Kinship dance show celebrates culture
IT WAS in the country town of Biloela that Leonard Mickelo found his true calling.
But the gifted dancer said it was long before taking classes that it became obvious he had a knack for the art.
"I would always be dancing around the house. Rage would come on and I'd love listening to Michael Jackson and Cindy Lauper," he told Pulse last week.
Fast-forward some years later, and the 27-year-old has performed on stages across the globe, but come next week, he will perform at the Pilbeam Theatre as part of Kinship during Bangarra's regional and remote areas tour.
Kinship is a breathtaking theatrical experience of contemporary dance by award-winning choreographer Stephen Page, and contemplates human nature in modern society where skin colour can drive perceptions rather than prompt people to embrace differences.
This bold dance theatre work celebrates the resilience of Australian Aboriginal culture in both its traditional and contemporary forms.
Born in Ipswich, Leonard is also a descendant of the Bidjara Nation and the Kulilli Tribe, and the Gungalhu Tribe and the Juduwa Tribe from Central Queensland, and his other bloodlines are Chinese, Malaysian, Mongolian and Irish.
Having travelled to places like Broome, Arnhem Land and Darwin as part of this tour, Leonard said meeting the youth in those places was really important.
"It's so nice to connect with these people who still have their culture and are still practising it," he said.
"But some of the younger generations were ashamed of their culture, so when we talked to them, we would tell them not to be, and to show them they can become anything they want to be. It was quite overwhelming."
It was in 2006 Leonard joined Bangarra, performing in Rites and Amalgamate, a double-bill collaboration with The Australian Ballet.
"I don't think of anything else when I dance - I feel like this light is shining through me, I feel free and safe as well," he explained.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Bangarra Dance Theatre's Kinship
WHERE: Pilbeam Theatre, Thursday, November 6, at 7.30pm
TICKETS: Adult tickets are $56, with concessions available. On sale now from the Pilbeam Theatre Box Office, Dial'n'Charge on 4927 4111 and online at http://www.seeitlive.com.au