I'm rushing on to say that tonight I saw Bumblebee perform with his school in the ACT Wakakirri heats... and they were FABULOUS.
When I heard that they were going to do an interpretive dance on the Stolen Generations and Sorry Day, I must admit I rolled my eyes a touch.
But -- oh. It was amazing. I've NEVER been so proud of that school and it's teachers. tonight's performance made sense of this entire year's curriculum up to this point. They've read books about Aboriginal History, had visits from Aboriginal dancers and musicians, watched movies and had lots of discussions. And they've practiced this dance routine for 18 weeks, and worked really hard.
The ten-minute performance was respectful, sorrowful, angry, fearful, joyful and TIGHT. They not only did a great performance, but they got the entire audience involved involuntarily. It was on par with a Keating! performance... we gasped and cried, and booed a very accurate John Howard impression, then laughed and spontaneously applauded a very accurate Kevin Rudd impression. And it wasn't just the parents of our school -- the whole thousand-strong audience went crazy.
I wasn't allowed to take photos or film it, but they've made it through to the finals, which will be screened on national tv later in the year, so I'll let you know. It's a performance that I think should be seen by everyone, if only as a great rendition of a very exciting part of our shared history.
A few moments that stuck in my head (and throat) -- the lights rising to Aboriginal music, with a group of Aboriginal children in centre stage, obviously in pre-settlement times. The background group was other children from the school, but the main cluster at first were actual Aboriginal children from the school, looking strong and proud. Then the whites arrived.
Later -- they'd recreated a missionary school scene, with 'teachers' wielding canes, children in pinafores learning, being hit if they gave a 'wrong' answer. In the background were other kids in pinafores and overalls, the boys holding spades and digging, the girls holding sheets. The girls would flap the sheets high in the air and let them float down in time to the music. It was gorgeous, and beautifully choreographed.
Sigh. Bumblebee is exhausted, it's 10.30pm, and I'm writing this while he showers and changes. Have to go. He needs a hug. I'm so proud...
*I'm channelling Bernice Balconey. I always love it when she says that. She's not from NZ, she says it's a western Tassie accent.