2016 Sandfly NICA internship, by Georgia
2016 Sandfly NICA internship

Posted by Georgia Deguara

2016 Sandfly/NICA internship

For the second consecutive year, the Theatre Kimberley Sandfly Circus and the National Institute of Circus Arts have joined forces to provide an internship that allows two students from NICA to travel north and experience teaching in remote community circus. Fundamental to this program is NICA co-ordinator Andrea Ousley, who provides the opportunities to the students, and accompanies them on their trip. This year Maya Tregonning and Piri Lee Goodman were selected from second year to teach at Sandfly Circus for two weeks, and to also travel out to the Yiramaly Campus to run a workshop with the indigenous students. I was able to work on this project as it combines NICA, where I am currently training, and Sandflies, where I begun circus. As I wasn’t sent through NICA to Broome, I chose to host the students, and was employed through Theatre Kimberley to teach and travel out to Yiramalay. This was a great opportunity for me as not only could I take care of my friends in my home town, I could be part of a great team who wanted to share as much as we could while we were here!

It was great to work with the Sandfly kids again- and to see how much they’ve improved! It’s always interesting for me to come back each year and see the progress and the changes to my home circus. I was genuinely impressed with the skill level that is shown through the older classes, and the interest and interaction displayed throughout the whole circus. Everyone wants to have fun, and everyone wants to learn new stuff (how much better could it get?!) It’s also an amazing opportunity for the Marchflies to work with Robert Dann’s Dreamtime Dancers, as it was evident that the two groups not only worked well with each other, they learnt off each other. One thing I learnt from studying at NICA is the importance of movement and dance within circus acts, and it was great to see the Marchfly kids embracing new styles!

Teaching with the NICA students, we focused on asking what the Sandfly students wanted to achieve from a skill point of view, and what they were working on for upcoming shows. Through their input we were able to specify the classes and make sure we could teach as much as we could in the two weeks we were here. Through the use of extra classes offered for the students, we could focus our time almost one-on-one, which was great, as everyone had different interests and skill sets. I hope the Sandfly kids learnt a lot while we were here, and could put into practice not only the skills we taught, but how we taught them, so they can teach others.

It was a great opportunity to take the NICA team out to Yiramalay, a school that is located near Tunnel Creek, and is connected with the Wesley College in Melbourne. I’ve never been to Yiramaly before- and it’s a beautiful school with great students. We ran a workshop with the intention of holding a show for the open day of the new cafeteria. Through teaching, we were able to interact with a lot of the kids as well as staff, and everyone was interested in learning something- whether it be spinning plates, or getting flipped over by Andrea. We worked from mid-day till well after sunset, and we were always busy! There was some exceptional talent displayed at the school, kids learning to juggle in short amounts of time, to base each other in two highs, and to backflip. We also got shown up by a few of the kids, one a boy called Billy, who front flipped over numerous people, and could do consecutive backsaults.

The combination of staying out bush, and experiencing the opening day celebrations was a great cultural education for the NICA team, who got to witness welcome to country, induction to land, indigenous dance and music, as well as powerful speeches from both students and elders. This outreach trip was short, yet successful, and I hope that we have further connections with the Yiramalay school through both Theatre Kimberley and NICA.

Overall, the 2016 NICA internship was a very successful project, and it was great to see two of my circus backgrounds come together. It was great to see relationships formed between both these companies, as well as with the Dreamtime Dancers, and the Yiramalay/Wesley college. I hope that through this experience we can educate NICA students on Kimberley culture and arts, and that they take away a new perspective of the importance and social power of community circus.

Till next year! xx

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