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A big leap forward for high school dancers

Friday, 19th September, 2014

BH High School with Aboriginal Education Officer Vicki Adams and Norta Norta teacher Heather McBurney with dancers Starcha Meehan (left) and Bre West. BH High School with Aboriginal Education Officer Vicki Adams and Norta Norta teacher Heather McBurney with dancers Starcha Meehan (left) and Bre West.

By Emily Roberts

Two Broken Hill High School students have returned from a dance camp run by the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association.

Bre West and Starcha Meehan enjoyed a jam-packed week of traditional Aboriginal dance, dance from the Torres Strait islands, and urban and contemporary dances.

The girls learnt many new skills at the "Garabara Ngurra" (which means "dance camp" in the Darug language) and made some new friends from all over the State.

Up to 30 young people are selected each year for the camp.

They were instructed by professional dancers who have travelled the world.

Apart from dancing, the students got a tour of the Opera House, took in some theatre down at the Sydney Wharf and took a stroll around the Botanic Gardens.

Aboriginal Education Officer at the high school, Vicki Adams, said they became involved three years ago.

"When it first started, the students had to audition," Ms Adams said. "Now, myself and my colleagues choose the students.

"The girls do dance as an elective. It's a really good experience."

The girls said it was a real eye-opener.

"It was great to learn the traditional dances," Starcha said.

"It was also nice meeting other people and learning different styles of dance."

"Knowing more about our culture is important," Bre said.

Norta Norta teacher Heather McBurney attended the camp with the girls and said it was a great experience.

"They were able to meet people who work full time in the arts industry," she said.

"They could see that you can make a living in the creative arts industry and it gives them an opportunity to explore that later on."

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