NAISDA students graduate in style

NAISDA students performing song and dance from Moa Island, Torres Strait, at the graduation ceremony Photo: Lisa Haymes

NAISDA Dance College welcomed Elders, community, the arts industry and distinguished guests to its graduation ceremony for the classes of 2021 and 2022 on Wednesday, June 29.

Among the guests was NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Arts and Regional Youth, Ben Franklin.

The ceremony acknowledged graduating students across four of NAISDA’s nationally accredited courses, including the inaugural cohort of a new Advanced Diploma qualification.

NAISDA Chief Executive Officer, Kim Walker, said the day celebrated the talent, drive and transformation of the graduating students.

“It was also a time to recognise the supporting role of family and community on their learning journeys,” he said.

“We are delighted that the Minister, Elders, Aunties, Uncles, elected representatives, Barang Regional Alliance and community members could come together in support of our young people.”

Now in its 46th year, NAISDA has nurtured the artistic and cultural development of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

“I’m especially pleased to congratulate our very first Advanced Diploma graduates,” Walker said.

The Advanced Diploma equips practising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists with skills to meet the ever-changing demands and opportunities in Australia’s dance and arts industry.

“Testament to this are our Advanced Diploma graduates who have already stepped into professional opportunities with James Boyd joining Bangarra Dance Theatre and currently touring with their national production of Terrain; and Brianna Kemmerling and Kiara Wilson both working with NT Dance Company in Darwin,” Walker said.

Hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Barang Regional Alliance’s Operations Manager Gary Field, the celebrations included a keynote speech from Narangga and Kaurna man, independent artist, cultural and creative leader Jacob Boehme.

A large-scale artwork produced by NAISDA students in collaboration with leading artist and Guringai man, raised on Darkinjung Country, Grant Molony, was unveiled on the day.

“We are extremely grateful to Grant for the generous sharing of knowledge and skills to produce two large-scale works with our students which framed the graduation stage,” Walker said.

“They beautifully reflect stories of Country, connection and culture.”

In a significant week of celebration and showcase, NAISDA will also present its mid-year show, wiri gulgul, celebrating this year’s NAIDOC theme Get up! Stand up! Show Up! on Friday and Saturday, July 1 and 2.

Tickets to two onsite performances have sold out but bookings for a free livestream performance on Friday, July 1, at 7pm are available at wiri gulgul livestream Tickets, Fri 01/07/2022 at 7:00 pm | Eventbrite.

It is a busy time for NAISDA, with applications currently open to study at the national college in 2023.

Walker said the College is looking forward to auditioning another cohort of talented students for next year.

“I urge aspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers and artists aged 16-26 to visit the NAISDA website and apply to become part of the ongoing NAISDA legacy,” he said.

Verified source: Media release, Jun 27, 2022 NAISDA