#6 Metro Arts
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we are gathering and dancing on, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay our deep respects to their elders past, present and emerging. We think back to the fact that dance has been practiced by their ancestors for tens of thousands of years on this country and how powerful that is.
We also acknowledge the rich and complex dance lineages represented in this program. We pay respects to their creators and ancestors as well as to our artists who keep these movement languages and stories alive in their bodies.
All tonights artists are active members of the incredible and thriving Meanjin and Yugambeh dance community. Follow them, take class with them, go and see their work!
Click on the below images to link to their instagram accounts or websites.
Lelani Tahiata is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Heilani Productions. Australia’s largest and most comprehensive Polynesian Dance School and Polynesian Entertainment Production Company. Established in Brisbane in 2005 by Heimana and Lelani Tahiata, Heilani Polynesian School of Arts & Heilani Production Company take pride in teaching authentic Polynesian dance and culture while also maintaining the highest level of entertainment.
Sugar, originally hailing from the Philippines, has been dancing for almost 10yrs. She is a valued member of the Filipino Hip-Hop community which has trained her as an all-styles dancer and been her main influence. Since moving to Australia she has found a home at YCV Dance Studios, training and learning from Yasim Coronado Veranes in Contemporary Dance, Afro, Dancehall and Street Latin styles. She is also actively involved in the Filipino community here in Australia as a founding member of Hiraya Performing Artists - Brisbane. Hiraya organises workshops, events and performances that cultivate and promote the Indigenous and Cultural dances of the Philippines.
Denzal Van Uitregt
Denzal aka Denz or “Michael Jackson” is a street dancer and teacher based in Brisbane. Denzal started dancing at a very young age, teaching himself by watching videos of Michael Jackson. His trademark is his smooth moves and fedora hat!. He's Australia Just Dance Champion which took him to Paris 2014-2018, then Sao Paulo 2019 to compete against the world.
At a young age Denzal was diagnosed with Autism – which has never stopped him from dancing. Dancing not only helped him to be a better performer/entertainer, but taught him self-confidence, respect and helped reduce stress and negativity. Throughout his dance career Denzal has made numerous connections with friends, teachers, mentors, fans and famous people. He loves being able to bring joy to all who watch him perform – it’s what he loves the most about dancing.
Therese from Kanasuc Sega Dancers
Therese has been dancing for as long as she can remember, growing up immersed in her family's cultural musics and dances. Since 1999, she has been performing Sega, a traditional Mauritian dance, with the performance group, Kanasuc Sega Dancers. This group was formed by Therese’s father, as a way to share Mauritian culture with his family and the Australian multicultural community. Throughout Therese’s dance career she has had many opportunities to travel across Australia performing and teaching. She is excited to be sharing Sega dance with you at the upcoming People’s Dance Party.
Yasim Coronado Veranes
Yasim has had an extensive career as a professional dancer and circus performer. After graduating from Cuba’s Escuela Nacional De Arte he toured internationally with companies including Ballet Revolucion and Austrian Circus, Nock. Renowned for his versatility and creativity as a performer and choreographer, since being in Australia he has presented at Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Fringe, a range of commercial videos and built the successful YCV Dance Studio from the ground up.
Miss Martoya (she/they) is a professional Drag entertainer based in Meanjin/ Brisbane, Australia. Martoya bends the rules and sits in both Male and Female gender roles. She's a chart popping lip-syncing Diva being influenced from they're Cook Island heritage and adopting Pop Culture references from the 60’s to now! Martoya is formally trained in Modern /Contemporary and Classical Dance styles most recently performing at Anywhere Festival (Australia, 2021) and Aronui Arts Festival (New Zealand, 2021).
The Disco Ball
It's hard to deny that the disco ball is our most treasured party symbol. Reflecting fractals of light from above the dancefloor and pulling our focus to the center of it, the mirrorball tells everyone: this is where the action is. There is no more reliable witness to the ups and downs of clublife than the disco ball, omnipresent and omniscient. As Tracey Thorn sings in "Mirrorball," the 1996 tune from her group Everything But The Girl, "the lovely mirrorball reflected back them all, every triumph, every fight under disco light."
Yet, as is the case for many party icons, the disco ball's origins are a bit sketchy. While the disco ball came to power in the 70s as part of the disco era, the origins of the spinning reflector can be traced to nearly 100 years before Donna Summer topped a single chart. The first documented appearance of the disco ball goes as far back as 1897, where an issue of the Electrical Worker, the publication of an electrician's union in Charlestown, Massachusetts discusses the group's annual party and its most notable decorations. The group's initials (N.B.E.W.) were illuminated with "incandescent lamps of various colors on wire mesh over the ballroom" and another light (a carbon arc lamp, now embraced by steampunk enthusiasts) flashed on a "mirrored ball."
According to archival photos, mirror balls appeared in an assortment of locations, typically those related to social functions. Nearly 30 years after those electricians created a mirror ball for their shindig, an inventor named Louis B. Woeste filed a patent for an object he called a "myriad reflector." The 1924 US patent filing describes the device as a "sphere, yet any other geometrical form-may be substituted therefor, which is preferably hollow and has its surface covered with a multitude of mirrors."
After almost half a century in the dark, the disco ball made its big return at the dawn of the disco era. New York's disco king, the DJ Nicky Siano, was there for its revival. "It's been around forever, but they weren't called disco balls back then," he tells THUMP. "There was no name like that. When I came on the scene it was called the mirrored ball, because there hadn't been that transition yet; Billboard didn't decide to make billions off an industry that we created, and label it disco."
As a young New Yorker, Siano became enamored with the blossoming club culture of the early 70s. One of his first encounters with a disco ball happened at David Mancuso's famed East Village disco holy ground, The Loft. "I was just 15 and it was so striking how [the mirrored ball] was used. The room had no other light, and when [light on the ball] went out, you were in total darkness."
Siano recalls a time when one of The Loft's 48 inch balls fell on an unassuming dancer's head during a party (mercifully, it was hollow). He also remembers when New York house legend Larry Levan would take mid-set trips to the dancefloor where he would climb a ladder and meticulously spot clean the disco ball's mirror tiles. Levan wanted perfection.
As the disco scene grew in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Montreal, San Francisco, and Paris, the disco ball went with it. It would be hard for any particular city to lay claim to the disco ball's origins, but because of how Siano, Levan, and Mancuso used their disco balls as part of the sensory bliss of the disco scene and later, the house scene, it became an integral part of clubbing's formative years.
Source: Meet Me Under the Disco Ball: A History of Nightlife's Most Enduring Symbol, by David Garber, https://www.vice.com/en/article/xypxjk/meet-me-under-the-disco-ball-a-history-of-nightlifes-most-enduring-symbol
The Conga Line
The conga or conga line dance, as we know it, originated as a street dance in Cuba in the early 20th century. Its full history goes back much further – with the roots of African slaves who were forcibly brought to the Caribbean. The dance also became associated with the Santeria religion and Easter traditions of the islands. The conga -- both the dance and the style of music it is generally danced to -- became popular in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, largely due to the influence of bandleaders Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnaz, both then working in Hollywood on a series of Latin-themed musicals.
There are several conga dance variations. The most familiar is the single file line dance in which the dancers hold on to the hips of the dancer directly in front. The line then zigzags around the dance floor – and off – with the dancers kicking alternating legs on the beat as they move forward. The conga version for couples resembles the mambo or any of the other Latin ballroom styles, with the couple holding hands but switching hands on the beat and turning occasionally.
As a street dance, the conga had political implications in pre-revolutionary Cuba. At different times, the dance was banned or restricted as a way of discouraging mass assembly. At other times the dance was associated with annual Carnival and Easter celebrations and performed as a kind of processional. The dance is executed to a distinctive drum rhythm. Conga music holds an important place in the Latin and North American cultural landscape.
Conga dancing became popular in the nightclubs of Paris first and then became fashionable State-side in the 1930s. All things Latin were in vogue at the time – Hollywood cranked out one Latin music and dance movie spectacular after another, nightclubs were Latin-themed and offered lessons in dances like the conga and mambo. Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz – who married comedienne Lucille Ball and starred with her on the TV series "I Love Lucy" – became a huge star associated with the conga craze and is credited with introducing it to Los Angeles and New York.
Like the “Macarena," the conga and conga line dance has become a staple of the wedding dance floor. Its mass familiarity was ensured by its ease of execution and its ubiquity. The conga line has been a recurring theme in cartoons and comedies on television and in the movies throughout the 20th century. And Miami Sound Machine’s Gloria Estefan had a hit with her single “Conga” in 1985, further securing the conga’s place in American popular culture.
Source: The History of the Conga Line, by Margot Callahan, updated September 15th 2017, https://ourpastimes.com/the-history-of-the-conga-dance-12212676.html