First Nations Dialogues

Joshua Pether in Jupiter Orbiting. Photo credit; Adele Wilkes

Joshua Pether in Jupiter Orbiting. Photo credit; Adele Wilkes


BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – 16 Australian First Nations artists will feature alongside Indigenous artists from the United States and Canada during First Nations Dialogues Lenapehoking/New York, an eight-day celebration of Indigenous-led performances, discussion, workshops and ceremony.

Taking place 5–12 January 2019, First Nations Dialogues include performances and events at contemporary live performance venues across New York City.

‘Four years of constructive conversations and collaboration has led to First Nations Dialogues,’ said BlakDance Executive Producer Merindah Donnelly.

‘BlakDance has been an active collaborator and working hard behind-the-scenes to ensure Australian First Peoples dance is well represented at the event.’

Australian First Nations artists attending are:

  • Paola Balla

  • Ngioka Bunda-Heath

  • Genevieve Grieves

  • Thomas E. S. Kelly

  • Pauline Lampton

  • Erica McCalman

  • SJ Norman

  • Katina Olsen

  • Rita Pryce

  • Joshua Pether

  • Mariaa Randall

  • Taree Sansbury

  • Merindi Schreiber

  • Carly Sheppard

  • Kate ten Buuren

The Australian cohort have been supported by BlakDance to attend the event through travel bursaries or grant writing.

‘BlakDance is proud to support the participating artists’ Donnelly said, ‘Our support has helped ensure a strong showing of Australian Indigenous dance work in New York.’

Program highlights include KIN – curated by award-winning dancer and choreographer Emily Johnson, who is of Yup'ik descent – featuring Joshua Pether, Mariaa Randall and SJ Norman being presented at Performance Space New York, and Thomas E.S. Kelly presented at Abrons Art Center.

First Nations Dialogue and is presented in partnership with The Lenape CenterAmerindaAmerican Indian Community HouseAbrons Arts CenterAmerican RealnessDanspace ProjectLa MaMaPerformance Space New York, Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective, Under the Radar, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), and the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA). It is the first initiative of the recently established Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN), which aims to create cultural change through the commissioning, development, touring, and presenting of Indigenous performance.

First Nations Dialogues New York January 2019 has received financial support from Barragga Bay Fund, BlakDanceAustralia Council for the ArtsArts QueenslandCreative VictoriaNative Arts and Cultures FoundationJerome FoundationKinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter: AmerindaMap Fund supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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About BlakDance

For over a decade, BlakDance has consistently delivered generative and transformative sector events and has contributed significantly to the development of the small to medium Indigenous dance sector.

BlakDance prioritises independent artists and emerging small to medium companies. BlakDance works nationally and has a dedicated multi year program.


About First Nations Dialogues

First Nations Dialogues is organised by; Emily Johnson, Vallejo Gantner and BlakDance.

First Nations Dialogues is a transnational consortium of Emily Johnson/Catalyst (USA), Vallejo Gantner (USA), BlakDance (Australia), Jacob Boehme (Australia), ILBIJERRI Theatre Company (Australia), Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (Canada) and is creating the Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN). The GFNPN is a pilot initiative focused on cultural change through commissioning, touring and presenting Indigenous performance and capacity building for the presenting sector.

[End Release]

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