15 October 2010

The Power of Story

Way back in July, we Onions gathered downstairs in the large (cold) book-lined room* in the House and were treated to an all-singing, all-dancing presentation by the delightful Boori Monty Pryor. The subject of this wonderful performance was the hot-off-the-presses book, Shake a Leg by Boori and Jan Ormerod.

And yes, dear readers, there was audience participation. After explaining the story of each dance, Boori had us all up shake-a-legging; clapping and foot-stomping, branch-shaking and cheering as he guided us through the dances - each one developed to communicate ways to find food or avoid dangers, such as crocodiles or the black and yellow bee, which unlike the native bee, has a sting in its tail.
'Because different mobs speak different languages those boys needed to make up a warning dance to tell others about this new stinging bee.'
We were all a little hesitant about the dancing at first, but we soon found our rhythm as Boori showed us how each dance so beautifully illustrated the power of story: the sense of connection and communication and life and respect and the spirits of all living things and the importance of heritage and keeping it alive through storytelling.**

Shake a Leg is now out in the world and has had joyous all-singing, all-dancing launch events in Townsville, Melbourne and Fremantle.

It's a wonderfully contemporary celebration of food, dance, storytelling, cultural understanding and the secret of pizza! It so captured the imagination of one of our teacher reviewers that she not only wrote this fabulous review, she was also inspired to make this very impressive crocodile pizza. Om nom. Pizza.***

And while we can't offer you a taste of the actual crocodile pizza, we can offer you a taste of the actual book. Herewith an extract we prepared earlier.

*You can get a (figurative) peek into this room over here where you will also get a sneak peek into other (not-so) sekrit Onion business.
** Which in turn reminded us of this article by Christos Tsiolkas in the Guardian. It's the story he told at the Gala Night of Storytelling that celebrated the opening of the Wheeler Centre - and while it doesn't quite have the same power in print than it had the night he spoke it aloud to a pin-drop quiet full-house of listeners at the Melbourne town hall, it's still wonderfully moving.
*** And pizza can very often be an excellent substitute for cake.

1 comment:

Sarah Billington said...

:) Thanks for the link! Sorry I spilled your sekrits. I'll clean it up later.