I took Ella to an Indigenous heritage party in the park yesterday afternoon. We loved it. They had a free jumping castle, patting paddock, games, she did two dot paintings and painted a boomerang and they had performances.
One of the performances that I really enjoyed was an Aboriginal dance group. The 3rd dance they did was about a goanna. So this man with his whole body and face decorated with white paint crawled around like a lizard, very slowly but then he would suddenly run towards the kids on the first row on all fours and monster them threateningly. Presumably like a goanna would.
We were at the other end of the half circle on the lawn from where he started. I was getting my camera ready to take a shot of the dancer when he came closer, but Ella got increasingly worried about him coming towards us. She jumped up and went to stand behind me, but when he was staring at the group of kids next to us, she truly started panicking and started to try to climb onto my back! So there’s me with my fragile camera in one hand, trying to steady Ella with my other. When the goanna man finally turned to us, Ella was pretty much sitting on my shoulders and started screaming!
It was an awkward moment. I had some tears in my eyes from laughing at her overreaction at first, but then I suddenly felt so sorry for her when she panicked like that and didn’t quite know what to do to make her feel safe. The goanna man looked into my eyes and I felt quite ridiculous!
I never got the shot…
When I asked Ella afterwards why she’d been so scared of him, she insisted that she saw the man hurting the people. Poor thing! She now knows that he was just playing, but it wasn’t what I had expected from her first exposure to Aboriginal dancing.