Grey Panthers 2012
In 2012 a group of Grey Panthers were joined by two men for the Tracks’ Darwin Festival work Eight to Eighty - The Architecture of Age in a section especially about 60 - 80+ year old people. One of these men has stayed on as a regular Grey Panther, our first permanent male participant. This group also performed promotional sections of the work for the Darwin Festival’s lunchtime mall performances. We also taught the rest of the Panthers ‘Ballin’ the Jack’ from this show.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Panthers, with two guests from Canberra, performed in a new work - 'Water Ballet', created by David McMicken and performed for the Darwin Festival’s Pool Party at the Wave Pool, a large community event with a variety of guest performers.
“Busby Berkley makes it’s way to Darwin in the form of the Grey Panthers. Their sarongs and flowery lei's added a great deal of colour to their hilarious water ballet performed in the shallows of the wave pool.”
Regular one-off performances continued: Portrait of a Senior Territorian ('You Make Me Feel So Young', 'That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp'), Ausdance Expo and Seabreeze Festival ('Cabaret'), Palmerston Senior’s Week, Darwin High School Fundraiser (new work 'Bolero' by Jess Devereux), and guest performers for the Darwin Festival television commercial.
Joanna Noonan, Jess Devereux and David McMicken
Lucy Aylett, Carmel Alderson, Judith Allen, Hilary Bassett , Darryl Butler, Vilaisan Campbell, Bette Chapman, Kay Brown, Diane Dibbins, Marge Duminski, Liz Gammon, Ellen Hankin, Jan Hastings, MaryAnn Hinton, Val Hristova, Marg Lee, Janis Lewis, Ann Lilley, Lillian Mann, Linda Mansour, Helen Mannion-Esparon, Judy Markwell, Judy McKerr, Dianne Mount, Patricia O’Neill, Judi Samuels, Jenni Sanderson, Shirley Somers, Janine Sutter, David Turbayne, Antonietta Vanzella, Gwen Varney, Punny Vegter, Maria Vlastuin, and Mavis Waddell
Artistic Co Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Susan Congreve
Administrator: Gail Evans
Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Dance Animateur: Jessica Devereux
Bookkeeper: Heather Van Anholt
Committee Members: (Chair) David Taylor, (Vice-Chair) Jill MacAndrew , (Treasurer) Glenn Bernardin, (Secretary/Public Officer) Michael Grant (Ordinary Committee Members) Ken Conway, , Stephanie Cvirn, Nick Papandonakis (Ex-Officio Members) David McMicken and Tim Newth
Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Paul Wan, Ippei Okazaki
Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory
“What does one say about working with a group like the Grey Panthers. My first experience was working on the Old Spice Club Cabaret, from rap to tap, and I was amazed that these women did what they did. Singing, tapping, ballroom dancing, jitterbug and jive, writing, roller skating, even giving rap dancing and a spin on the floor a good go.
At that stage of my life I was 33 and I found the idea that once you were over 50 you were a senior rather confronting. However I really had no thoughts of myself becoming 50.
Now having worked with this group for over 21 years, and alongside another seniors group of Warlpiri ceremonial women dancers from Lajamanu, I have found a clear pathway into my own future. A state of ageing with vigour, of having something to say and being unafraid to continually do new things. A place where experience flows into wisdom, where the past provides a future, where acceptance of difference thrives.
Dancing for me has always been something that physically makes me feel good while giving my brain a jolly good nudge. Seeing that this activity can and does continue into times where my own silver threads are becoming more numerous, I find great comfort.
Seeing the support and care these women give to each other has been great. So many of us do not have family with us in the Territory and we make our own families. I am not sure if a man needs quite so many mothers, but the variety sure keeps me on my toes.
I am very proud to be a part of this ongoing experience called the Grey Panthers. I love that it is dance that keeps them together, that they are committed to a weekly class and the many performances, that some magic ingredient is working. I don’t like to mess with the magic.
Now that I am over 50 myself, now that some of the women are more like older sisters, now that we have a man in the group and I have to remind myself to add “and Gentleman” on the end of every request, now I find the group as a place I really want to be, where my experience is slowly becoming wisdom. I thank these women and gentleman for providing me with the chance to become more of myself.” David McMicken