Ngoenakap Connection to Country

Rebecca Varidel
1st Nov 2019


NAISDA Dance College, Australia’s national arts training organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, is partnering with Carriageworks to present its annual Sydney season, Ngoenakap (Nga-na-kup) from Wednesday 20 to Saturday 23 November 2019.

This year’s highly anticipated production, directed by Sani Townson, is a powerful exploration of First Nations Peoples’ connection to Country and Kinship.

“Ngoenakap means ‘heart’ in my Torres Strait Islander language of Kala Lagaw Ya,” said Sani.

“My heart to dance, my heart for homeland and my heart to teach and share.

“Ngoenakap for me is the person within community that acts as the glue. The person whose story resonates with you to leave a lasting impression. You find yourself amazed and inspired by their life in a remote community living amongst culture every day,” he added.

A celebrated Torres Strait Islander choreographer and artist, Sani Townson is a NAISDA graduate (2000) and former Bangarra Dance Theatre dancer (2001-2006) who has worked nationally and globally across dance, music and acting disciplines. Since 2009 he has toured extensively with the Helpmann Award nominated production, Saltbush.

For Ngoenakap, Sani has worked with Dujon Niue, NAISDA graduate and Mua Island Cultural Leader, Deon Hastie NAISDA Head of Dance, together with NAISDA Developing Artists, to present a deeply personal celebration and reflection on connection to Torres Strait Islander Country, culture and community.

“Ngoenakap is also about NAISDA Dance College itself,” added Sani.

“For me, and many others who have come through this incredible institution, it is the heartbeat of our creative practice which gave us our professional springboard into the Arts Industry.

“After leaving NAISDA, at some point in our professional careers, there is a 360 degree turning point where we feel the need to give back and share our dance and cultural dialogues. Ngoenakap is my full circle. I am returning to the heart of where it all began,” he explained.

This year’s showcase continues the unique NAISDA legacy that has placed it at the forefront of national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance and performing arts training for over 40 years.

NGOENAKAP (Nga-na-kup) - Directed by Sani Townson
Wednesday 20 November, 8pm (Community Night)
Thursday 21 November, 8pm (Opening Night)
Friday 22 November, 8pm (Includes post-show Q&A event with Director and NAISDA Developing Artists hosted by Wesley Enoch)
Saturday 23 November, 2pm and 8pm