NAISDA Head of Dance, Deon Hastie, outlined the unqiue opportunities at Australia’s only national arts training organisation specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
“Our tailor-made courses include units in Cultural Dance, Contemporary, Urban, Hip Hop, Ballet, Choreography, Physical Theatre, Dancefilm – along with a unique Cultural Residency Program and live performance and production experience in professional theatres throughout the year,” explained Deon.
“As well as developing technical skills and knowledge, NAISDA learning is rich in cultural practice and creation. We work in partnership with our Communities, Elders and Cultural Leaders to honour their spirit of place and cultural protocols,” he continued.
Students train fulltime at NAISDA’s onsite campus on Darkinjung Land on the New South Wales Central Coast. The College alleviates any anxiety students may have of adjusting to a new environment by building a secure, holistic community around them.
Deon is quick to encourage new applicants and reassure potential students and their families. “Our responsibility is to support each young person and their development. This is a significant time in their lives and our students need to feel safe, supported and part of a community,” shared Deon.
“We equally want to give parents peace of mind. Therefore, our training is underpinned by a unique supportive learning environment which focuses on maintaining physical and emotional wellbeing, includes culturally safe, on-site accommodation – or a Homestay program for our under 18s – as well as NAISDA Support Officers to assist, guide and mentor students. NAISDA training is also subsidised for eligible students,” he concluded.
Following a short online application, NAISDA CEO Kim Walker confirmed the College would host two onsite audition weeks later in the year for potential students. Eligible auditionees can apply to ABSTUDY to fund travel and living expenses to attend either one of the two Auditions.
“Our Auditions are a valuable opportunity to get a sense of what being part of NAISDA is about,” said Mr Walker. “It gives you the chance to explore NAISDA’s campus, try classes and see what it feels like to be here. During this time our Trainers will observe you in class to see if NAISDA is the right fit for you.”
Whilst it is important for applicants to experience NAISDA for themselves, alternative arrangements can be made for anyone unable to make either of the audition weeks in September and December.
Passionate and determined First Nations students thinking about their next step in the performing arts can find out more and apply online at www.naisda.com.au.
Image: NAISDA graduates have been at the forefront of Contemporary Indigenous Dance within Australia (supplied)