Dance Troupe in Nauru
Nauru gained its independence from Australia on 31 January 1968, becoming the world’s smallest republic. But despite its size, Nauru celebrates in a big way every January
One of the other reasons Nauru celebrates on this date is to commemorate the return of the Surviving Nauruans who were exiled to Chuuk during WWII during the Japanese occupation.
Not only are the 2019 events recognising the 51st year of Nauru’s Independence from Australia, but they are also celebrating the closing of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Once of the events marking the closing of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations involved an Indigenous Dance Troupe from Australia.
“It was exciting to be asked to perform in Nauru.The opportunity to take our culture to another country is always a great thing to do, and particularly when we learnt it was for the Island’s 50th Independence Celebrations,” Darrel Baird, tour manager of the Kuma Kaaru group’s tour to Nauru, says.
The Dance Troupe flew into Nauru in a week filled with jubilation – but also rather wild weather!
The performance took place in the Centenary Hall, and organisers arranged chairs and prepared the stage all afternoon to make sure everything was perfect. Despite the constant and unrelenting rain in the afternoon, the clouds parted in the evening and locals began pouring into the hall in readiness for the performance. His Excellency, the Honourable Baron Waga MP President of the Republic of Nauru and his wife arrived in a motorcade and were the guests of honour for the evening’s festivities.
The Dance Troupe opened with a demonstration of the Didgeridoo, or in this case – the Didgeribone – a modern interpretation of the Didgeridoo offering more keys and often made of plastic and carbon fibre.
From there, the five-man troupe commenced a Corroboree performance incorporating the Didgeribone and traditional dance and dress. There was even some audience participation, with the troupe bringing members of the audience up on stage to partake in a dance involving bird-like movements and sounds!
“The reaction to our performances has been fantastic and we have focussed our performance on educating the audience about the meanings of each dance and also playing on the Yidaki (didgeridoo),” Darrel says.
“We met the President which was really deadly,” Darrel says, using the word deadly in a similar context to brilliant. The night ended with the group taking photos and selfies with audience members, including His Excellency. As for the rest of their trip, the troupe performed a second time on Wednesday night, and has enjoyed experiencing everything Nauru has to offer.
“Our local guides have been fantastic, taking us all over the island including rock climbing and caving,” Darrel says, explaining that they also learnt about local customs.
“One of our little highlights was kicking the footy (AFL) with a bunch of local kids and kids as young as 5 were kicking with skills beyond their years.
“The entire island is AFL mad and as South Australians, we were happy to hear one of the teams here is called Power after Port Adelaide!” The locals at the performances enjoyed them immensely, and while there was some hesitation for the audience participation at first, everyone one soon got into the spirit. The 2019 Independence Celebrations are shaping up for another wonderful year!