Because of her, we can: The Legacy - 11.07.18

As we continue our NAIDOC Celebrations, we pay special mention of NAISDA graduate, choreographer and independent artist, Vicki Van Hout. Vicki has Wiradjuri, Dutch, Scottish and Afghan heritage and has been long admired in the arts world for pushing the boundaries.

Vicki Van Hout

Amongst her many career highlights, Vicki performed with Bangarra Dance Theatre in the groundbreaking work, ‘Ochres’ and with AIDT The Company in ‘Edge of the Sacred’.  She has choreographed work for ATYP, Pulse8, NAISDA, WAAPA, The Helpmann Awards and Quantum Leap and currently teaches Contemporary Dance at NAISDA.

Vicki is a fiercely independent artist who dances, choreographs, mentors, directs and designs. Her body of work is extraordinary and forges the path for all to follow.

We would like to share a very special poem that Vicki penned about NAISDA called The Legacy, which was published during our 40th anniversary celebrations in 2016. This piece beautifully captures the essence of NAISDA, it’s history and the wonderful people who are contributing to its bright future.

The Legacy

When we pierce

this ground,

we make them,

the Darkenjung ancestors,

bare witness

to the fertile nexus,

this one, now,

in the present sense

A product of many a

past tense.

Past people

have passed this

down to us.

In this moment

we stand

on the precipice

of continuing greatness

A lineage

whose foundations

consisted of

much more

than this.

More than mere

concrete, mortar,

pillars, walls & ceilings

But tears, courage

and a vision to score –

a place on the map for us.

A place to make it …

A name for ourselves

Told by us with our voices

Using our own bodies

With our own ways

With our own spirits to guide us.

The first of us


so that we could soar

They battled politics, ignorance,

were pioneers

and much more than that

They brought

Blackfella talent to the fore…

Front …  and  … centre.

They were firebreathers

Shape shifters

Their bodies burning….

formed from unbridled will

Bright new.

Their feet like thunder

Announcing that we too are here.

Have always been here….

And will always be here.

They used their dance

to make the world stand up…

and take notice.

They danced the Nullabour prayer,

to speak of this land

and our custodial connection to it.

They danced the ‘Brown Skin Baby’

to speak of stolen children.

They danced the mangy old dog

to speak of in-ex-plic -a-ble


They danced

Black Deaths in Custody,

where she wailed

over his spent body

And they cried too in quiet.

Private wet tears

that no-body would hear

because no-body was left


All hearts were in attendance,



to witness it.

They danced

The 88s Tall Ships’ dispatch

To dispel to the notion

of onetruehistory

Called ‘Survival’ ….

for survival

of cultural perpetuity

and the theatre god’s grace

did they engross.

Their bodies knew nought

but that they had  to do it

Whether a calling or a whim

or a free taxi ride to it,

by a woman with a car,

sat trawling the streets…


for eager bodies to bend

to an ancient rhythmical beat

to the beat of this land

and that of no other.

This woman of inspiration,

a hard task master.

A mother

of contemporary idiom

In an urban setting,

representing a tradition

of the first and longest,



The names are too many,

Like the stars in the galaxy.

The beat of one heart

over a lifetime.

Every fibre of

one being…

Like dots on a painting

They leave a brilliant legacy…

From humble beginnings

in a dusty run down church,

to these here foundations,

where we will make fire

from this dirt.

Just before we finish,

so that I am not remiss,

I’d like to acknowledge

the miners,

the illiterate,

the queers,

the queer of nature,

that is quirky

that is brave

that were here,

and are here

to seek refuge from small minds,

in smaller places.

The cross-dressers,

the crazy, the colorful, the flamboyant,

you know who you are,

you are with your people…

You are the talent

whose shoulders

prop up this place.

You are the unique voice

who sees from the other side.

You can now be counted amongst

singers, actors, choreographers,



movies stars.

You are leaders.

It doesn’t matter what shape or colour  you come in,

as long as you continue to open and dazzle

the minds of the masses

with your bodies.


by Vicki Van Hout