For Boonwurrung Elder and Founder of the Boonwurrung Foundation, N’arweet Carolyn Briggs AM, the Boonwurrung Ngargee Youth Dance Group is all about connecting Aboriginal youth to their heritage.
“Through dancing, the children are given the opportunity to explore the stories of the Boonwurrung people,” says N’arweet Carolyn Briggs AM.
“It’s one of the ways they can enrich their connection to their own identity and culture, while giving them a sacred space to find and create their own narrative.”
GrainCorp recently partnered with the Boonwurrung Ngargee Youth Dance Group in West Footscray, to support children through the program, including their performances, workshops and events.
N’arweet Carolyn Briggs AM, alongside choreographer and researcher Katy McKeown, provides cultural guidance to the 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in the program.
GrainCorp’s food processing facility at West Footscray is a stone’s throw away from the studio where the children come together regularly to practice their performance.
GrainCorp’s Community Engagement Manager Kyle Docherty says the GrainCorp Community Foundation awarded a grant to the group to encourage more children to explore their culture through dance.
“We hope to enhance our connection with the Boonwurrung and West Footscray community, as well as contribute to greater awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures within our organisation.”Kyle Docherty, GrainCorp Community Foundation
Katy, who consults with First Nations artists to create the dances, says the group structure pays homage to the NAIDOC Week 2022 theme, ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’.
“The dance the children are currently rehearsing is based on the time of chaos and themes of morality, sustainability and custodianship,” she says.
“The children are learning what that story means and translating it into dance as they embrace their culture and create their own narrative.”
“Through GrainCorp’s support, we can offer a free program for the children and engage more First Nations’ peoples and artists to partner with us.”
Applications for the GrainCorp Community Grants program are now open until 31 July 2022. Apply through our website: https://www.graincorp.com.au/community-fund/.