After the first performance, we couldn’t get them to stop! If they were moving, they were dancing. The campsites would fill with dust as the children practised their ‘shake a leg’, dodging smacks and yells from the adults who were opposed to having dust in their tents and cooking. At night our tent cities would come alive with campfires, fluro lights and the smell of food cooking.
“This is how we do it,” Aunty Nandy would tell me, teaching me to make island scones or cook enough rice and yam for a horde of hungry dancers.
She would tell me to practise or I would forget the way. I guess that’s why these festivals, these celebrations of culture are so important. It too needs to be practiced, else we forget the way.
Check out Wild Rice Zine, Red Dust Issue.