There is no doubt that everyone has numerous influential female figures in their lives. They care for us, guide us and open doors that would other wise remain invisible to us. I have many Mothers, Aunties, Sisters, Friends and Mentors who’m I know I wouldn’t be able to live without. I guess this is why this years NAIDOC theme strikes a chord in my memory and I can’t help but think back to the Aboriginal Ballet Dancers Panel I was fortunate to be apart of in May 2017. This Panel was presented by BlakDance and The Australian Ballet for YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival. Co-convened by Marrilyn Miller and David McAlister.
On this panel were three incredibly strong Aboriginal Women who all trained in the gruelling discipline of Ballet. I would like to pay homage to these incredible women for not only taking a wild leap out of their comfort zones and into the Western world of Classical Ballet, but also for the incredible work they have done since. Each are trailblazers, having contributed to the community and inspired many indigenous kids to pursue their dreams.
Upon meeting this remarkable woman I could instantly recognise that ‘specialness’ within her that made her such a source of inspiration as a dancer. She had a ballet specifically created for her and was in high demand because she offered something different, genuine and heartfelt. Her smile is so warm it lit up the panel and I could easily have listened to her stories for days. Here is a must read article on her: The West
I had been dying to meet Aunty Roslyn for years and in May 2017, I finally had the opportunity. She radiates such elegance and strength and I am in awe of the career she has forged for herself. She has danced and choreographed for numerous companies worldwide and continues to pass on her passion for dance today. Read about her incredible career here: Deadly Vibe VRROOM
Also on the panel, I was humbled to meet Aunty Lillian, who trained in Ballet when she was young, and is now a renowned actress. Not only is she exceptionally talented, she is also charismatic, smart and generous. It seems unfair for so many remarkable traits and talents to reside in one woman. She can be found on IMBD and is the founder of the Lillian Crombie Foundation
Finally, I want to share with you a photo of Merindah Donnelly who also trained in Classical Ballet in Sydney. She helped to organise the panel and is the Executive Producer of BlakDance.
My Mother kept this photo of Merindah in a scrapbook for me to look at when ever I needed some inspiration. I guess this is kind of like my own online version of a scrapbook that I am keeping to remind us all that because of her we can.
Yours, Ella Havelka
PS. See Link The Plus Ones