NAISDA Dance College is proud to be involved in a number of community outreach programs, which give us an opportunity to lend our unique knowledge and resources to community groups all over Australia.
As part of this work, we enjoy a close relationship with Solid Ground – an initiative of Carriageworks which provides education, training and employment pathways for Indigenous Australian young people in Redfern, Waterloo and Blacktown.
This year, Solid Ground held its inaugural Creative Arts Camp. The three-day event saw NAISDA present one of three creative workshops for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students.
We caught up with NAISDA’s Head of Dance, Deon Hastie, to find out more about the camp and NAISDA’s unique involvement.
Tell me a little bit about the Solid Ground Creative Arts Camp that recently took place:
NAISDA facilitated a workshop with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from the Western Sydney area for the Solid Ground Creative Arts Camp at Carriageworks.
The students had the chance to experience a few different art forms throughout the camp. In addition to a workshop by NAISDA, there were also workshops run by Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and National Art School.
What was NAISDA’s involvement in the camp, what kind of activities did NAISDA undertake with the participants?
NAISDA ran a one-day dance workshop with the students where they had the chance to sample a few different dance forms and also learn about what we do at NAISDA. I took them through the repertoire for a work I created for a festival in Adelaide.
The dance represented bringing communities together from around the world and included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander influences, which I thought the students would enjoy.
One of NAISDA’s Diploma Developing Artists, Kiarn Doyle, also presented a hip hop session and NAISDA’s wonderful Cultural Tutors Dujon Niue, Harry Newie, Norah Bagiri and Berthalia Reuben sat down and taught them a cultural song and dance from Mua Island in the Torres Strait. The students really loved this aspect of the workshop as they were taught language and heard stories about life in the Torres Strait Islands.
How did the participants respond to NAISDA’s workshop?
Some of the students were quite shy as, for many of them, this was their first time experiencing dance. It was good to give them an introduction to dance so that they can explore this further if they want to.
Having one of our current Developing Artists, Kiarn, present a session was particularly valuable as the students were able to hear about NAISDA from a young person’s perspective. It’s much easier for young people to relate to someone who is closer to their own age and has experienced what they are experiencing.
Why do you think initiatives like Solid Ground and this camp in particular are so important to the young people who take part?
Some of the students involved are only starting to connect with their identity and find out about their culture. Platforms like this give them the opportunity to learn more about their background. It also gives them a chance to build their identity, self esteem and confidence.
It’s good to be able to offer our knowledge and experiences with young people so that they can see what’s possible in their own future.
Click here to learn more about the Solid Ground program.