Nanby Batenburg

Since I arrived in the Northern Territory in 1973, I have enjoyed the lifestyle, space, climate, people and colours of this unique place. Living mostly in the ‘Top End’ in Darwin and Arnhem Land, for more years than I care to admit, I was an Early Childhood, multi-age classroom teacher, Teacher of Exemplary Practice (TEP) and Project Manager / curriculum officer, working for the NT Department of Education, Employment and Training.

I started my teaching career at Umbakumba and Maningrida, in particular, but have travelled extensively throughout the NT, personally and professionally.I am now studying at Queensland University of Technology, as an external, part-time student (so I might complete my studies in the next twenty years or so!!).

I met and married my husband of 32 years at Maningrida, in the middle of Arnhem Land, and our three children have now flown the nest, with two working in Darwin and a daughter living and working in Sydney. I am Canadian by birth, and Australian by choice, but come from a loving – and large – Ukrainian and Russian family. I love Skype for the ability to chat online with family, friends, interstate and international clients: the world really is a much smaller place with such wonderful technology.

I have always had an interest in celebrancy, and after the changes to the Marriage Celebrancy program in 2003, I completed the Certificate IV module necessary for registration as a ‘fit and proper person’ with the Federal Attorneys General Marriage Celebrant section in Canberra, ACT. I was registered in 2006, fulfilling a long-held dream of mine to engage with people to create the dream ceremonies that they envisaged.

While completing the necessary module, I was fortunate enough to meet four wonderful women, three of whom also became registered celebrants (Marika McKenzie, Yvonne Falckh and Bilawara Lee). Together, we are the founding members of NT Celebrants.

I also developed my own celebrancy business, Dream Dancer Celebrations. The name came to me one night, when I woke up from a vivid dream, complete with words to a poem and images of Dream Dancers. It somehow seemed very appropriate, as one of my key aims is to collaborate with clients to produce the ceremony of their dreams…

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The Dream Dancers
Behold! The Dream Dancers come,
Leading from the mists of time…
They trumpet their arrival
With a dance of rhythm and rhyme.

They come from distant places
And of times we cannot see,
They reconcile the present
With the future yet to be…

And watch! The twirling dervish,
And the leaping in the air,
The communion with the spirits
As they hear what we can’t hear.

They signal a creation –
Of hope and yearning dream,
With visions of the earnest soul
We try – yet might just be.

The music plays but only they
Can hear the silent tune.
They dance and touch and shut their eyes
As they weave their magic runes.

Silent cymbals herald
That their mission is now done,
They leave their hope of the future
That the best is yet to come.

As swirling mists surround,
They leave their music and their dance
For we mortals of the mundane,
To learn to take that chance…

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