Presented by: Yellaka- “Old Wisdom-New Ways”
Reviewed: 23rd February 2020
I’d like to start this review by acknowledging that this performance takes place on Kaurna land and I pay my respects to Leaders Past, Present and Emerging. Spirit is a testament to the strength and resilience of the Stolen Generation who have the courage to share their stories so that we may learn and keep culture strong for future generations. Karl Telfer and Sonia Waters are our guides for this performance, teaching us about each dance’s meaning, with Karl speaking in Kaurna.
The first dance is set to Ali Cobby Eckermann’s poem Circles over Squares and depicts the situation so many Aboriginal children were placed in, confined to live in squares, taken from the beauty of their circles and that the strength of connection to Country runs deep. As Elders voice their experiences as part of the voice over we hear Aunty Audrey ‘s voice speak “I know I was born in Port Augusta but that’s all I know” Aunty Audrey sadly passed away the day before this performance and as you hear her statement the significance of her loss in life is mixed with feelings of Aunty Audrey now being able to return home.
As the show progresses the dances tell the story of Kaurna culture, we learn about the Emu in the sky, how young men are taught to spear fish and the red Kangaroo (the venue Tandanya gets its name from the Red Kangaroo). We also learn about the strength of women set to a beautiful backdrop of illustrations on the big screen.
With Hunter Vandenbergh being the youngest dancer at just ten years of age it is an incredible testament to the professionalism of Yellaka and the passion that is held by such young performers ( Jakirah Telfer, Tikana Telfer, Tanay Giles, Lakeesha Pickett, Hunter Vandenbergh, Tyneeka Miller-Pickett, Sherie Rigney, Karno Martin, Kayde Pickett, Sherwin Swan, Allen Wombat, Ayden Martin) and the skill of their Teachers Karl Telfer and Sonia Waters with the production crew Talia Giles and Jordan Dorizzi-Tucker also being key contributors in this phenomenal performance. It is easy to see why Yellaka has been invited to perform overseas and the importance placed in teaching the world about Aboriginal culture.
As the show ends with the Peace law the audience is reminded of the importance of coming together, for truth telling and acknowledging that this always has and always will be Kaurna land.
Reviewed By Tara Forbes-Godfrey
Rating out of 5: 5 stars The history lesson that everyone should see.
Venue: Ngunyawayiti Space (Tandanya Theatre) at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
Season: 27th and 28th Feb 7pm, March 1st 4pm
Duration: 50 mins