Bangarra Dance Theatre has welcomed two new dancers who have joined the company this April.

Chantelle Lee Lockhart is a descendent of the Dharawal and Eora Nation and has joined, maintaining her training after she graduated with a Diploma of Dance from the National College of Dance in 2016.

With connections to the Kunja, Muruwari and Wakka Wakka nation, James Boyd has joined as a Russell Page graduate having recently completed an Advanced Diploma in Dance at the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association.

Mr Boyd said learning the news of being a company dancer for Bangarra was an overwhelming, yet happy experience.

“It came like a shock to me but I was very happy and excited to come on this new journey,” he said.

“I was shocked, like I get to dance with Bangarra? Because it’s been one of my dreams.”

Boyd said his love of dance was ignited when he was six years old after a health scare during childhood.

“When I became really sick with leukemia, everything turned around and then I got more into dancing,” he said.

“My parents were always seeing me down but then when we would do music therapy, I’d be up and like dancing and I think I got into it more and just thought it was a normal thing.

“My sister helped me out to create my first dance in primary school in Newcastle but I think I got more and more into the basic scheme of dancing when I was 12 or 13.”

Through adolescence, Boyd said he kept being drawn back to cultural dance and his own connection to Country.

“Up until 14 and above that’s when I started learning about my culture and getting more into it and I think it helped me to become stronger and understand our lore and kinship and what’s our roles and responsibility to life and to ourselves,” he said.

“My parents and family are so proud and want me to keep pushing forward and find that connection back for us again and for us to sit with Country.

“Country is a beautiful thing and it’s not just about the landscape, it’s about the community, the people, the language stories and making connection with the sunlight, the stars and the land and I always hang on to that.”

Boyd is currently rehearsing for Terrain, a dance exploration of the largest salt lake which explores the power of body and land in one.

Terrain will show in Sydney, Canberra and Queensland in June, July and August.