Yuin woman Sharon Mason founded the Djaadjawan Dancers after attending an Aboriginal women’s camp in Narooma NSW, sponsored by Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service and Wagonga Local Aboriginal Land Council. The aim of the camp was to have local Aboriginal women and children teach and share their traditional knowledge.
Sharon helped run a workshop on traditional dance. There was great interest in the workshop, which gave Sharon the idea that there is a need for a women’s dance group to share culture and traditions to the wider community. After speaking to women in the community to gauge if they were interested in practicing traditional dance, Sharon established the Djaadjawan Dancers in late 2013, involving Yuin women and children from ages six to sixty.
Sharon runs group practice sessions on a regular basis with a gathering of strong Aboriginal women, children and elders who are enthusiastically committed to their traditional dancing and preserving cultural practices.
The dancers hunt and gather natural resources from the land to hand make their traditional dance outfits, accessories and craft. The parents of the children involved in the dance group have commented on how their children’s behaviours have changed for the better, they are attending school more often, participating in school activities, they show more respect to their parents and show a strong interest in participating in their traditional culture.
On a regular basis, the Djaadjawan Dancers gather natural resources from within the local area, Walbanja country in Narooma NSW.
They collect nuts, seeds and bark from the bush, body paint from ancient ochre pitts and shells from prestige beaches.
The bird feathers are from fresh road kill.
This is a way to practice their culture and stay connected to the environment and Mingagia – Mother Earth.
The Djaadjawan Dancers have danced all over Australia including at many festivals and cultural events. They have been runners up at Dance Rites.