MULTICULTURAL DANCERS: Philippino dancers Cecilia Wilcox, Evee Freney, Ofelia Abbes, Lourees Norman, Piler Ellis and Monina Davis make up the Isis Multicultural Group.
MULTICULTURAL DANCERS: Philippino dancers Cecilia Wilcox, Evee Freney, Ofelia Abbes, Lourees Norman, Piler Ellis and Monina Davis make up the Isis Multicultural Group. TAHLIA STEHBENS

Ladies still dancing after 23 years

DANCING is an art anyone can do, but for this group of women, it's more than just a choreographed routine.

Monina Davis and the Isis multicultural dance group have been performing at the Childers Festival for 23 years, and are showing no signs of slowing down.

"We don't have choreographer or anything like that," Ms Davis said.

"If someone knows something, a particular dance move, we just add it in.

"Our group started at the Childers Festival in 1995 and we have been here every year since."

The dedicated women practise every Sunday without fail, with one lady travelling from Bundaberg each week to attend the class.

Their dresses are inspired by strong Filipino women such as Maria Clara, a novel heroine who became the traditional feminine ideal for women throughout the country, and Imelda Marcos, who was the widow of former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos.

"We have dances that tell stories," Ms Davis said.

"The southern part of the Philippines is a Muslim country, so that dance is from Mindanao, it's a Muslim dance," she said.

"Then we will dance the Philippine folk dance. In the folk dance there's a story about kakawate, which is a medicinal tree and we will be holding a branch of a tree, that can cure some illness in the Philippines. We have created some actions to make a dance out of it.

"The second dance is called a surtido, which is a mixture of dance movements like the waltz, and is a take of the bayanihan dancers that go around the world. We copied that style of dancing.

"The last dance we perform is the horikoshi, that is our Filipino version of ballroom dancing, and then the last dance we're performing the Hawaiian dance."

Ms Davis said five of them came from different areas of the Philippines, so much that they spoke their own dialect, but dance is the one thing that breaks all barriers.

"As a whole we speak Tagalog which is the international language of the Philippines," she said.

"In their area they have a different style of dancing, so we adapt it and do it all together.

"In the Philippines we're rich in culture and we always love dancing, we always communicate through dance.

"We gain friends through dancing and that's how we started here in Childers so many years ago."


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