Our History

Melbourne, 1986. Janine McGrath and Jennifer Hemphill shared a vision of an updated dance syllabus which would be modern and challenging, yet inclusive and structured. Inspired to begin working on a Jazz syllabus based on the same structure as a ballet class, the original SFD choreography was developed, set and recorded during the following two years.


With some enthusiastic brainstorming, the name Southern Federation of Dance emerged and was officially founded in 1988.


Next, this exciting new Jazz syllabus was launched at a performance held at the Banyule Theatre. There was a large turn-out from the dance community and approximately 100 members joined following this monumental event.


Christine Hogg steered the fledgling association before the first committee was formed. Karen Malek helped to establish the constitution. The first examiners for SFD were Tanya Buskes, Jennifer Hemphill and Janine McGrath. A year on, as a highlight of the launch of the Major Classical levels, Joanne Michel was invited to become our patron which she graciously accepted.




In January 1990, Jazz Studies 1, 2 and 3 were created. Still in the early 90’s, Jennifer Hemphill devised and presented the first components of what was to become the Teaching Certificate Course to a group of senior students in Mulgrave. A little while later, the teaching course was adapted and expanded, and offered to all our aspiring teachers.


Since those early years, the syllabus has been revised and modified, initially by the original choreographers, and later in collaboration with other choreographers both internally and externally. Southern Federation of Dance has become a highly recognised and respected society, running highly reputable examinations, competitions and a wide variety of events.



Southern Federation of Dance has been supporting dance education and building dance communities for over 35 years. The consistent growth in our programs and membership base is testament to the vital role we play in dance education in Australia.

Our Focus

Southern Federation of Dance aims to create positive dance environments by supporting, inspiring and motivating teachers, students, and the wider dance community. We advocate for a diverse, progressive, encouraging, and inclusive dance experience.


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