Shana O’Brien is proud to have lived and grown on Darkinjung land, she is a dancer and graduate of NAISDA Dance College.

Whilst there she had the opportunity of working with choreographers Frances Rings, Raymond Blanco, Vicki Van Hout, Elma Kris, Taiaroa Royal, and Sani Townsend. As well as participating in cultural residencies on Moa Island in the Torres Strait Islands and Nyinyikay in North East Arnhem land.

She has since performed with Wagana Aboriginal Dancers, Jannawi Dance Clan, Erth Visual and Physical Inc. Performed with Atamira Dance company on their remount of Shapeshift by Frances Rings and participated in the Banff Centre Intercultural Indigenous Choreographic lab working with Anishnaabe choreographer Waawaate Forbister. She has seconded with Bangarra Dance Theatre, TasDance, and participated in a Summer Intensive with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company – Israel. In her own making she has found an interest in mixed media works, feeling a pull to explore a variety of art forms, this year she commenced a Bachelor of Visual Arts and finds her inspiration continuously comes from her journey of connecting to country and community.

O’Brien’s latest piece, Waterholes, is a new dance performance that explores the emotion of connecting to those that came before us and the potential that water presents for healing and new life. O’Brien states “I have found that the most important information has come via secret messages from the ancestors. A floating feather, a feeling in the gut, whispers floating on the wind … they have led me to some water holes… They became a kind of sanctuary when the world felt so out of control and unpredictable this year. I knew I could return to this quiet place.”

O’Brien says, “I feel like the strongest story we have to tell is our own, when we make art from our hearts,  connecting into the land, with our ancestors walking beside us, that is the most powerful place to create from.”

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