She’s only 19 but this Natasha May from Tennant Creek is about to make her debut splash in Melbourne this weekend as part of Finucane & Smith's Glory Box La Revolucion.
Australian Stage Online had a few questions for her about her move from Desert Harmony Festivals to the Finucane & Smith Caravan Burlesque juggernaut, to perform something entirely her own: a dance combining her own cultural moves, hip hop, vogue and Azealia Banks’ Heavy Metal and Reflective.
Tell us about your act?
My first performance with Finucane & Smith was in Tennant Creek alongside another talented dancer whose name is James Welsby.
James and I pieced together a dance using Vogue technique. After arriving in Melbourne and entering the amazing Spiegeltent where the show is taking place, I feel inspired to use what James and I created as a base, and create something new and fresh for the stage.
How did you come to be “discovered” by Finucane & Smith?
It was through Barkly Arts, through their artistic director Kathy Burns. She told me that a group of professional dancers were going to teach cabaret workshops and performances as part of Desert Harmony Festival. We’d done cabarets before in Tennant Creek – but I wanted the chance to learn. I didn’t even know exactly what a cabaret was – other than dark, gothic, and mysterious. People dressed in black with red lips, and people did short small acts. That’s basically all I knew about the cabaret world. After seeing these guys, who take small acts and make them into big amazing performances, I feel lucky to be asked to perform again with F&S.
What are your greatest strengths as a performer?
What I feel as one of my strengths when these guys came to Tennant Creek – I hadn’t done a show in about two years – but you know when you go back to the gym and feel that muscle memory? I had to get back into it and find ME. In a way. WHO I was as a performer.
Being on stage, particularly with Finucane & Smith it was... well I wasn’t nervous, it felt like natural, second nature, but being on stage with these guys, it felt like belonging. Even though it’s been so long I didn’t feel nervous or scared. It was a new experience that literally unlocked this area I haven’t shown anyone. One of my strengths is that from my other performances is never to freeze up or freak out if you mess up during a show. You go back on, and you do it, and you redeem it, and people will never notice if you keep going and just goes with the flow.
After not being on stage for a while, I’m able to get back on the horse and keep going. I’ll continue on.
Natasha’s background is Warramungu/Mungu Mungu parttata. Her Mother is Warramungu from Central Australia and her Father is Larrakia from the Top of Australia.
How (if at all) does your Indigenous heritage inform your work?
Being a performer is in my blood. Dancing and music are in my culture, it comes down from a line of tradition.
Who do you like to see perform? Why?
I love to watch my close friend Nicole Lamb perform. I met her when she came to Tenant Creek in 2009, she came to do workshops at the school, and that was the moment I connected with dance. It was fun and exciting and since then I have performed with her and assisted her with workshops at every opportunity I get.
I’ve watched all of her Episodes on So You Think You Dance and it’s just great seeing her doing all different genres. It’s inspiring seeing someone I know personally, who is so laidback yet professional when it comes to dance.
Her dances are part of who she is, she is living her dream.
What/who has influenced you most so far?
I would say that Nicole Lamb who is one of my closest friends and sister has inspired me the most. She has mentored me from the beginning of my life as a dancer.
Have you had any “scary moments” in performance so far?
One of the scariest moments I have experienced in dance would be now because there is a feeling of the unknown which make things as exciting as it is scary!
Finucane & Smith's Glory Box La Revoluciόn is now playing at the Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston St, Collingwood, until September 13, 2015. Further details www.finucaneandsmith.com