Having returned to NAISDA two years ago, I felt like I’d stepped back into a pair of old favourite shoes I hadn’t seen for many years. There was the reconnection with Kim Walker my Bala and first mentor in dance, Jasmine Gulash who danced and toured in ‘my’ company, AIDT – The Company; Percy Jackonia who has since passed. It was a connection with the family that showed purpose to my ambition and support throughout my career. But these old shoes have new laces, bright sparkly and new!
Connecting with NAISDA family has continued this year in our Cultural Residency to Moa Island, where we re-connected with Dennis (Dujon) Niue a NAISDA Graduate. Dennis now runs his own cultural dance company, ‘Arpaka’. However, we not only connected with Dennis and his new dances but with the older culture of Moa in the dance and songs we shared and learnt from Uncle Peo and Aunty Dora back in the 1980s.
The community on Moa embraced NAISDA warmly and we were ALL family to them. This lifestyle was how a lot of us were brought up. So again, it was a home coming that no-one from this new NAISDA really expected.
While on Moa, we were told the legend of ‘Gelam and Usar’. This story has inspired my direction of Our Home on many levels. Our Home, where we come from is always with us. We carry it in our memories, the way we interpret and see things. It can be brought to life with a particular smell or ‘that song’ we cringe on hearing, but always fondly. It is unavoidably in our blood and skin.
I hope Our Home ‘Ngalpun Mudth’ moves you toward thoughts of your own life journey, and how important your cultural heritage is to your own direction.
Raymond D. Blanco