Taking A Step – Wharf Transformation

Sydney Dance Company is creating the home of contemporary dance in Australia.

On the brink of our 50th birthday, we have been defining contemporary dance in Australia for decades and the most exciting years are still to come. We are taking steps to secure the next 50 years and in 2018,  a world-class revitalisation of our historic home at Pier 4 will begin, part of the landmark redevelopment of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct by the NSW Government.


Sydney Dance Company moved into the Wharf studios in 1986. A unique space, hewn from Sydney’s industrial heritage, our studios have been home to generations of  renowned dancers and the foundation of performances that have brought world-wide acclaim for Australian culture. Over the years, we have taught hundreds of thousands of people to dance in our studios. The quirky, creaky, historic Wharf has become synonymous with Sydney Dance Company.

As part of the NSW Government’s landmark Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, our home will undergo a transformation in 2018/19. This significant reconfiguration and refurbishment is our first major upgrade since we moved in and will create an environment which meets the needs of both our exceptional dancers and enthusiastic, committed dance class patrons.

These pages will be regularly updated with more information.

The transformation of our home will provide:

  • A new studio, Studio 5. The Neilson Studio will be a unique, purpose-built studio overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge; a multi-purpose space used for rehearsal and performance, education programs and public dance classes.
  • Our four existing studios will be upgraded, including Studio 2 The Joan Barrie Studio – a Gift From Catriona and Simon Mordant where the Company rehearse and create new choreography; and Studio 4 The Wales Family Studio where our Pre-Professional Year dancers undertake their training.
  • State-of-the-art digital technologies across all five studios to ensure that audiences across the world can access and experience dance.
  • Reconfigured café, foyer space and public facilities to improve the experience of all of our customers.
  • Enhanced gym and physiotherapy facilities to support the wellbeing of our dancers.
  • Production facilities to support the presentation of our work.
  • Refurbishment of the administration offices.

During the construction phase of the project, beginning in mid 2018, the Company and Studio dance classes will be moving from the Wharf to a custom-designed studio facility at 385 Wattle Street, Ultimo.

This fantastic interim facility is a 15 minute drive from the Wharf and a 10 minute walk from Central station near Broadway Shopping Centre. While the Wharf is undergoing modernisation,  Sydney Dance Company will continue to provide a wide variety of popular dance classes along with short courses and workshops.

The Company and our Pre-Professional Year students will rehearse in the Ultimo studios.


What is involved in Sydney Dance Company’s renovations?
Sydney Dance Company’s existing facilities on Pier 4 will undergo significant renovations. When you visit our refurbished Studios, your experience will be greatly enhanced. Our four existing dance studios will be upgraded, a new studio will be built and the public facilities and administration suite will be will be improved.

How is the project being funded?
As part of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct project, the NSW Government has made a major financial commitment to support the renovations. Sydney Dance Company is raising $7M to match this funding and to ensure that the new facilities are exceptional.

How can I help?
You can make a tax deductible contribution to support the Wharf redevelopment by calling Zoë Cobden-Jewitt, Development Director on 02 9258 4832.

Will there still be dance classes on offer? 
Yes! The Wharf will stay open until mid 2018 and the class program will be as normal.  Mid-way through 2018 our classes will move to an exciting new pop-up location on Wattle Street in Ultimo which will house three studios. This will enable us to offer you a similar program to the current class schedule. Once all the construction is finished our brand new Wharf studios will be back in full swing.

Will the 2018 class program differ from the current one?
There will be some changes to the current timetable, including our new classes in the early morning and afternoon.

Will my dance class pack still be valid at the Ultimo studio?

Will the same dance teachers be teaching?
Yes, our dance teachers are highly valued and very important to Sydney Dance Company and will be joining us at the Ultimo studios.

Will you be offering school holiday workshops and youth term classes for children and young people?
We will continue to offer programs for children and young people in the Ultimo studios and plan to extend these programs to run in new locations around Sydney.

Where will the Company dancers be?
The Company dancers will be based at the Ultimo studios and will be rehearsing there whenever they are not on national or international tour.

Where will performances in Sydney be? 
Our season performances will continue as normal at the Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay on Hickson Road, and our New Breed 2018 season will be presented in December at Carriageworks.

The NSW Government has made a major commitment to help us deliver the rejuvenation of our home.


We have committed to raise $7M to match this support and to ensure our facilities are world-class and provide the optimum experience for our customers and dancers.

We are indebted to those leadership donors who have pledged their support to our Take A Step fundraising campaign.


The Neilson Foundation

The Wales Family Foundation

Simon Mordant AM and Catriona Mordant


Julian Knights AO and Lizanne Knights

Carla Zampatti AC


Pam and Doug Bartlett

Kiera Grant and Mark Tallis

Mark Hassell

The Alexandra and Lloyd Martin Family Foundation

Karen Moses

Mary Zuber


Paul Brady and Christine Yip

Peter and Liz Brownie

Brett Clegg and Annabel Hepworth

Jane and Richard Freudenstein

The Cullman Family Fund

Judi Wolf and Alden Toevs


Rafael Bonachela and Joe Lawler

Janice and Tony Burke

Jade and Richard Coppleson

Anne Dunn and Patricia Buick

Donna and Carl Jackson

Tina and Mark Johnson

Longreach Ownership Trust

Jules Maxwell

Andrew Messenger

Margaret Payn

Peter Reeve and Jaycen Fletcher

Chrissy Sharp

Leslie Stern

Victoria Taylor


If you would like more information or would like to support our Take A Step campaign, please contact Zoë Cobden-Jewitt, Development Director on 02 9258 4832 or zoecj@sydneydancecompany.com