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Government commits $5 million support towards NAISDAs vital First Nations dance and performing arts training

[by Alison Steele]


NAISDA Developing and Practising Artists (l-r) Jack Williams, Peta-Louise Rixom, Lacey Bilger, Erica Dixon rehearsing song and dance from Moa Islands, Torres Strait Islands. Image: Lisa Haymes

NAISDA is delighted by the Federal Government’s budget commitment of $5 million to support its vital work in delivering pathways to employment through nationally accredited dance and performing arts tertiary education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


NAISDA Chair, Mayrah Sonter said the announcement was a strong acknowledgement of NAISDA’s significant contribution to the national arts, education and cultural landscape for nearly half a century. “We would like to thank the Federal Government for this fantastic opportunity to further empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with tertiary arts training, wellbeing, skills development and career pathways which create, celebrate and share First Nations culture and Knowings,” she said.


Grounded on Darkinjung Country on the NSW Central Coast, NAISDA’s rigorous dance training has produced many of our country’s leading First Nations dancers, choreographers, directors and artists as well as paving the way for international dance companies, including Bangarra Dance Theatre and the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre.


The announcement will provide essential infrastructure to help NAISDA meet the growing demand from the arts and culture industries, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and artworkers.


It also moves NAISDA closer to its vision of building a new national centre for First Nations creative and cultural learning called Naya Wa Yugali meaning “We Dance” in Darkinjung language.


“Culture has always been at the core of how we support and equip our young people to build opportunity, forge new tracks and voice stories and truths of their own.”


“Naya Wa Yugali will be the continuation of this legacy. Its expanded curriculum, open programs, performances, partnerships, outreach and digital connectivity will provide greater accessibility, champion truth telling, understanding and healing change for all Australians,” continued Ms Sonter.


NAISDA CEO Kim Walker further explained the significance of the announcement.


“We are extremely grateful to the Federal Government for its investment in our infrastructure which will support NAISDA’s tertiary dance and arts training program and drive excellence and enterprise for our future knowledge holders and creative and cultural leaders.”


“This investment is a critical and exciting step towards our Naya Wa Yugali vision. It signals a transformational opportunity for First Nations creative and cultural learning on an international scale.”


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