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Dance program reconnects with the community

Students of the Bangarra Dance Theatre Youth Progam
Students of the Bangarra Dance Theatre Youth Progam "Rekindling". Mireille Merlet-Shaw

A GROUP of Northern Rivers aboriginal youth met three performers from the famed Bangarra Dance Company for the first gathering of Rekindling in Lismore.

In its second year in NSW and Queensland, Rekindling looks to connect aboriginal teens with their culture and awaken their artistic and performance skills.

The Rekindling NSW team is Kirk Page, Gina Rings and Chantal Kerr. All of them are well known Bangarra performers.

Mr Page is also known for his role in episode 2 of this year's Redfern Now season, which has just granted him a Logie Award nomination as Outstanding Actor.

"This is a dance program, but it is also about reconnecting with the community, having ownership and recreating their own stories," Mr Page said.

Kirk Page has heritage from the Mulandjali people from south east Queensland, from Badu Island in Torres Strait plus German and Welsh descent.

"I relate to the young people we meet in each city by remembering what kind of support I needed when I was their age," he explained.

"The long-term benefit is that the kids form new relationships, have a different perspective of themselves and who they are, and through performance they get a sense of their own capabilities," he said.

The Bangarra team was in Lismore between Wednesday and Friday last week, and offered five-hour sessions to the teenagers at the Lismore PCYC.

The second gathering of the Lismore Rekindling will take place in July.

The third gathering, to be held late July, will include a free performance for the community.

"It is very important to build a relation between the youth and our elders, but it is also important for them (the teenagers) to realise their own strength, in their own culture and their own heritage," Mr Page said.



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