Much-loved friend of NAISDA Dance College and one of Australia’s most influential dance figures, Raymond D Blanco returned to NAISDA in June to teach a unit to our Developing Artists.
Raymond is both a graduate and the former Head of Culture and Training Operations at NAISDA. We caught up with Uncle Raymond to find out what he’s been up to over the past 18 months, as well as what it’s like to be back with his NAISDA family.
What have you been up to since leaving NAISDA?
I took a year off to reinvigorate my health and have since been teaching in local schools in Far North Queensland.
I was involved in launching the Gumbugan Indigenous Arts Forum, which was the first of its kind on the Cassowary Coast. I am now in the process of planning the region’s first Indigenous dance festival, of which NAISDA will hopefully be a part.
I’ve also been doing a bit of Community teaching, but there have been a few obstacles. The way in which the North Queensland Community practices and views dance is very different to how it might be viewed and practiced at NAISDA.
There has been a bit of resistance to contemporary dance and how it can be fused with traditional cultural dance. That’s one of the reasons why I want to launch the dance festival – to broaden views on what it is we can do with contemporary dance for the young people.
In August, I’ll be presenting at the National Dance Forum in Darwin to speak about the changing face of dance education.
What you are doing at NAISDA this week and what you will be teaching the Developing Artists?
I am here teaching block work on My Mob, which is one of the units offered at NAISDA and an extremely important study that I helped set up a few years ago. I’ll be returning in August to complete the unit and carry out assessments.
This is my first time being back at NAISDA after 18 months. It’s good to be back. Lots has changed, but all for the better. NAISDA is going through a period of growth, bringing in new things like the Advanced Diploma – it’s good to see.
Applications to join NAISDA in 2020 are currently open. What advice would you give to a young person considering going to NAISDA or pursuing a career in the arts?
Come with an open mind, learn as much as you can, find your voice.
Don’t let anyone distract you from getting where you want to be.
Even to those who might not know if dance is for them or who just want to learn more about NAISDA – come along and get a taste of what it is like!
And to follow Uncle Raymond’s wise words, you can find out more about studying at NAISDA and download an application form to join NAISDA in 2020 here.