WHEN she was in Year 12 at Mirani State High School, Yolanda Lowatta didn't know what she wanted to do.
She went along to a career expo, where she learnt about and later applied to study at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts.
Now 23, Ms Lowatta is a member of Australia's most respected indigenous dance theatre group, Bangarra.
Last month she travelled abroad for the first time for performances in Istanbul and Paris.
"It was very surreal, I had to keep reminding myself where I was," she said.
"It made me really appreciate what I have here in Australia."
She will return to Mackay, where most of her family and extended family live, for a concert this month.
"I'm really looking forward to it, to go back home and show everyone what I've been doing. I haven't been home in a while," she said.
Ms Lowatta's family is from Yam Island and Murray Island in the Torres Straits.
Ms Lowatta had done traditional indigenous dance, but didn't begin to fuse it with contemporary dance styles until beginning college.
"We did Torres Strait Islander dancing at functions, like at family weddings and birthday parties... it's a celebratory kind of thing," she said.
Mr Lowatta said she loved the theatre-style performance Bangarra allowed.
"It's all the storytelling, playing different characters... I think for me it's not just dancing," she said.
When: October 28.
Where: Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre Auditorium.
Tickets: MECC box office or www.mackay tix.com.au.
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