Patrick Thaiday and NAISDA give new life to Central Coast performance scene

Indigenous Dance given new lease on life with the help of Patrick Thaiday at the NAISDA 2012 end of year concert.

Patrick Thaiday
Patrick Thaiday

The National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development (NAISDA) Dance College, was pleased to welcome the brilliant dancer Patrick Thaiday (a former principal artist with Bangarra Dance Theatre) as the director for their well-received end-of-year production, 2012. Thaiday is a former student of NAISDA Dance College himself, and his success is a testament to the college’s ability to churn out the finest in contemporary Australian Indigenous dance (other alumni of NAISDA Dance College include Christine Anu, NAISDA’s head of dance Kim Walker, and the late Percy Jackonia).

Staged at Gosford’s Laycock Theatre from December 6th – 8th, Morning Star was a celebration of new life that used a mix of contemporary and traditional Indigenous dance to tell a story of creation, inspiration and a new dawn. Thaiday travelled to Elcho Island in North-East Arnhem Land to meet and be creatively inspired by the musicians and dancers of the Datiwuy clan. The Datiwuy clan then travelled to Gosford to perform in NAISDA’s annual show, alongside all 30 of NAISDA’s developing artists. The show was a great success, and brought a much-needed cultural boost to the Central Coast’s often quiet performance scene.

Situated in Mt Penang Parklands on the Central Coast, NAISDA Dance College continues to support and inspire its students with many dancers going on to work with renowned companies such as Bangarra. The college was developed in 1976; it sprang from a rising in Indigenous cultural pride in the 1970s and the world’s interest in what was quite a new art form at the time – contemporary Australian Indigenous dance.

A unique aspect of NAISDA’s training is the opportunity for students to participate in cultural residencies. Throughout the year tutors in the traditional Indigenous arts will travel to the college to teach and exchange cultural values. In turn, NAISDA’s developing artists are given the opportunity to visit the tutor’s homelands, to gain experience of traditional life and traditional arts practices. These residencies are often life-changing experiences for both the developing artists and the tutors, enabling the development of artists with an ability to connect with both contemporary and traditional Indigenous art.

NAISDA also supports young developing artists with their Homestay Program and are seeking families to participate in this fantastic program in 2013. NAISDA encourages developing Indigenous artists from communities all over Australia and the Torres Strait Islands to relocate to the Central Coast to study at NAISDA Dance College. But for many of these students, some who are as young as 16, the pressures of living and training in a new environment can be stressful. To alleviate some of these stresses, NAISDA offers its youngest students the opportunity to live with a local family in a homestay style environment. Volunteering as a homestay family is a valuable way to learn and connect with someone from a different community than your own, as well as support the work of NAISDA and the emergence of a future Indigenous Australian artist.

If you’re interested in participating in NAISDA’s Homestay Program please contact Sue Gosson on (02) 4340 3100 or email [email protected]. A Working with Children Check must be undertaken to participate in this program and successful hosts will be provided with financial assistance.

To find out more about NAISDA’s history and continuing contribution towards national Indigenous performance visit

If you would like to offer a donation to support the work of NAISDA please contact Executive Director or General Manager on (02) 4340 3100 or 188 117 116.

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