Wednesday, July 24, 2024  
1972-1975: Carole Johnson & the Black Theatre

Carole Johnson left the Eleo Pomare Dance Company she was touring with, and supported by Jenny Isaacs with funding from the Australian Council for the Arts, started dance classes in Redfern in May 1972. Twice a week, in St Luke's Hall at 118 Regent St.
They took part in Black Theatre street theatre, and performed at the re-erection of the tent embassy in Canberra, on 30 July, filmed in Ningla A-Na. On 7 September, the dance group performed a public concert at the Friends' hall in Surry Hills as National Black Theatre Dance Workshop.

Phemie Bostock, assisted by Wayne Nicole, and later Lucy Jumawan, took over at times when Carole was away, and also arranged a variety of dance teachers, in conjunction with the Black Theatre. In 1973 the dance classes were filmed by Milena Damjanovic in Sharing the dream.
In 1975 there were dance showcases, to introduce funding bodies to the Black Theatre. Midyear in 1975 there was a six week workshop at the Black Theatre, the first national performing arts training for Aboriginal people, mainly put together by Brian Syron, and Carole. Ande Reese filmed this in Tjintu Pakani – Sunrise awakening.
The Carole Johnson story has some footage.

A full time, three year professional training program, the 'Careers in Dance' course started in October 1975. It moved to Bodenweiser Dance Studio in Chippendale.


The name was formalised as Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Scheme. [AISDS]

In 1977 they moved to St James Hall, 153 Bridge Rd, Glebe, there for 18 years.

They moved to Miller's Point in 1996, The Rocks in 1997, then to Mt Penang in 2007.

Also in 1977 the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre [AIDT] was formed to give students experience performing. The school became known by this name. In 1988 the school was called NAISDA - National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association, and AIDT became a professional performing group with Raymond Blanco the first Aboriginal artistic director. AIDT disbanded in 1998. NAISDA celebrates 40 years in 2016.
film clip from 1982 - David Gulpilil teaches dance in Glebe >  NFSA

1979 : ADTR - Aboriginal Dance Theatre, Redfern

In 1979 Christine Donnelly, a participant in the six-week program, founded the Aboriginal Dance Theatre (ADTR) to serve the Redfern community. It was originally in the Black Theatre building, it has now moved behind in Renwick Street.

1989 : Bangarra Dance Theatre

In 1989 Carole Johnson resigned from NAISDA, and, with others, formed Bangarra. It ran out of Cheryl Stone’s living room in Glebe, before using Police Boys’ Club in Pitt Street, Redfern. Their first performance was in 1990 in Brian Syron's film Jindalee Lady. Stephen Page became the artistic director in 1991, collaborating with his brothers David and Russell [both now deceased]. They moved to Walsh Bay in 1997.
    Carole Johnson INTERVIEWS  
    2010 Break dancing  
Redfern Block Party

trailer featuring Ningenah
    November 2016  
NAISDA celebrates 40 years, at Carriageworks

  Group for sharing images and memories - now private

Carole Johnson recalls role in dance [Australian]

ABC Awaye
A dance movement: the precursor to Bangarra
An oral history as told by students & teachers
    2019 > > >  
# 1 0 0 w o m e n d a n c i n g
We danced for our Ancestors
our families and communities.
We danced for our land, 800 year old birthing trees and Mother Earth.
We danced for our families in custody and those murdered there too.
We danced for injustices and violence perpetrated against us.
We danced, for hope, equality, justice, sovereignty and our survival.
Today we danced because to dance on country is our birthright.
Today we danced.

Rayma Johnson, Mudgin-gal & community ❤️ 👣👣👣

Firestarter - The story of Bangarra [film]
Burrundi Theatre for Performing Arts

newly established arts organisation - web | vid
Brolga Dance Academy

& just like that we are open for business!

Dancing on the inside | Compass ABC

Through our eyes; A Sydney story of black contemporary dance. (1972-1979) As told by Carole Johnson. [notes from a photographic display held at at Surry Hills Library 3 July – 28 August 2014]

Robinson, Raymond Stanley (2000). Dreaming tracks: history of the Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Scheme, 1972-1979: its place in the continuum. University of Western Sydney, Nepean.

Early films
Oral history interviews at the NLA Dictionary of Sydney, Zoe Pollock

National Library of Australia
  •  'Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre. (1976-1998)'. Trove. 2008.
  •  'NAISDA Dance College. (1975-)'. Trove. 2012.
  •  Australia Dancing - Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre (1976 - )



Verghis, Sharon Bangarra Dance Theatre: history in movement

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