On-the-ball dancer has the AFL world at his feet
After excelling as a dancer on the Schools Spectacular stage, Braithan Kemble today left for the world stage representing Australia on a junior AFL international tour.
A Macquarie Fields High Year 10 student, Braithan, is a member of the elite NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company, which is mentored by the world-renowned Bangarra Dance Theatre.
The nimble-footed 16-year-old also stands out on the footy field enough to be invited to join a 42-member squad of some of the best emerging AFL talent from across the country on the Australian Wanderers tour.
Heading for France, Ireland and the United Kingdom is another step towards Braithan securing his dream of being signed as a professional AFL player.
AFL is also providing avenues for Braithan to express his profound pride in his Aboriginal culture. He plays the didgeridoo regularly at games, including the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round, as well as dancing and offering an Acknowledgement of Country at events and games.
“I do so much with my culture and it means so much,” Braithan said. “I am honoured.”
The skillsets of elite AFL and dance have much in common but Braithan’s love of dance took him by surprise when he attended a workshop with Bangarra just “to get a free day off school”.
“I instantly fell in love with it,” Braithan said.
“I got selected to be in the dance company and that’s when it started to fall into place and I realised I liked dancing and I was pretty good at it.
“I take a lot of pride in my culture and what I do with it, especially the traditional dances. It is such a privilege.”
In his second year with the dance company Braithan has two more years to build his skills in dance as he works towards his Higher School Certificate and his aspirations of a place in the AFL draft.
At this year’s Schools Spectacular, Braithan and the dance company performed two dances: the ethereal classical piece ‘Religion’ from their repertoire developed with Bangarra, and the upbeat contemporary track ‘2000 and Whatever’ in which they led a dance ensemble made up of Aboriginal dancers from across NSW.
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