Deon Hastie, company dancer with Adelaide’s Leigh Warren and Dancers has been announced as the new Artistic Director for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth arts company, Kurruru Youth Performing Arts. Mr. Hastie’s appointment brings strong artistic leadership to one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth performing arts companies a role vacant since the departure of previous Director, Diat Alferink at the end of 2009.
Trained in contemporary and traditional Indigenous dance, Deon has performed throughout Australia as well as internationally and is a strong role model to other young Indigenous people and aspiring dancers. Associated with Kurruru since late 2005 as a tutor, choreographer and dancer Mr Hastie co-choreographed Kurruru’s award-winning dance show Crossing Paths for the 2006 Adelaide Fringe Festival.
“I’ve had a great working relationship with Kurruru through the years and am now looking forward to an exciting period providing creative leadership to the staff and young people as the Artistic Director”, said Mr. Hastie.
Hitting the ground running, Mr Hastie will immediately begin working on Kurruru’s forthcoming work Min Min that will debut as part of Ripples – Country Arts SA’s Regional Centre for Culture program taking place in Murray Bridge in 2010.
The development of Min Min will see Kurruru working with local artists, young people and Aboriginal community members in and around Murray Bridge exploring the unexplainable and mysterious natural occurrences of the river. Drawing from the stories of the Ngarrinjeri people audiences will see into the relationship Aboriginal people have with country, and how an Aboriginal perspective offers explanations to every event, often different from that of mainstream science.
“’If you ever see a Min Min Light, don’t follow it, or you might not come back’ or at least that is what I’ve been told. But what if you do follow it? What amazing things will it reveal?”, says Mr Hastie. “With this new show we will explore what is revealed and what is hidden in the lights.”
Mr Hastie is from the Tjapukai language group in far north Queensland. After graduating from National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) in 1998 specialising in dance he took part an emerging artist program at Leigh Warren and Dancers going on to join the company in 2000. While with LWD he has performed in works including Divining, Piercing the Skin, Chasing Space, Quick Brown Fox, Einstein on the Beach, Petroglyphs –Signs of Life, Seven and Frame and Circle.