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Did I choose dance or did dance choose me?

Daniel Riley, dancer, choreographer and Associate Producer at ILBIJERRI Theatre Company Source: Sam English

How Wiradjuri man Daniel Riley, a choreographer, dancer, teacher and producer stays connected with his students while in isolation.

It has been several weeks since the doors of theatres and dance studios have closed. But as Daniel Riley says, this time of isolation is also an opportunity to explore, learn and study especially for performing artists.

Daniel is a choreographer, dancer, teacher and an Associate Producer at ILBIJERRI Theatre Company. He also teaches contemporary dance techniques at the Victorian College of Arts and sits on the Board of Chunky Move.

 

Daniel Riley
Daniel Riley
Robert Crispe

The Wirajuri artists says that for him dance was a way of exploring and connecting to his own culture and identity. But it has also allowed him to connect to many different people across cultures.

Dance is a form I chose, or it chose me... I am not sure. But probably it chose me. Through dance I have been able to connect to my sense of identity here in Australia, but also to connect to different cultures, people, languages.

At the moment his world has moved online, and he feels lucky, that he has been able to continue his work in the cyber space.

"I am now teaching a computer screen with these little boxes of students in their different sized spaces," Daniel says; adding that he appreciates students' resilience.

The Wiradjuri artist  also mentors young Indigenous dancers. He's always wanted to create a safe space for young students to connect to culture and their mob.

Even in these times of restrictions, the group meets online, and Daniel encourages them to stay positive.

Use this time to reconnect with family, stories, heritage and our sense of belonging

Daniel Riley adds that the current situation will be a short-lived experience. "We just need to stay safe and connected. We will come from it stronger, more adaptable and more fluid."

 

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