Saltwater Freshwater Dance and Culture Camp 2013

The 2013 camp brought together 20 Aboriginal high school students aged 13 to 17 from Coffs Harbour, Macksville and Kempsey, at Scotts Head NSW – a significant mid-way point between the Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti nations.

The focus of the camp was dance. Facilitators worked with participants on a new (Our) Flash Mob dance (the dance the group learns and later performs in public ‘flash mob’ style). It is choreographed to include a mix of traditional, contemporary and hip-hop styles, and challenging the teenagers to not only explore dance, but to take on leadership roles, develop personal discipline and work as a team.

Cultural workshops included Gumbaynggirr and Dunghutti language, gum leaf playing, bush tucker, leather weaving and didgeridoo for the boys.

The final day of the camp saw the young people perform for their families and community members, seeing participants transition from inexperienced and unsure dancers into a solid dance troupe, who later performed the dance to members of the public at sites in the Kempsey CBD during NAIDOC week. Four young people were selected from the camp to attend a NAISDA camp in August 2013.

The project employed 22 Aboriginal people, linked two budding Aboriginal photographers and videographers with ABC Open, and supported local dance facilitators to receive mentoring from a professional NAISDA teacher. Four participants were also talent-scouted to attend the prestigious NAISDA camp and build networks in the professional dance world.