About Chris Duncan
Born and raised on the Central Coast beaches of NSW Australia, Chris began a lifelong passion and relationship with the world of dance and entertainment at a very early age. After extensive training in all genres of dance, Chris opened her first studio at age 19 and went on to direct successful students to international careers in dance and musical theatre with entertainment giants such as Disney, Universal Studios, Ringling Bros & Barnum Bailey Circus, Bor Productions, gigs on Broadway and Las Vegas, as well as multiple cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and P&O Cruise Lines to name a few.
Chris has a Diploma in Business Studies and has studied Event Management, Digital Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts (Creative Arts major) together with multiple private business courses and mentorships. Chris has also held an Entertainment Industry Representative’s Licence since 2010.
With a strong background and knowledge of the entertainment industry, and after teaching for more than 20 years, in 2005 Chris transitioned to the roles of Agent, Manager, Adjudicator and Producer of Dance-related media, events and competitions. Chris acted as the exclusive Australian Casting Agent for Ringling Bros & Barnum Bailey Circus (USA) for several years and also managed a select group of talented children and adults working in the industry. She has regularly co-ordinated nation-wide workshops for studios with top Celebrity Choreographers from both Australia and the USA.
From 2005 to 2015, Chris sponsored US-based Celebrity Choreographers to teach in Australia with a view to pushing the envelope of keeping Australian choreographic content very current and competitive within the international environment. This positively influenced the standard of local choreography and brought our national understanding of current trends to a higher level. Chris has also undertaken extensive promotion and booking of numerous Australian Celebrity Choreographers’ tours and workshops with studios across the country.
Trained and qualified in Classical Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Tap, National Character, Vocal Production, Modelling and Drama, Chris is well-known for her ability to extend her students’ technical competency in record time. Her choreography was known for its intricate and highly technical elements. Numerous soloists and troupes gained exceptional exam and competition results over many years under Chris’s tuition. She studied multiple syllabi in dance – RAD (Royal Academy of Dance), BBO (British Ballet Organization), BAL (Ballet Australia Limited), BDA (British Dance Association) and CDA (Contemporary Dance Association – Australia). From this extensive understanding of training methods, she also created her own syllabus in advanced jazz and modern techniques.
In 2012 Chris purchased DanceLife Pty Ltd from founder Clint Salter, and over the following three years set about developing the events component of the company known as ‘DanceLife Unite’ from one successful Sydney-based dance competition to a nation-wide network of events and National Finals. DanceLife Unite now hosts over 25,000 dancers annually (when not in a pandemic) and offers exceptional prizes to National Champions including international travel and training opportunities. Chris is also the Managing Director of ‘DanceLife Australia’ – the online media portal – which is now the leading digital news service in the Australian dance and musical theatre industry. Her role includes publishing news, views and interviews with key Australian dance industry personnel and attending multiple stage shows each year providing valuable written reviews and media support.
Chris has a passion for supporting dancers and the industry as a whole. She regularly facilitates exceptional opportunities for amateur and professional dancers and has assisted numerous performers with gaining their 01-VISA for working in the US. Chris has also supported multiple dance companies from a financial, marketing and/or management position to help provide more paid employment opportunities to Australian talent.
Professionalism and dedication to positive feedback for competitors is at the forefront of Chris’s criteria as a judge and adjudicator of eisteddfods and talent quests. Effective, knowledgeable honesty that gives industry insight on technique, choreography, presentation and performance quality is delivered in a nurturing and compassionate manner to all competitors. Her successful teaching background combined with her professional agent’s ‘eye’ and knowledge of the industry allow Chris to give highly effective and constructive adjudications to all competitors. Chris has judged at many comps including the ‘Australian Dance Festival’ from 2011 to 2018.
Chris now turns her focus to assisting other DANCE-BIZ owners achieve their dreams and lives by her mantra: CREATE, BELIEVE, INSPIRE, ACHIEVE.