Descendance

On Application
NSW, Australia

The Descendance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre was born from the mighty Ngaru Aboriginal Dance Company, Sydney's first professional independent traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance troupe.  Ngaru means "shake a leg", a dance style prevalent in the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland. Ngaru had been one of the longest running professional performing Aboriginal dance troupes in Australia, the name was changed to "Descendance" to account for the many artists from diverse tribes living in Sydney and joining the company. The motto was "One people all fighting a common cause".

Sean Choolburra originally formed Ngaru in Sydney; Sean has a background from three Aboriginal tribes, Girrma from Tully (father's side) Kalkadoon from Mount Isa (mother's side) and Kuku-Yalanji from Cook town (grandfather's side). Ngaru came under the guidance of the late great Aboriginal song woman Imelda Willis and world music pioneer and producer Jose Calarco. Imelda came down from the sleepy seaside Aboriginal mission of Yarrabah in far North Queensland on the invitation of Sean Choolburra, Imelda took on cultural duties for twelve months before her untimely passing (may she rest in peace). Imelda was a gifted songwriter and enhanced the Descendance repertoire with some of her original works to encourage indigenous youths living in the city to make something of their lives and try to make careers in culture. Imelda's heritage came from two tribes (Kandju/Cape York) and (Yidindji/Cairns), Descendance was born out of her loving memory to create an independent vehicle and indigenous network for artists without support or funding, today her daughter Nicole Willis assumes her legacy.

Descendance has over fifty dancers from diverse tribes across Australia. They range from NSW to Mount Isa, across to Rockhampton, through the Central Desert, Western Australia, up to Cape York, and around the Torres Strait Islands. Descendance cultural program is exclusive to Far North Queensland. Descendance today is helping create work for many other Aboriginal artists in areas outside dance, from modelling, painting and popular music, to writing and acting. Descendance has grown out of necessity for indigenous people of Australia, and has become a refuge for Aboriginal culture needing assistance. Descendance fills Australia's need for a wholesome, exciting, and world class traditional and contemporary performing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Company.

Descendance performs in many diverse sectors:   Corporate Events, Conventions, Films, Audio Recordings, Touring, Theatre, Museums, Tourism, Opening Ceremonies, Galleries, Festivals, Community Work, Workshops, Schools, Government Education, Political Events and a wide range of Functions.

 


 

Testimonials

It was a wonderful performance, thoroughly enjoyed by our international and local guests alike. You are fine ambassadors for Australia.
- Michael Jeffery, Major General

It takes input from many people to make a successful conference and you and your team’s role in providing such a warm and appropriate welcome to delegates as part of our welcome to country ceremony at the opening of the conference was very much appreciated.
- Outside In

The Australian Embassy in Hanoi supported Descendance’s tour to Vietnam. Their performances not only showcased indigenous culture, but also now that culture can be interpreted creatively by modern artists. Audiences were captivated by their style of dance, costumes and the stories they shared. Descendance were very professional to work with. They were flexible, adapting well to unusual conditions and unavoidable last minute schedule changes.
- Australian Embassy Hanoi

Descendance speaker

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James Castrission

Cas is an Aussie Explorer constantly pushing the boundaries of human endurance.

Most recently, on the 26th January 2012, he made history by completing the longest unsupportedpolar expedition of all time, alongside his best mate, Jonesy. In 100 years of polar exploration no-one had EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back without assistance. Many had tried, none had succeeded. After 89 gruelling days they made it back to the coast after having skied 2275km with everything they needed to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

Justin Jones

Justin Jones (or other wise affectionately known as Jonesy) is one of Australia’s premier motivational speakers and extreme adventurers. Constantly pushing the boundaries of human endurance he has undertaken a number of large scale expeditions over the past 14 years. Two in particular have captured global acclaim and attention, setting 2 Guinness World records.

Ben Pettingill

Imagine waking up blind. One moment you can see, and in the next moment, your vision is made up only of childhood memories. At the tender age of 16, this became a reality for Ben Pettingill when overnight he lost 98% of his eyesight to a rare genetic syndrome, Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. While the shock, then grief of losing one's eyesight cannot be discounted, once Ben processed his new reality he realised that he had to make a choice that would define the rest of his life. Ben believed that a blind man could see, and his miracle was the activation of ‘True Vision' and 'Limitless Vision'. Vision enabled through purpose, perception and empowered decision making.

Holly Bryar

Crowned Miss Sydney Australia (2016) at the 6th annual sustainability pageant, Holly was determined from a young age to chase her dreams of working behind and in front of the camera.

After High School, she secured early entry into Charles Sturt University undertaking a double degree in TV Production & Graphic Design. It was during those four years Holly developed her love for creating children’s content within film, television and design.

Upon completing her degree, Holly relocated to Sydney taking time to pursue her passion for acting. She completed various short courses at NIDA under the guidance of Don Christopher, Brendon McDonnell & Serhat Caradee (AFI/AACTA nominee). Soon after she was accepted into NIDA’S part-time course - Advanced Screen Actors Studio with Writer/Directors Elissa Down (Black Balloon) and Craig Boreham (Teenage Kicks).

Holly has worked alongside the talented production teams of much-loved children’s programs Giggle & Hoot and Play School at ABC Kids TV. She currently works freelance and still continues her passion for performing arts.

 

Judy and Tim Sharp

Tim and Judy Sharp are break-through speakers who share their inspirational story of how a boy diagnosed with severe autism went on to become one of Australia's best-known international artists.

At 11 years of age Tim created a superhero called Laser Beak Man and became the first person with Autism to have his work developed into an animated TV series and theatre production. Tim shares his sense of humour and unique way of looking at the world through his colourful art. His originals are in high demand from collectors and have been exhibited Australia and globally.

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