STAR: Araya Hammond, 14, plans to audition for a workshop with indigenous dance group Bangarra Dance Company.
STAR: Araya Hammond, 14, plans to audition for a workshop with indigenous dance group Bangarra Dance Company.

Araya's love of dance reignited

COMPETING in the Aboriginal Model Search has reignited Araya Hammond's love of dance, and she now hopes to audition for a workshop with the Bangarra Dance Company.

Araya, 14, from Tewantin, was a finalist in the Indigenous Connections Aboriginal Model Search, which saw her jetted off to Sydney last weekend with her mum for the nationals.

While she wasn't crowned the winner, Araya received much positive feedback for one of her performances - a contemporary dance to Sia song Breathe Me.

"My dance was about our ancestors had to do a lot for us to be here now for us to have this opportunity," Araya said.

"I feel good I got the message through."

Araya's mum Judy said many people were moved by her performance.

"People came up to Araya and me, and said 'your daughter's powerful, I had tears in my eyes'," Judy said.

"They could relate to the pain she portrayed, but also the celebration that 'here we are, we're powerful people and we're celebrating'."

The dance was co-choreographed by Araya and local dance teacher Sienna Gelavis, from Noosa Professional Dance Academy.

Now Araya has her sights set on auditioning for Rekindling, a youth program that aims to inspire pride, kinship and strength in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through a series of dance and culture workshops with teachers and elders.

Judy said the program would be a great opportunity for Araya to connect with other indigenous young people and learn about her family history.

"The program focusses on her learning about her culture," Judy said.

"It's about getting young people to feel connected.

"Araya's learnt about where her mob's from, the Gungarri and Kamalaroi people.

"Being with mob when she was modelling, she was much more confident. She shone and her personality came through. I was so proud of her."

The audition is held on February 22 in Charleville. 

Judy and Araya would like to thank Tigerlilly in Noosa Heads for supplying a dress for Araya to wear during the modelling finals.


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