The menu card continued with a chapter of personal history: SJ Norman, writing about their great grandmother Sally, "an itinerant cook and domestic". Audience members were served scones containing an "a mixture of Aboriginal blood", drawn from the individuals who made and served the meal: artist SJ Norman and performers Carly Sheppard, Naretha Williams and Sinsa Jo Mansell.
For Randall, that means working with paint on skin and mapping the countryside where she lives. “It’s me and I’m painting my country,” says Randall, who explains her elders would “paint up” before dancing. “There is meaning to every single stroke that’s put on the body.”
In a collaboration with Taiwanese First Nations creatives, Negotiating Home x Red Earth explored the environmental crisis we’re currently facing, writes Timmah Ball. Blak Critics is a YIRRAMBOI initiative giving voice to First Nations writers and critics.
With candy clouds and audience participation, Daddy reveals a new and vital understanding of our country, writes Timmah Ball. Blak Critics is a YIRRAMBOI initiative giving voice to First Nations writers and critics.
The Honouring is a heartbreaking journey that examines the intergenerational pain and trauma that First Nations communities suffer, writes Davey Thompson. Blak Critics is a YIRRAMBOI initiative giving voice to First Nations writers and critics.
Blood Quantum blends the arts of dance, narrative storytelling and projected images to relay the hard truths about the Stolen Generations, writes Angelina Hurley. Blak Critics is a YIRRAMBOI initiative giving voice to First Nations writers and critics.
Angharad Wynne-Jones – Head of Creative Engagement, Arts Centre Melbourne
BlakDance is the leading Australian advocacy and creative producing organisation for national and international First Nations body-based arts practices. Whilst the scale of the organisation’s ambition is huge – the task of de-colonising the current making, creating and presenting frameworks in collaboration with First Nations artists and non–indigenous gate keepers is met by the passion and commitment of Merindah, her team and the Board. This cultural task is critical for us all to embrace, that honours our history, acknowledges the issues we face and proposes a shared and just future – what could be more valuable?
Jacob Boehme – Independent Choreographer
BlakDance has been fundamental to my career, and many other Indigenous dance practitioners. BlakDance connects us to the people we need to meet, they assist us to be at markets and they provide meaningful skills development and training that gives us the tools to navigate the entire performing arts ecology.
Marilyn Miller – Founder, BlakDance
BlakDance has historically proven, and continues to produce, exciting new initiatives from seeds to platforms, spanning imagination, artform, boundaries, and time... breaking grass so the path for the future of contemporary Indigenous dance can be seen.
Stephen Page – Artistic Director, Bangarra Dance Theatre
Our survival is our future. We are constantly mentoring the next generation of Indigenous choreographers. The legacy and the energy of our sector must continue, and we wholeheartedly commend BlakDance for the work they do, in particular, advocacy through their campaigns and projects that increase the capacity for new infrastructure that grows and supports emerging small to medium Indigenous dance companies and independents nationally.
Emily Sexton – Artistic Director, Arts House
BlakDance has played a crucial role in the growing recognition of and support for First Nations artists both within Australia, and internationally. They are fearless advocates who provide leadership, access, information and ethical frameworks for collaboration. As a regular presenter of contemporary dance in Australia, and lead producer of Dance Massive, Arts House is strongly supportive of BlakDance’s current work and future growth. Indeed, our sector’s success is intricately tied to BlakDance’s own.
BlakDance is extremely important for the Indigenous community - it is their voice. The role BlakDance plays is the key connector and innovator for sovereign ways of driving Indigenous dance, contributing to the leadership and vibrancy of the broader dance sector, and building capacity of our artists to realise their goals and dreams.
Cynthia Lickers-Sage – Executive Director, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance
BlakDance is a visionary in leading the global Indigenous dance conversation forward and IPAA is incredibly excited to see what the future holds for further First Nations Canadian and Australian collaboration, exchange, reciprocity and touring.
Simon Hinton – Artistic Director / CEO, Merrigong Theatre Company
Over the last few years BlakDance has become an absolutely crucial leader in our industry. For a key regional presenter such as Merrigong, BlakDance has provided an invaluable resource connecting us to First Nations artists and companies, collaborating on artist creative developments and presenting a number of works which we would simply not have known about, but for the relationships built through BlakDance’s forums. This has also led to Merrigong clarifying its strategic direction with regard to working with First Nations’ artists and communities, and beginning an internal process of conscious decolonisation.
Sinsa Mansell – Independent Choreographer
BlakDance is vital to the performing arts sector and independent First Nations artists. Pakana kanaplila has excelled nationally through the level of ongoing support BlakDance has provided. They are committed to not only connecting First Nations performers globally but more importantly to the presentation opportunities on a national and international scale. BlakDance strengthen the industry by being a foundation for all First Nations performers through brokering networks and connecting artists.
Keith Barker – Artistic Director, Native Earth
We have experienced firsthand the impact BlakDance is having on the arts sector in Australia. Through the Global First Nations Exchange we have been able to connect with a network of Indigenous artists who are producing, presenting and creating work by and for Indigenous peoples. The future looks bright for Australia with arts leaders like BlakDance helping shape the Indigenous arts ecology.
Louisa Norman – Programming Manager, Country Arts SA
BlakDance is an indispensable cultural voice within the national arts sector. Country Arts SA has benefited from events such as Dana Waranara, Blak Lines new work platform and the Global First Nations performance network. Learnings from those initiatives have had a direct influence on our organisational culture and programming. We have built a strong relationship with BlakDance over many years and we look forward to growing that in future to increase advocacy and capacity building for regional South Australian artists.
Felix Preval – Artistic Director, Darwin Festival
I have been lucky enough to participate in a number of BlakDance lead initiatives including the First Nations Presenters Network program in APAM 2018. BlakDance have strengthened my understanding of the national Indigenous performance sector, connecting me with artists and fellow presenters. BlakDance excel at creating contexts for meaningful exchange and bringing people together. Darwin Festival looks forward to working closely with BlakDance in the future.
Karilyn Brown - Course Leader, Masters of Fine Arts in Cultural Leadership NIDA
I have had the privilege of collaborating with BlakDance over several years, in my capacity as General Manager of IFACCA, CEO of Performing Lines and strategic development consulting. The transformative impact of BlakDance’s work in developing the vision, cohesion and collaborative opportunities for the Indigenous dance sector has been extraordinary. At a time ofgrowing interest in presenting Indigenous work, BlakDance is a critically needed Indigenous-managed entity that must continue to provide professional support, strategic initiatives, producing capacity and advocacy for contemporary Indigenous dance and choreographic practice, nationally and internationally.
Kathy Baykitch – Executive Director, Ausdance National
BlakDance is a vital organisation for the dance landscape. Ausdance National recognises the responsibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to maintain, control, protect and nurture this inheritance and its contemporary creative expression. Ausdance is proud to have supported the development of BlakDance and looks forward to ongoing engagement and partnerships. As the peak body for Indigenous contemporary dance, BlakDance delivers a range of sector events and initiatives to support the small to medium Indigenous dance sector and provides leadership and advice to the wider dance sector.
Bradley Chatfield – BlakDance Board Director
BlakDance is instrumental in leading the way in advocacy and generating First Nations conversations that are crucial to development of the indigenous arts sector. Through residencies, festivals and forums, BlakDance provides an ever-engaging dialogue with our members and greater arts community allowing access to information on policy, procedures and protocols associated with First Nations performance. BlakDance’s continual growth is pivotal in providing those seeking the knowledge to work with First Nations and Indigenous arts practice.
Collette Brennan – CEO, Abbotsford Convent
BlakDance is cultural protocols in action through the innovative governance model and work that intersects across cultural, artistic and market development for whole of Indigenous dance sector leadership. BlakDance is doing complex work across the Indigenous sector, the arts sector and the allied sectors, both local and global. In fact, what is so exciting about BlakDance is it’s focused and targeted approach to the nuts and bolts needed for a sector that has lacked investment and focus for years; as well as the big picture required to generate the sector change necessary for greater support and mobility for Indigenous dance.