A unique reconciliation project to teach students more about Aboriginal culture and its links with Indonesia culminates this week with an interpretive dance performance by John Curtin College of the Arts Years 7 to 10 contemporary dancers.

Through funding from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs’ 2016 PALS program (Partnership, Acceptance, Learning and Sharing), John Curtin dance teacher Judy Hendrickse and drama teacher Julia Perkins travelled to the Kimberley region to learn more about Aboriginal culture to bring it into their teaching practices.

“We spent time in the remote community town, One Arm Point which inspired the choreography behind the dance project,” Judy said.

“I wanted to teach students how culture can influence dance in many ways.”

PALS is an initiative of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs which encourages schools to develop projects that promote reconciliation and Aboriginal culture in their local community.

This year 520 schools in WA are working on 679 PALS projects.

John Curtin students worked with Indigenous artist, Simon Stewart and also visiting Balinese Dalang, I Made Sidia to create a collaborative dance performance called Emerging, with influences from both cultures.

“Both the Balinese and Aboriginal cultures connect through land and place and the students infuse this into their dance performance making it authentic and embedded with culture,” Judy said.

Principal Mitchell Mackay acknowledged the importance of connections to the past and involving young people to become more culturally aware as they move into the future.

“There is significant Aboriginal heritage on our site and it is important for children to connect to the Aboriginal culture in a positive way,” he said.

“It’s also important that students understand the differences and similarities between northern Aboriginal and Indonesian cultures.”

John Curtin‘s Emerging dance performance is on from 8 to 10 September at the Curtin Theatre at 7.00pm. Book online


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