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Universal Asylum - Dancing our way to a Brighter Future



Dance as a Therapeutic & Recreational Art form Capable of Promoting Physical, Mental & Spiritual health, & Positive Social Change

My relationship with dance began in 2005 in confronting & overcoming a paralysis like fear of dance. As a recovering Alcoholic & to some extent influenced by outback Australian culture, I soon fell in love with the recreational art form & many of the healthier aspects of the dance community which provided a relatively "safe" & healthy recreational environment that facilitated healthy physical, spiritual & social interactions within an extremely diverse community in terms of ethnicity, age, socio-economic background, etc. Although aware of some of the unhealthy egotistical aspects of the industry typically relating to the conduct of those running some of the dance companies I was able to manage this with little issue for well over half a decade by avoiding toxic individuals  & associating with the many free spirited individuals I have came to love over the years.  

Although I was like the Scarecrow, Lion & Tin Man in the level of heart, courage & oil in my joints it required to get me started I was soon dancing up to 6nights a week & began training to be a professional dancer within 12months or so. Failing the my first audition at the Adelaide College of the Arts, I was scooped up by a private company Dansar Productions where I trained full time for the following 12months. However, I sustained a back injury in performing a charity musical theatre performance for the MS Society, My Fair Lady, in which I blew two discs in my lumber spine executing a lift.

Thinking my life was over before my mid 20's I was able to begin my recovery via Pilates prior to gradually resuming dance training to rebuild core strength. 

Later that year I avoided disclosing my spinal injury in my physiotherapist report to the Adelaide Center of the Arts, prior to taking Panadol, anti-inflammatorys & working within my limits successfully passed the audition to undertake a Bachelor of Dance Performance.

My professional dance training was among the most physically healthiest period of my life. However, the inability for our year to work together as peers drastically inhibited all of our progression. I also struggled with my physical facility due to being in my mid 20's about 5-6years older than the majority of my peers. Unfortunately, I failed one practical subject due to tearing a ligament in my toe & was faced with having to repeat.

This presented me with a huge moral dilemma as a father as although my heart was very much with dance I was forced to consider the harsh reality that if proceeded in repeating I may continue doing injuries & never complete the qualification in a profession that for most is typically a short lived career. 

As ongoing personal development & working with others were also central components of my recovery from "Alcoholism" - I applied to undertake a Bachelor of Psychological Science / Bachelor of Sociological Science as a four year double degree. Although I was not confident about being accepted having never completed school I made a commitment to myself to drop out of "Dance School" if I were accepted.     

Additionally, throughout the more serious stages of my dance training I also witnessed a great deal of unethical & rather toxic behaviour from those running schools. Most of which was small stuff like unethical business practice, deliberately teaching poor technique & slowing down peoples learning to cash in, scorecards changed in competitions, toxic ego based rivalry between schools accepted within the community & associated politics. At some point I trained to teach a range of partner dance styles for a particular company however pulled out due to personal discomfort with being instructed that teachers were not to admit to having a partner & learning that female teachers were expected to remove their wedding rings. There was a strict no fraternisation policy. However, business tactics very much played on the "dirty dancing" scenario of falling in love with dance teachers, etc. In addition to deliberately slowing peoples learning I couldn't do it. All of which contributed to my decision to pursue a career in Social Work as it was more inline with my sense of morality. 

Throughout my Bachelor of Social Work, I maintained my relationship with dance through the Latin Dance community where my relationship with dance began & throughout my studies I always planned on someday being in a position to apply the healthier aspects of dance as a mode of therapy, recognised its artistic potential to serves atavistic purposes in relation relevant social issues & as a potential means of fundraising. These dreams are yet to come into fruition in any significant ways however there's still time. 

Actually one of the greatest productions I was involved in was a community development project to assist with bridging cross-cultural understandings between African youth growing up in Australia & their parents. 

I do also believe that taught "right" partner dancing has the power to assist in building respectful relationships between young men & women, & promoting positive culture if taught in a healthy manner.

At this point in time I am not in a position to run group classes & am only able to provide a limited amount of private dance tuition upon request. 

I've long toyed with the idea of putting together affordable (or ideally free) group dance therapy classes on a regular bases. However, at this point in time I am not in a position to do so.    

One of my many dream is to attain a position where it is possible to provide free high quality & ethical dance training & events that fall in line with the healthier aspects of the recreational arts community I fell in love with half a lifetime ago. However, our economic system is currently presenting great challenges to this.

Universal Asylum Youtube: Dance 2005 - 2021

Photo credit: Jason Wong Photography

Police Station 3


The dark side of the dance industry that certain narcissistic personalities will do anything to sweep under the rug in order to maintain their positions of power & control.

Universal Asylum strongly advocates that regulation of the dance industry needs to be explored & implemented as a matter of urgency. In my experience as a Dancer & professional opinion as a Social Worker - the dance industry has proven itself to pose an unacceptable risk to public safety. 

Such regulation will undoubtedly require legislation that will to a considerable extent require input from the industry. However, the unethical conduct & abuse of power demonstrated by many so called leaders within the industry affirms self regulation is far too dangerous & that such power aught to be enforced by either an external entity or one with an appropriate degree of separation from the dance industry in ensuring impartial ethical standards are adhered in providing advocacy of individuals within such recreational arts communities.

I have personally endured a decade of severe C-PTSD & Complicated Bereavement Disorder due to severe & ongoing abuse perpetrated by certain Adelaide Dance Companies & am literally excluded from half of the recreational arts community due to speaking up about the abuse I have experienced & witnessed inflicted upon others. 

For details on my personal experience with narcissistic abuse & dangerously unethical conduct within the dance industry please refer to my reviews on Latino Grooves Dance Studio & Southern Salsa facebook pages & personal Youtube videos comprehensively outlining the psychopathic levels of abuse experienced at the hands of Latino Grooves staff & associates: 

Standing up to Latino Grooves [2019]

& more recently linked discrimination via MUTATIDANCE

Discrimination from 3rd Adelaide Latin Dance company

However, Mutati has since demonstrated the integrity to make amends for some of his less desirable actions. Although, it's been a long time coming, I respect what seems to be a genuine willingness to take ownership & accountability for his actions. We currently appear to be on amicable terms.

Dance: Programs
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