In 2018 The Grey Panthers launch their Youth Development Fund and performed on stage at Fresh Tracks with the inaugural recipient Will Nery.
Darryl Butler has danced with the Grey Panthers for seven years and in 2017 suggested to the Troupe that by making weekly donations of spare change they could raise funds to support a new generation of NT dancers. The whole group got behind the idea and the Grey Panther Youth Development Fund was born.
Darryl described his motivation as: ‘Tracks has given us so many opportunities to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do and we want to give back and give something to younger dancers, offer a helping hand.’
Give to the Fund
This Year the Grey Panthers supported Bayanihan - A Day of Filipino Cultural Dance and Hip Hop.
"This project is called Bayanihan which means ‘the spirit of communal unity and cooperation.' This communal unity and cooperation will be made up as a cultural dance weekend. Building a bridge for the Filipinos who have migrated here and trying to adjust to a western society and the Filipinos who were born here (like myself), trying to connect to our Filipino culture." -Steph Spillett
Bayanihan was a free event filled with dance, food, and culture, and was attended by 30 Filipino youth.
For more information, click here
In 2019, the Grey Panthers provided two scholarships for the Youth Choreographic Residency. Two young people were successful in attaining these: J. J. Banderjas and Sophia Hodges.
18-year old J. J. stated in his application "I would benefit by doing this mentally and physically, it would help me grow as a dancer and improve more on my techniques as to be able to show that I can be better as a person. I would be thankful and take this chance to grow as a dance and as a person. As to be able to enhance my dancing skill."
14-year-old Sophia said: "I want to be a professional dancer or choreographer. I think that the workshop would benefit me heaps ... My parents have been long term business people in Darwin and their business has been hit hard with the Corona virus , they have always supported me to help me get to my goal I am adopted from Asia and I have been told that I have a beautiful and unique style."
Both recipients were taught by professional dance artists Jordan Bretherton and Madeleine Brown. They were guided through master classes in various techniques and choreographic development workshops. The course culminated in a studio showing to family and friends.
To find more about this course click here
In 2019, the Grey Panthers decided to support 3 exceptional young dancers from the NT to travel down for the Australian Youth Dance Festival where they would be immersed in workshops, classes, performances, discussions and networking with young dancers and their leaders from across the country and internationally.
Successful applicants Drew Holloway, Taylah Anderson and Leah Cato all expressed that dance is an integral aspect of their lives and future aspirations, and the Grey Panthers were impressed with their dedication to dance in their communities. Drew and Taylah will be travelling to the Festival from Darwin, and Leah from Alice Springs.
Taylah said in her application video, “I can’t help but dance, so to be with other people like that and to learn so many different techniques and ways to do it would just be so eye opening. It will benefit me to improve my skills from now where I want to take my dancing from a hobby into a career.”
Listen: ABC Radio interview with Marge, Jenni and Drew speaking about the 2019 recipients going to the Australian Youth Dance Festival
The inaugural recipient of the Grey Panthers Youth Development Fund.
With no tertiary dance education in Darwin, Tracks Choreographic Intensive is the NT’s flagship annual development program for emerging choreographers. Will Nery’s participation in the program was supported through the Youth Development Fund.
Will has been passionate about dance since he was five years old when his sibling brought home a DVD of a world champion break dancing crew. Since that time he has been driven to perfect his head spin and break dancing style.
“To be involved in the Choreographic Intensive program [and Fresh Tracks] for me, means to represent young people in the dance community here in Darwin, especially male dancers” - Will Nery
Darryl described Will’s motivation to connect people through dance as ‘a big tick for the Grey Panthers.’
Watch: Darryl and Will speaking about the 2018 Grey Panthers Youth Development Fund
"I'm such a creative person and dance is a way to absorb all of it"
"I dance as a sense of relief, it’s been apart of my life since I was 4 years old and I want to encourage more males to dance"
"This opportunity gave me a chance to figure out new movements in my body and making so many new connections"
“The message I wanna convey [through my dance] is that dance can connect anyone and everyone.”
Tracks Dance Company Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Tracks Inc is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.
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