The Journey of Wala Dance - connecting, expressing and empowering during Covid 2020.
In March 2020 we had just embarked on a national tour, supporting our singing, song writing, producing First Nations Queens, The Merindas, on stage for their first album launch and tour 'We Sing Until Sunrise'.
Excited for a big 2020, we had kicked off the tour in Sydney, then Adelaide Fringe Festival. When we returned to Melbourne for Brunswick Music Festival, Covid- 19 restrictions saw the music and entertainment industry come to a huge halt with gigs cancelling one by one. Gold Coast, Perth, Broome and Darwin were all on the horizon then we found ourselves at home processing the huge impacts of the global pandemic.
Like everyone who's lives changed dramatically, it took some adjusting, and we were both grateful to have work across education and community that were still active as we slowly adapted to home life. Eager to connect with people, move and dance, Wala Dance was birthed in April 2020. We kicked off offering free Wednesday lunch time and Friday knock off dance sessions on Zoom with our first session teaching choreography for a dance challenge to celebrate the release of our sisters, The Merindas, single 'I feel it'.
'I Feel It Dance Challenge'.
We were greeted weekly by women and their children across the country and seas including New Zealand, Canada and the States, connecting for some dance and fitness at home. We dabbled in our Zumba fitness instructor skills and even joined Tik Tok as Wala Dance to share some of our own and others dances, even entertaining women in a quarantine hotels!
As the months rolled out other countries and Australian state restrictions began to ease, we found our family getting smaller, but even more needed. Victoria and Melbourne in particular went from Stage 3 to 2 to 3 and to 4, for what feels like forever. We found our rhythm offering freestyle dance vibes every Saturday morning, connecting on both Zoom and Instagram live.
Now in October, we are (touch wood) seeing numbers go down in Victoria and schools returning with the hope that we can gather in person soon, so we decided to call our final online dance and movement class for October 10th.
So thankful for City of Melbourne, Yarra City Council and Creative Victoria who believed in what we were offering and granted us some small funds to continue our initiative over the months. Yes, we too learnt a lot in this process, including grant writing.
But our main lesson was in the importance of doing what you love and trusting in your passions and ideas. If your intentions are pure and you have something good to offer, the people will come. We truly believe and are thankful for that lesson.
We are so proud of both our own commitments showing up to offer this service weekly and of all our women and children who too showed up despite all the personal battles of the rollercoaster that has been 2020.
The shows not over, and we are working on the next initiative to inspire connection, expression and empowerment through movement when the time is right.
For now, looking forward to our final spring party and sending everyone love and healing.
Big hugs, Thara & Tarsh x