NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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NIDA and NAISDA explore new forms of performance

Two of Australia’s leading arts training institutes came together for one amazing week in April in a shared goal of artistic excellence and innovative arts training.

Students from NIDA MFA Directing and Writing for Performance Courses and NAISDA Dance College’s Developing and Practising Artists gathered at the NAISDA Central Coast campus on Darkinjung Land for an intensive five days of creative collaboration.

Working in small groups, students from both organisations were asked to share themes, ideas, skills and mediums to create, develop and explore new ways of storytelling, with full creative autonomy throughout the process.

The process of collaboration was framed by Dr Nerida Blair, Chair of the NAISDA Board of Studies, whose insightful presentation encouraged students to work in the space in-between Indigenous Knowings and Western knowledge ideologies and explore 'a bundle of possibilities' of storying, connections and exchange.

The week also included a day of workshops delivered at NIDA by Artistic Director of Legs on the Wall Josh Thomson and Danielle Micich Artistic Director of Force Majeure. Their generous sharing of industry knowledge and experience developed the dialogue of multi-disciplinary storytelling and performance; with writers, directors, dancers and artmakers collaborating and sharing to break down a perceived hierarchy of roles that can exist in traditional theatre making. Students then worked together on three pieces which were presented at the NAISDA campus concluding the week’s work.

NIDA Course Leader and Head of Directing Dr Benjamin Schostakowski said, 'The valuable collaboration introduced and developed important cultural and creative conversations, set up so carefully by Dr Blair. Opening ourselves up to create in the space in-between Western Knowledge and Indigenous Knowings moved the student artists towards impactful storytelling.'

NAISDA Physical Theatre Unit Manger Angie Diaz said, 'It is a privilege to watch the development of original expression and creative composition through this iterative process. As well as learning from each others’ insight, skills and personal stories, the collaboration supports our future artistic and cultural leaders to build networks, make contacts and gain valuable industry insight as they consider the tools needed for their future career pathways.'

NAISDA Certificate IV Developing Artist Jack Williams worked on a piece with NIDA Directors and Writers, Love Shack - a parody on reality television. 'It was a really refreshing way to approach and devise the work,' they explained.

'The piece considered and revealed our post-reality TV lives. Working with creatives from different disciplines meant we brainstormed and explored different avenues. Putting yourself out there, meeting and working with new people builds confidence and helped us grow to understand other people’s creative processes.'

NIDA MFA Directing student Martha Latham also worked on the Love Shack project. ‘Our collaboration was all about hive-mind problem solving. I found that as a team we always knew when something 'felt' wrong, but locating exactly what was causing that feeling was often the source of disagreement. There was a  moment when we all collectively 'clicked' and started working towards solving the same problem but in a variety of different ways, the energy of so many bodies and minds working in unison is incredible.’

Find out more at NIDA Open Day, 12 June.

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