Over the past five years, NAISDA Dance College has established a strong regional presence through our mid-year performances and workshops aligned with NAIDOC Week. In 2019, we were thrilled to present a number of unique NAIDOC events for the community utilising our recently opened a Dancing Ground and Living Learning Space, Nhangara Barayi, located on NAISDA’s Kariong Campus.
Over Monday 1 July and Tuesday 2 July, we welcomed close to 400 local primary and high school students to Nhangara Barayi for a series of fully-booked workshops and performances.
Delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and featuring NAISDA students, this unique program encouraged students to experience and explore cultural stories, expression and connection through dance, music and performance.
Students experienced a 45-minute cultural dance performance featuring dances that have been shared by NAISDA’s Cultural Tutors from Mua (Moa) Island in the Torres Strait, Dennis Newie, Peli Ware and Harry Newie. They then had an opportunity to learn some of these dances, performing them in the Sand Circle within an interactive and immersive cultural dance workshop.
The school workshop and performance series provided an opportunity to NAISDA to connect with the local community and for the first time, present a cultural performance in a live, outdoor, creative space, designed to increase engagement and authenticity of experience. It will inform the model for future gatherings, helping build ownership as a place of Aboriginal celebration and community congregation.
The NAIDOC celebrations culminated in a special community performance called Nhangara Ngangga on Wednesday 3 July. The event saw NAISDA’s Developing Artists give voice to the richness of our stories, lands and peoples through a twilight performance of dance, language and song in the NAISDA Studio, featuring dances shared by NAISDA’s cultural tutors from Mua Island in the Torres Strait, Dennis Newie, Peli Ware and Harry Newie.
The words Nhangara Ngangga, meaning Dance Talk, were respectfully gifted to NAISDA from the Darkinjung Language. Reflecting the powerful voice of dance and this year’s NAIDOC theme ‘Voice Treaty Truth’, they are a proud declaration of our connection and belonging to our creative, nourishing home on Darkinjung Land.
The evening was a celebration of culture, community and the powerful language of dance.
NAISDA would like to thank all of the schools and community members who helped make our NAIDOC celebrations a resounding success.
Nhangara Barayi was made possible through the NSW Government Department of Family and Community Services – Social Housing Community Improvement Grant. We thank and acknowledge this invaluable support and funding. The dancing ground means that this year, our NAIDOC performances and workshops were able to take place grounded on Darkinjung Land, intrinsically linked to the richness of our lands, our cultures and our peoples.
This important program of community sharing would not be possible without our NAIDOC funders, who we would also like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge. The NAISDA NAIDOC program of community engagement, performance and workshops was supported with NAIDOC grant funding by the Aboriginal Affairs New South Wales and NAIDOC grant funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.