“I am inspired by the beauty of our Earth and the awesome balance we hold with nature. I enjoy learning the deep wisdom that ancient indigenous cultures hold with their strong sense of place and connection to ancestral spirit. The compositional framework of their stories, music and dance guide me to help foster a sense of identity in the youth generation through my teaching in the Arts”.
Jacqui brings over 20 years of professional teaching and performing experience. Essentially trained in classical ballet, jazz, tap and musical theatre in Geelong, she entered Rusden State College in 1982 to study performing arts. After teaching in secondary schools, Jacqui finally pursued her life long dream to study percussion and dance across Africa in 1988. This journey opened a new door to viewing the world and sourcing a rich knowledge of ancient wisdom steeped in a strong identity within the beautiful gestural language of the African rhythm. This fostered Jacqui’s interest in the connection of people and place and drove her to study other indigenous cultures that foster identity in their youth generation. This passion has taken her to study dance and percussion also in Brazil, Nepal, Europe and New Zealand.
Jacqui incorporates her interest in indigenous culture into her teaching practice and encourages her community performers to explore the choreographic and educational value of such diverse dance traditions in order to contextualise their own Australian contemporary dance style. This has led to many exciting consultancies in schools and artist in residency programs as well as major works for example, 1998 “Dreamscape” biannual State School Spectacular at Rod Laver Arena, and “Where journeys Meet” with the Chinese, Indonesian, Greek and African communities for Gasworks Community Arts Park to celebrate Australian Federation, 2001 or the opening ceremony for the Deaf Olympics in 2005. More recently in 2007, “Children of the Blue Light” was Jacqui’s first dance film in the slave dungeons of Cape Coast Castle with Wild Moves, Australia and Asanti dance theatre, Ghana.
In 1991 Jacqui formed Wild Moves International involving performing arts graduates and numerous community as well as professional and indigenous artists. This collaboration initiated the dreaming of the annual Return of the Sacred Kingfisher Festival in 1994 with Wurundjeri Elder, Ian ‘Waran badj’ Hunter, and Thais Sansom from CERES community environment arts park. In 1998 on be half of CERES, Jacqui was awarded the national as well as state award from The National Australia Bank Community Links for contribution to Culture, Heritage and the Environment for her artistic direction of “The Stamping Ground.” Now in its fourteenth year, many schools with Arts practitioners who mentor student teachers are a part of this community celebration of people and place on the banks of the Merri Creek, East Brunswick. In 2003 Jacqui received a nomination from the Head of School for Deakin University Vice Chancellor’s award for Outstanding Contributions to the Community.
Jacqui has been given the ancestral name, Esi Tweba from Swanzy Yard, Elmina, and is the Queen Mother of Asanti dance theatre, Cape Coast, Ghana. Every year in June/July, she takes students and professionals on an intensive teaching and study tour to Ghana. As lecturer in Arts Education at Deakin University, she has been facilitating the integration of African cultural studies as well as community arts in performing arts education since 1989.