Moving On journal published before the inaugural award was presented in 2005. The HEMF Managing Committee approved a special arrangement for this year because the editors produced two special double editions, rather than the usual four issues of the journal. This has given us the welcome opportunity to select a member of the DMT community whose outstanding contributions to the field in Australia have been reported on over many years. We are proud to make an award that recognises the long-term contributions and achievements made by you as a pioneer in the field, having begun applying creative dance in therapy in the 1970s.
In particular we honour you for your role in the development of the dance-movement therapy profession in Australia and consistently raising the profile of DMT here as well as overseas. You have presented on your work at numerous conferences and other events, many of them not specifically DMT conferences, thereby developing or increasing an awareness of that work to professions outside DMT. As a part of your ongoing personal professional development and education of others you have also had work published in Australian and international journals and other publications. In addition we are aware that, more recently, a chapter by you was included in a British publication Sexuality and Fertility Issues in Ill health and Disability (2006) which drew on your Masters research.
You provide supervision – a vital component in the growth of professionalism and ethical standards for DMT – and as one of the guiding lights and principal lecturers at IDTIA, who has helped to develop the training in that institution, you nurture the entry of newer members into the DMT community.
Naomi Aitchison (Convenor HEMF)
Response from Elizabeth:
Dear Naomi, Jane and members of the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation,
Thank you for this large beautiful book – The Woodblock Painting of Cressida Campbell – and for the honour of receiving the HEMF Achievement Award for 2008. I remember presenting my mother–infant dance therapy group to an education meeting in the department of Clinical Psychology in the early 1990s, quite an adequate description I believe. A friend and colleague said to me later, you told us what you did, but you did not tell us how it worked. As time itself went by, and with the constant experiences of being a dance therapist, the opportunity to read, reflect, teach, discuss with others, as well as the ongoing challenges of the health contexts, I ‘grew up’ professionally, and my ‘knowing how and why’ now occurs more as a matter of course. My response to this award is that the dance therapy practices and understandings do evolve over time. Keep on track, find good people to talk with, supervisors and others, stay in the dance process, absolutely find out what others do, show your work, document, record, video – and always present your beliefs, methods and knowledge with confidence.
Thank you all,
2007: Sandra Kay Lauffenburger
During the 2007 ‘Weaving the Threads’ conference, the Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Achievement Award was made to Sandra Kay Lauffenburger. The citation honouring Sandra included the following statements:
This award is made in particular to honour your efforts which have led to the establishment of the Certificate Program in Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals (LMA/BF) to be run in Australia, commencing in April next year as well as being the coordinator and co-director of the program. We would also like to acknowledge your contributions to the field of dance therapy through your ongoing experiential and academic education of students and practitioners, as demonstrated by the workshop The Dynamic Architecture of Communication; Moving, Feeling, and Observing: Space – Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) presented by you in Melbourne last year – just one of the many workshops you have offered on LMA and Bartenieff Fundamentals over the years. Your own continuing research, leading to developments in your understanding and utilisation of therapeutic theories and methods, was demonstrated by the paper ‘Self-Psychology of Heinz Kohut as a Psychodynamic Framework for Dance/Movement Therapy’ published earlier this year. We also appreciate your ongoing contributions to Moving On, helping the Dance-Movement Therapy community to stay in touch with developments in Sydney and Canberra, such as the information about the Self Psychology book collection being available at the ANU’s Hancock Library and keeping them informed about self psychology courses.
2006: Michelle Royal
At the DTAA Annual General Meeting in November 2006, Michelle Royal was honoured for her efforts, through her writing in DTAA Quarterly, to awaken, or remind, the dance movement therapy community about the fact that our profession is not properly recognized by many institutions, organizations and others with the ability to affect public opinion about the validity of particular modes of therapy.
2005: Inaugural award Dr Heather Hill
At the DTAA Annual General Meeting in November 2005, the inaugural winner, Dr. Heather Hill, was acknowledged for activities including reports about her work in, as well as her direct contributions to, all four issues of ‘Moving On’ in that year, gaining her doctorate – Talking the talk but not walking the walk: barriers to person-centred care in dementia, the enthusiasm and professionalism with which she conducted workshops, spoke at conferences and published papers, including one at the 8th National Residential Aged Care Facility Conference for Leisure, Recreation and Lifestyle staff, later published in ‘Moving On’ and for her contribution to the ongoing discussions about the nature of dance on the ADTA’s listserve and the workshop she led on ‘Person-Centred Care in Dementia’ for the DTAA AGM Professional Development Day.