Bully victim’s show of hope

Down by the old school yard: Libby Montilla shows some of the moves he will make when performing in The Yard. Picture: Gary WarrickEIGHTEEN-year-old Penrith dancer Libby Montilla expresses the pain, and the joy, of his old school days in The Yard.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s a theatrical dance production about life in a schoolyard, comprising 33 students from western Sydney Catholic schools.

“There were times when I was bullied, times when I was the popular person,” Libby said.

He was born in the Philippines and his family settled in Australia when he was two.

Libby completed his HSC at McCarthy Catholic College Emu Plains last year.

“I was bullied a bit because of the way I looked,” he said.

“There’d be racist taunts, such as ‘How’s it going, chicken?’. I ignored it.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t want to get into trouble.”

But nothing could stop Libby enjoying dancing, which he has been doing since the age of four.

“We couldn’t afford lessons, so I watched TV and danced whenever I had the opportunity,” Libby said. “Hip-hop is my favourite, but I like learning other styles.”

He also likes singing and is now enrolled in the Australian Institute of Music.

Libby and the 32 other students worked with choreographer Shaun Parker over three years to produce The Yard.

Shaun Parker was engaged by the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta’s performing arts initiative, Captivate.

“When it all started we were mucking around a bit,” Libby said.

“But Shaun said he liked it and we kept improving our movements.”

Most of the performers come from culturally diverse backgrounds, including recently arrived African immigrants.

Libby said the message he most wants The Yard to give is one of hope.

“Stand up for yourself, lift your head up high,” he said. “You go to school only once in your life.”

The Yard has been nominated for a 2012 Australian Dance Award and has been invited to tour internationally.

It stages at Parramatta Riverside Theatres at 7.30pm next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tickets: riversideparramatta南京夜网.au or 8839 3399.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.