One of Inverell’s young Aboriginal dancers will represent her culture and her country when she takes part in two of Sydney’s major Australia Day events.
Wiradjuri teenager Alex Jeffery will take part in the official Sydney launch event for the day’ celebrations at Barangaroo Reserve on Thursday morning and perform for the massive, sold-out Sydney Opera House Australia Day concert that evening.
“We usually do, after School Spectacular not a fundraiser, but another concert kind of thing, and this year we are doing two performances on Australia Day,” Alex said.
The 15-year-old will perform as part of the acclaimed Aboriginal Bangarra Dance Theatre’s youth ensemble, one of 30 dancers chosen from across the state.
“It’s pretty amazing to be mentored by people in Bangarra, because that’s something that I want to do,” Alex said.
She said she felt the chance to dance with people who feature Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and stories as part of their choreography is different to other opportunities she has had.
I think it’s just more celebrating Aboriginal culture as just the culture, not we are this Wiradjuri tribe, we are this tribe, we are that tribe; it’s more just all together, celebrating all together.
“I think it’s just different because I have more passion for the Aboriginal dance side of things, because that’s just really what I want my career to be, or hoping to be,” she said.
“There’s a different story to each dance that we learn. It helps so much, it helps everyone, the performance, a lot, makes it stronger.”
She said the ensemble performed dance expressions of Aboriginal stories from across Australia, and felt as a Wiradjuri girl, growing up in Kamilaroi country, she didn’t feel much division between tribes, as there was in the past.
“I think it’s just more celebrating Aboriginal culture as just the culture, not we are this Wiradjuri tribe, we are this tribe, we are that tribe; it’s more just all together, celebrating all together,” Alex said.
The Bangarra youth dance ensemble will perform Thursday morning following a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country on the Walumil Lawns at Barangaroo reserve.
They will later dance at Australia Day 2017 – Live at Sydney Opera House, with a line-up of major national performing arts stars and talent.
With a bundle of performances under her belt, including the several School Spectaculars and the Netball World Championships, Alex admitted, on the comforting streets of familiar Inverell Friday morning, a flickering of nerves about the events.
“Not as much now, but I reckon as soon as I get down there, I’ll feel everything,” she said, and laughed.
The Australia Day concert will screen on Channel 10 from 7.30pm on January 26.