We’ve just returned from visiting Bidjara Country / Charleville in the rural Murweh Shire, 8hrs west of Brisbane as part of the Queensland Music Trails.
Everybody NOW’s Co-Artistic Director Bec Reid and Producer Pru Wilson shared some of their highlights and stories from the road.
Q: Tell us what Everybody NOW! did with the Queensland Music Trails this year?
Pru: We facilitated a joyous project as part of The Big Base Party in Charleville combing all the things we love here at Everybody NOW- moving, dancing, meeting local legends and showcasing their incredible talents.
Bec: We arrived a few days before the fantastic bands, The Pacific Belles and CW Stoneking to facilitate workshops and host a participatory dancing experience with Ray and Chrissy from Swing On In and our sax player Josh Appleby. The stars of the show though, were two local groups, Charleville Dance House and Healthy Ageing.
Q: What was your highlight of the event?
Pru: When the humans from Healthy Ageing rose from their thrones (they had previously done a gorgeous, seated dance) to join the dancers from Charleville Dance House for the finale of the show!
Bec: Same! The children from Charleville Dance House and the Healthy Ageing participants dancing together.
Q: Why do you love dancing in communities with people of all ages, all bodies, all experiences?
Pru: Moving is such an important thing to do, no matter the age, body & experience – we can all do it in our own unique way! Seeing the engagement and smiling faces of people enjoying themselves is what I love the most.
Bec: It’s classless and is a way of communicating that doesn’t rely on spoken word, so dancing bodies can speak and meet in much more nuanced ways.
Q: Music and Dance are a match made in heaven, right? What did you love about bringing those two things together within the Queensland Music Trails?
Pru: Absolutely! It was amazing to bring the dance aspect to the Big Base Party. I believe dancing to live music makes people engage in a different way. Sometimes, we just need to be extended a hand, or given permission to move our bodies in new ways. That’s what I think we [Everybody NOW!] were able to bring.
Bec: It was an easy way to highlight the indelible links between moving and music with a lovely balance of celebrating locals – We love when people can see themselves ‘on stage’. Also, our collaborators from Swing On In are so knowledgeable with their expertise of music and dance from the WWII era, we were able to really place the dance within the site of the WWII Secret Base airplane hangar. I think that really added to the overall experience.
Q: What is so special about working in regional and remote places?
Pru: Having the opportunity to meet and share with people we wouldn’t usually get to spend time with.
Bec: You can learn the most about yourself and the culture(s) you choose to participate in.
Q: If we visit the Murweh Shire what’s your hot tip on something delicious to eat or drink or somewhere special to visit?
Pru: The Blue Gum café! If it’s for a breaky wrap (without bacon for me). Charlotte’s Nest – for a coffee and relax in the back garden. There is also a wonderful selection of earrings made in Charleville in the different stores in town – I suggest popping into them all!
Bec – Yep. The Blue Gum café does a mean fresh salad sandwich and they have an original Slush Puppy Machine. Frasers Emporium is the home to a fantastic dressmaking and fabric collecting shop, lovingly brought back to life by a local seamstress and dance Mum! #dancemumsforthewin
Thanks for having us Charleville! We are so grateful for the opportunities to make art with communities right across this great state and we loved being a part of The Queensland Music Trails.
Make sure you follow us online and sign up to our enews to find out where we’re off to next, or perhaps bring us to your community.