The cultural learning journey for NAISDA’s 2022 cohort of students began recently under the guiding direction of Cultural Tutors Dujon Niue, Jeanette Fabila and Edward Savage who travelled to the College’s Darkinjung campus at Kariong NSW, to teach songs and dance connected to Moa Island in the Torres Strait.
The Cultural Tutors were on campus for a week-long Cultural Residency Program to share their cultural knowledge and practice.NAISDA students will continue to learn and rehearse throughout the year in preparation for a final celebration of performances at Sydney Opera House in December called ATI which means Journey in the Meriam Mer language from the Torres Strait Islands.
For Dujon Niue, Cultural Tutor, Elder and former NAISDA student, this is his seventh year of passing on cultural knowledge to the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Developing Artists through his own song and dance compositions. Uniquely this year his grandson Edward Savage has joined him to help teach the songs and dance. 24-year old Edward has been learning and performing cultural dance since the age of two, and now has his own dance school in Townsville.
“We are here keeping that fire burning for our Ancestors – teaching and learning our diverse cultures. I am beyond blessed and grateful to have been given the opportunity to share the love, passion and energy I have for my culture with our present and future generations,” revealed Edward.
NAISDA’s long-standing Cultural Residency Program is an integral part of its culturally connected and supportive learning model. Later in the year, the students will travel to Moa for a week, to be welcomed by the community and connect with the Country where the songs, dance and stories originate.
NAISDA Head of Cultural Practice Jo Clancy, who facilitates the learning program along with Cultural Trainers Berthalia Selina Reuben and Casey Natty, explained the importance of NAISDA students learning directly from Community, Elders and knowledge holders.
“Our Cultural Residency program and our relationships with our Cultural Tutors and communities are core to everything we are and everything we do at NAISDA. We are guided by the knowledge, the wisdom and the teachings they share,” Jo Clancy explained.
The College also has an eager eye on sharing the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and stories with audiences at the end of year ATI performances at Sydney Opera House.
Directed by NAISDA Head of Dance Deon Hastie, ATI’s journey back to culture will come to life on stage through cultural and contemporary Indigenous dance, vibrant projections and an emotionally charged soundscape of song and live voices.
NAISDA students celebrated the end of the Cultural Residency by sharing song and dance at a small showing for invited guests of Central Coast Elders and community.