Name: Wagana Aboriginal Youth Dancers
Under the direction of Jo Clancy and Jacinta Tobin the Wagana Aboriginal Youth Dancers perform contemporary and traditional Aboriginal dances inspired by the beautiful Blue Mountains and Central NSW West country. They honor and respect the Darug, Gundungurra & Wiradjuri peoples as the traditional custodians of the lands they dance on & aim to show their love of sharing culture through dance, music & story telling.
The Wagana Aboriginal Youth Dancers have been invited to perform and take part in the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival in Scotland in July 2014.
Our pursuit is to share Blue Mountains Aboriginal dance and culture with other young people from across the Commonwealth and also to share and learn about their dance and culture. We will share Bangalang which means autumn in Wiradjuri language. During Bangalang the land animals are coming back to the river areas. It is a time to eat vegetable roots and collect windmill grass to make damper. Dhinawan’s (Emus) are laying their eggs and Dhinawan can be seen under the Southern Cross in the sky. We will tell this story through the use of dance, song and visual projection in 3 parts: the river, women gathering and Dhinawan dancing. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share Darug and Wiradjuri Aboriginal culture at this international event and want to showcase the richness of our dance, language and art.
When did you start?
Wagana have been dancing and performing together since 2007.
Career highlight or biggest achievement?
Wagana have performed at many community festivals and events but last year we were thrilled to dance for Princess Mary and Prince Frederick at the Sydney Opera House 40th Birthday celebrations.
What is your dream?
Our dream is to share Blue Mountains Aboriginal dance and culture with other young people from across the Commonwealth and also to share and learn about their dance and culture at the Festival in Glasgow.
Who or what have inspired you?
Wagana are inspired by our Director and Choreographer Jo Clancy and our Elders who share their knowledge and stories with us.
Who's your hero?
For all of us it is FAMILY.
Any other special talents?
The young women in Wagana have many special talents. They dance, some sing and our youngest member Nikita Parker is currently the NSW 100m athletics state champion.
Wagana are blessed to work with Darug singer/songwriter Jacinta Tobin who creates music and songs for the dance group.
We all really like Whale Rider.
Becky Chatfield who is the oldest dancer in the group is a big Harry Potter fan. She has read the series 7 times.
Favourite TV Show?
We have a few - Revenge, Bones, NCIS and Dance Academy
How the grant will help you/how will you use the money?
The Aim for the Stars grant will help us pay for costumes and props, airfares and accommodation to Scotland.
Last words: Quote or Motto you live by?
Wagana - which means to dance in Wiradjuri language and Jannawi which means walk with you, walk with me in Darug language