My name is Hartley Williams and I am an Aboriginal person from Noongar nation in Western Australia. I am pleased to write about some of the most memorable events which have enabled me to reflect on the positive aspects of each experience making this article an interesting read for the TV Intimacy magazine readers.
During the year of 1995 and 1996 I lived in the United Kingdom as I was accepted to dance at the London Contemporary Dance School in Dukes Road, Euston which is near Kings Cross. Initially, there were auditions in Australia held in almost every capital city. In Perth, Western Australia, where I am originally from the auditions were held at the King Street Studios. The process of being auditioned were indeed quite interesting as there were a number of auditionees who had various levels of technique either in Contemporary, Ballet and Jazz style.


When we all commenced the auditions, each person was instructed to register for the audition, by having their name ticked off by each of the organisers. Then each person had to take their place on the tarmac in studio. The dance instructor then preceded to start the class with a simple routine. Essentially, the panel who were observing the audition wanted to see what each of of the auditionees could do properly by listening to instructions and moving in sequence to the music.
Following the warm up session, there were some more complicated routines that each auditionee had to complete as part of the evaluation from each of the panel members.
When the routine’s were set you could see many of us figuring out what each of the movements were and dance in either groups or independently, panel members would all look at each dancer and decide whether the participants were up to the London Contemporary Dance School standards. A very exciting time for everyone.
The progressions across the tarquet made each of the dancers quite nervous especially as each of the panel members were watching very closely to sere if each of us dancers were learning the choreography properly.


We all danced the best we all could. What is quite amazing is that each of the dancers were really getting into the choreography and dancing like it was a normal morning class at each of the respective training organisations.
When the music was stopped by the dance instructor, they then said. “Ok, can you all take a seat while we explain what the next stage of the audition process will be.”
The head person of the selection panel then said “Ok, what we will be doing now is asking for each of the dancers to wait for their names to be called then if you could all come into the studio and the panel will ask a series of questions. 


Waiting with anticipation, very nervous and excited – the instructor called my name.


When walking into the studio, the panel said “Ok, Firstly, Thank you for coming to the audition Hartley.  What we would like to know, is how would you raise the funds to fly to London, if you were selected?”


My response was “Well I would write funding applications to see if I could be funded to live and study overseas” The panel then said “You are quite sure that you would be able to raise the funds? Response was “Well I can certainly try”
Then the convenor of the selection panel then said “Hartley we would like to invite you to London to be a dancer with the London Contemporary Dance School, the academic year starts in July 1995 and concludes the following July in 1996. I was so pleased, the excitement of being accepted to dance with an internationally acclaimed dance school was any dancer’s dream come true.
Then the task of contacting everyone and telling them the wonderful news. My partner was the first to hear the wonderful news, he was kind of pleased; for the opportunity.
Family were then told the wonderful news, some were really excited when speaking with each of them and others were quite surprised.
In telling each of my friends and family the news, excitement was increasing.
A dancer who was also accepted to dance at the London Contemporary dance school who specialised in Ballet suggested that we work together to raise the awareness and promote reconciliation for all communities – Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal.As part of the process of raising funds a benefit night was hosted at the Fly by Night club in Fremantle featuring some of the local artists and community leaders. Rehearsals were at the Chrissie Parrot studios on Wellington Street and a colleague of the industry who was a really lovely person to work with suggested that we appear on Commercial Television. Thankfully, a relative of her arranged for us to appear for Channel 7’s Good Morning Perth program. When walking into the studio we were briefed of the processes before being filmed prior to being interviewed by the host of the morning show.
We were so pleased that so many supporters all come together to watch us dance and celebrate unity as part of our message promoting Reconciliation for all Australians, Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal.
1508418038185blob When the day finally come for us to fly to London, I was so amazed as quite a lot of people came to the international airport to say Good bye and wish us well on our journey and new life in London.
Arriving in London was pretty special, customs were very friendly and a colleague who also danced at a training organisation in Sydney, was able to greet me at the airport. When we were able to see each other, we looked at each other and thought, well we made it.
The story of a best mate and I being accepted to dance with the London Contemporary dance school is quite awesome. As I was the first Aboriginal person to ever be accepted at the London Contemporary Dance School, I suggested to my best mate that he also audition as I thought his technique was more advanced than mine. For Contemporary and Ballet, definitely I thought. Then when we had to raise funds I was awarded a Queens Trust Award by the offices which were located on George Street, Perth and when my best mate said how will he raise funds, I suggested that he contact the Australia Council for the Arts plus the Queens Trust Award, as a result my best mate was awarded a Silver Jubilee Award from the offices of Her Majesty, the Queen of England.
When living in London, was able to dance everyday, then I started working at the West End Theatres for the Queens, Lyric, Apollo and Gielguld as Front of House staff.
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Seeing all of LIVE performances each day of Julia McKenzie’s “Communicating Doors” was amazing. Communicating Doors, was one of the more popular of productions, along with Les Miserables and CATS plus Riverdance which was in season at the Hammersmith Theatres.
I was also able to work at the MGM cinemas which was then bought by Virgin Cinemas. I am actually the first Aboriginal person to have ever worked for Virgin as a Company as front of house staff.
Loved these positions very much and learned many wonderful skills which have certainly assisted me in being a performer of 25 years and Director of the Industry.All of the friends who I was able to meet in Earls Court, mean the world to me. One day, I would like to visit the United Kingdom again, I believe many would no longer be living or contactable, nevertheless will still make the effort.
What made the experiences even more wonderful was the house mate who I lived with in Wellesley Avenue, Anglesea Terrace, Hammersmith who was an auto cue specialist of the BBC. Someone who I really love and miss very much even to this day. Our Landlord was a pretty awesome man, quite funny actually, as he enjoyed talking about all of us who lived in his B&B travelers accommodation plus lived with a couple from New Zealand and another friend from Wales.
1508417917840blobWhen the time for us to fly home to Australia, my best mates who I love and miss very much, were able to organise a party for me at Earls Court, which we all really enjoyed.
Driving to the airport in London was one of the most memorable parts of the entire 12 months living in the United Kingdom.
When we started driving from Earls Court, a best mate and his girlfriend who was absolutely amazing said “Ok let’s make sure we get to the Airport in time for the flight!”
As we were driving along the motorway, my best mate said to her partner “Slow down babe, so we make it to the airport – we have plenty of time to get there!” Just as my best mate said this “Her partner lost control of the car” The car swirved inside curve, outside curve turned 120 degree’s before coming to complete halt! “We all looked at each other and said “Did that really happen? Is everyone alright?” Then my best mate said “Quickly, we have to hail a cab so Hartley can get to the airport to catch his flight to Australia”
When arriving at the airport, we were so lucky as they nearly closed the flight to Australia, then the attendant at the check in counter said “Ok, you have a choice, you can either fly via America or South Africa, which would ultimately be cheaper. I said “Well, I have always liked Africa, so I would like to fly via South Africa please”.
When the British Airways flight was making our way to the runway I thought my entire life was in complete disarray. As everything was awesome for the entire 12 months, wonderful friends, expensive phone bills to Australia, working at the west end, Virgin cinemas, dancing at the London Contemporary then we nearly died in the car accident driving from Earls Court to London’s Heathrow airport, what as I recall was supposed to be one of the happiest years of my life. There was no real emotion, as I believe I was still in shock from the near fatal car accident.
Arriving at the airport in South Africa, I was able to disembark from the flight walked inside the terminal then looked for a telephone. Called to a really close friend and said that we nearly died in a car accident – he said “Stay strong mate, then as he said that a young African brother was close to the public phone that I was speaking on came up and said “Are you alright?” “Not really as I nearly died in a car accident on my way home to Australia, and today is my birthday.
I then said to the young African lad, “Would you like to celebrate my birthday with me, I have money so we can have a few drinks and something to eat” The African brother said Yes, so he was able to stay with me for the entire day, until the connecting flight to Perth via Zimbabwe. We were so happy.
When I had to board the flight to Perth, I was so pleased that an African brother and I were able to become friends.
Arriving in Australia, everything was as it always was.
Lesson in life, always be kind to those who you meet, cause one day that person may save your life.
To this day, I thank the Lord above for his LOVE and protection.
Hartley Williams
Recipient of a Queens Trust Award.


 Hartley Williams is a Noongar man who comes from the southern region of Western Australia. Hartley commenced his training with the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association College (N.A.I.S.D.A), completing a Certificate in Dance in 1993. Hartley has studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (W.A.A.P.A) and the London Contemporary Dance School.
Hartley Williams is an all round dancer who has sound knowledge in all styles of dance, Traditional Mainland, Contemporary and Torres Strait Islander. www.descendance.com.au/hartley-williams