Buzz Dance Theatre commenced its life in 1985, with the name 2 Dance. It was a pilot program, founded by dancer Derek Holtzinger with funding from the WA Arts Council and the Education Department of Western Australia. Holtzinger and fellow dancer/teacher Sue Peacock produced a program to bring dance to schools and highlight the arts to students. The success of this program attracted further state funding and support from the Theatre Board of the Australia Council.
In 1986, the company expanded to include three more dancers and a part time administrator, and based themselves at the Hole in the Wall Theatre in Subiaco and the group were re-named 2 Dance Plus. Performances were tailored to the school age groups, with workshop and residency programs devised in response to specific needs. In 1986, the company visited schools and communities throughout Western Australia, conducting over two hundred workshops and eighty performances.
In 1988, the South Australian Government invited the company to visit their state and serve as a model for the development of a similar contemporary dance and education company in South Australia. By that same year new works were commissioned from noted choreographers.
In 1991, Phillippa Clarke was appointed Artistic Director, a position she held for the next eight years. In that time the company had grown to six dancers, a General Manager and a team of administrative and production support staff. Designers and musicians were being commissioned in the creation of new works. Funding increased with the support of the Health Promotion Foundation, the Education Department through the Arts Education Partnership, the Lotteries Commission, and private and corporate sponsors. In 1994 2 Dance Plus won the WA Department of Training, Training Excellence Award for its commitment to achieving training excellence.
During these years the company gained a national reputation for quality contemporary dance performances and creative movement workshops, coupled with comprehensive student and teacher resources. Phillippa Clarke's background as a teacher enabled her to communicate credibly within the education arena and did much for the reputation of 2 Dance Plus. In line with funding, dancers were employed for up to nine months of the year, on a continuous contract basis. In 1998 the company changed its name to Buzz Dance Theatre, to better reflect the new aims and dynamism of the organisation.
In November 1998, Paige Gordon assumed the role of Artistic Director. Buzz Dance Theatre and continued to offer performances in various theatre venues throughout the metropolitan area, providing children and students with a full theatre experience. It also continued with its very successful tradition of creative movement workshops in schools.
Buzz Dance Theatre received invitations from overseas and interstate to tour its performances, conducting its first overseas tour in 2001 with sell-out performances in Durban, South Africa. In 2002, the company performed at the 14th ASSITEJ Festival in Seoul, Korea and in 2003 Buzz Dance Theatre completed its first East Coast tour of Australia. Carol Wellman was Acting Artistic Director of the Company in 2002 whilst Paige was on leave. Carol played a significant role in Buzz's tour to Korea, and made a significant contribution to the company throughout the year.
In 2004, Felicity Bott commenced as Artistic Director leading a company of highly skilled professional dancers. Felicity only recently finished working with the company after 5 years at the helm. During this time, she saw the company through numerous regional WA tours, a major national tour in 2007 with sell-out shows of the ever-popular RabbiT at the Sydney Opera House and another tour to ASSITEJ Korea at the beginning of 2009.
In May 2009, Cadi McCarthy joined the Company as Artistic Director. Buzz produces and presents original Australian contemporary dance theatre performances devised for specific age groups from primary through to tertiary level, together with complementary workshop programs. Buzz Dance Theatre also undertakes school holiday workshop programs, public seasons, feature performances for special events and dance development activities.
The Company is nationally recognised for the excellence of its artistic programs and for its commitment to the provision of engaging dance theatre experiences for young people. The annual program caters for approximately 20,000 people, mainly children and young people. In 2004 Buzz was nominated as a finalist in the 2004 Australian Institute of Management Small Business of the Year Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in vocational education and training.