NAISDA Dance College, Australia’s national arts training organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, will present its annual End of Year performance Wunda Yulagi: Spirit of the Dance, from 30 November to 5 December at its NSW Central Coast campus on Darkinjung Land.
Directed by NAISDA Head of Dance Deon Hastie, guided by Elder and NAISDA Cultural Artist-in-Residence Uncle Gavi Duncan and performed by the NAISDA student cohort, this year’s powerful program features a week-long celebration of cultural and contemporary dance, physical theatre performance, film screenings, an exhibition remount, community presentations and school workshops.
Centering around the four elements of air, land, water and fire, the program showcases NAISDA Developing Artists’ skills, stories and rich diversity of movement.
Deon Hastie explained the importance of celebrating the students’ creative achievements during a year of significant challenge and change.
“Usually at this time of year our Developing Artists showcase the strength of their talents as choreographers and dancers on stage in Sydney,” explained Deon.
“Of course, sadly this year we were unable to do this. As on so many occasions in 2020, we’ve adapted to change and have grown with our experiences,” he continued.
In lieu of their Sydney Season, the Director took the opportunity to dance and perform on Darkinjung Land, transforming the celebration into a collection of intimate indoor and outdoor events which engage Cultural Elders, Community, visual artists and musicians, visiting cultural dance groups, school children and invited audiences.
“The Wunda Yulagi has guided us through this year and grounded us here on Darkinjung Country. This is where we dance, sing and celebrate our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
“Uncle Gavi will connect us to Wunda Yulagi which will watch over us from our launch Sunrise Ceremony on Monday morning through to our closing Sunset Ceremony on Saturday,” said Deon.
Featuring choreography by NAISDA’s Trainers and Artists, the program also comprises visceral and original works by NAISDA Developing Artists.
The COVID-safe program is fully booked; however, events will be filmed and shared online with audiences and communities unable to attend in person.