Thomas E.S. Kelly is an emerging Indigenous dancer/choreographer who has just returned to the Gold Coast to establish Karul Projects; an Indigenous Performing Arts Company.
“I started dancing from a young age. My first job was actually with the traditional dance group at Currumbin Sanctuary. I followed through with it whilst at high school and then successfully auditioned for NAISDA Dance College, haven’t looked back ever since. Dance for me has always been a way to connect to my culture, whether contemporary, hip hop, cultural or any other genre, every time I plant my foot I can connect to my ancestry,” said Thomas.
Thomas is one of the 12 local artists that are receiving funding and support from HOTA’s Creative Development Program. He applied for funding towards the second stage of development of his project SILENCE, a contemporary dance and percussion work which is also supported by Blakdance, the peak body for Indigenous dance in Australia.
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“SILENCE is about filtering through all the noise that pollutes everyone’s lives on a daily basis. That noise can be so overwhelming that you miss some of the important issues. Issues that need to be heard, read and discussed, issues for change. SILENCE is exploring an important topic that has constantly been put on the table to only be removed. An important issue for the indigenous community that is constantly trying to be hidden. Karul Projects is bringing this issue and placing it back on the table through our art form and making it a topic for discussion.”
Thomas is tight-lipped about the issue they’ll be exploring in SILENCE – he wants people to arrive with no expectation and see if they connect with the work and the issue he’s exploring.
“The creative development program allowed us to continue exploring and developing this work. It had allowed us to spend time with a special group of collaborating and contributing artists all based in Queensland. That’s the important thing when making a work, have time and support and that’s what this program offered,” he said.
Thomas is preparing this work for an Industry showing in November.
“SILENCE will be Karul Projects first work made since relocating to the Gold Coast earlier this year. We hope to premiere this work sometime next year and use this platform for us to bring these issues to the table, to begin a relationship with the Queensland Community and to represent in the performing arts sector as a First Nations lead company based in South East Queensland.”
You can read more about Thomas and his work on his website.
HOTA’s inaugural Creative Development Program is supported by City of Gold Coast.