Morning Star – New Day, New Spirit, New Life.

Morning Star – New Day, New Spirit, New Life.
NAISDA Dance College. Directed by Patrick Thaiday Laycock Street Theatre, North Gosford. December 6, 7 and 8, 2012.

For 36 years NAISDA Dance College has been teaching Contemporary Australian Indigenous Dance on the Central Coast of NSW: the land of the Darkinjung people. The genre is a fusion of Traditional and Western styles, which transcends both - taking physical story-telling to a vividly accessible level. This year's end-of-year production 'Morning Star' celebrates the haunting music and dances of the Datiwuy clan from Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land and features all 30 of the NAISDA Developing Artists, as well as cultural tutors, dancers, singers and musicians from Elcho Island. It quite literally plunges its audience into rainforest, desert, ocean, mangroves...as well as backyards, school yards and even lounge rooms, in a seamless succession of varying routines which ignite and engage mind and spirit.  Urban influences are evident in the malleability of the performances and quirky inventiveness of the choreography, but the resonating cultural narrative remains at the forefront. That talented Australian youth  is so energetically engaged in their cultural heritage in such a life-affirming way is something to be savoured and celebrated. The past cannot and should not be forgotten, but the way forward has never looked more encouraging. 'Morning Star' is liquid in every sense. Freshwater, saltwater, blood, sweat and tears (from laughter as well as pain). This is engaging, visceral and humbling theatre - and I for one am grateful to see Government dollars being put to such good use.

Rose Cooper

Image: Patrick Thaiday (director of Morning Star and former principal artist with Bangarra Dance Company)

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