Bernadette has decades of experience as a Performer, Choreographer, Educator and Consultant in remote, regional and urban Australia, as well as in Europe, Israel, the United States, South America, Asia, the Pacific, and West Africa. Beyond dance she’s worked in theatre, education, commercials and film, and lectured in Performance at University of Western Sydney from 1999-2007.
A graduate of NAISDA Dance College, she danced with Dance North, Meryl Tankard, Australian Dance Theatre and was a former Assistant Artistic Director, Choreographer, and Dancer with Bangarra Dance Theatre where she co-created the highly acclaimed seminal work Ochres (1995). She’s also made works for major companies including Indonesian Physical Theatre Co, Teater Kita Makassar, Snuff Puppets Co, Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Australian Dance Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Oceania Dance Theatre, Australian Youth Orchestra, Dance North, Taiwan Institute of the Arts, and the Hanoi National Dance. She’s featured in short experimental dance films as a Choreographer and Performer including ATOM award winners for Best Experimental; River Woman (Michelle Mahrer & ABC TV, 2006) and No Surrender (Physical TV CO& ABCTV, 2002) with screenings in Europe, China, New Zealand and the United States.
Bernadette completed an 18-month international research program as part of an Arts NSW Women & Arts Fellowship, which she was awarded for her contribution to Australian dance. It entailed ongoing research into Indigenous dance forms of the Pacific, (Fiji & Samoa) West Africa (Senegal) and south India (Kerala), exploring media and their intersections with choreography – Film (Philadelphia, USA), Photography (Palermo, Sicily) and Architecture (Hamburg, Germany).
She was Choreographer, Performer, and Artistic Consultant for Moving with the Dreaming by Nadine Patterson of HIP Cinema (1997, Philadelphia, USA) which screened in Chicago, the Philadelphia Fest of World Cinema, Harlem Film Fest, and Burkina Faso Film Fest, and won a National Black Programming Consortium's Prized Pieces Award. Bernadette has been Choreographer in Residence within Australia and abroad.
In 2008 Bernadette premiered her work GroundUp! in Sydney at Carriageworks. In 2011, her path led her to form a new lab - Bwsene !nmotion Australia - established to foster innovation and rigor in experimental world black dance, choreography, performance research and mentoring. Bwsene a fosters intercultural exchange through interdisciplinary performance, dance education and research. Regular dialogue and collaboration with international counterparts underpin this. Bwsene champions the experimental; innovative and rigorous, respectful of though not bound by tradition. It seeks to deepen interrogation in translational praxes of non-western performance-based traditions, challenging rhetorical identity and cultural notions. Bwsene facilitates mentorship through access and exposure for emerging and early-career creatives.