Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Project 2020 – A dance gathering
The Foundation has been exploring ways to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community (ATSIC) gatherings to develop indigenous Christian cultural expression. David Stanfield applied for assistance to continue his work alongside the ATSIC on Elcho Island to develop Christo-centric traditional dances. The project will provide transport and food costs to support a gathering of ATSIC on Elcho Island.
This important gathering will enable dance leaders, dancers and Djungaya (the tribe's dance authority or “owners”) to sit together and choreograph a couple of Christo-centric pieces/declarations.
David says, “Developing choreography is a complex process as younger people create the choreography using traditional movements they know from the ‘open’ ceremonies. The Djungaya - who know the deeper meanings of those movements - then advise, modify, forbid, or expand the movements. In most instances the Djungaya no longer dance the movements but choreograph verbally! When a Djungaya does get up and dance, it causes quite a sensation! Recently Danganbarr, one of the most senior women, danced a sacred dance before the funeral of a deeply honoured local leader. Everyone was talking about it for ages.”
“The financial support,” David continues, “is very appreciated as it will enable people to get away to a homeland - to relax and interact with each other - and create dances. This will enable new Christian song lines to be prepared and danced at Christian funerals and celebrations for the next 4 to 8 years!"