Rowan is well acquainted with mixing with people with disabilities having grown up with older sister Leisa who has Downs Syndrome. Now 45 years old, married with two teenage children, Rowan believes he is a better person having a sister with special needs remind him what is important in life.
Rowan’s strengths are in communication, it is what he is best at, and loves doing. Growing up with Leisa, Rowan firmly believes has helped him to be a better communicator.
He explains that Leisa, and the people that he has met as a part of his involvement as a Board Member with Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre Inc, are also what inspires him.
Sprung!! began in 2012 as an initiative of Paediatrician Robyn Brady. Robyn’s vision was for Sprung!! to honour creative spirit through dance, theatre, integration and collaboration with people of varying abilities and disabilities.
Rowan was inspired by Robyn’s vision and having seen the joy that Leisa gained from music and dance, fully believed that people with disabilities could benefit greatly from being immersed in dance and theatre. One dancer that has stood out for the sheer joy of such immersion is Tallula. Tallula is profoundly deaf, yet when she dances becomes totally ‘one’ with the music.
Rowan found that he, like everyone else in the room, was spellbound watching Tallula dance. The grace of her movements and the confidence she showed on stage. He believes it is moments like this he is at his best because it brings him back to the present where nothing else but what he is watching and experiencing is important.
Like most of us, Rowan is guilty of getting caught up in what needs to be done, the routine of living and working. However, when he watches the dancers on stage all that matters to them is what they are doing right at that very moment, without a care in the world, dancing like no one else is in the room.
In addition to her love of dance and expression, Tallula tutors in Auslan, enjoying the opportunity to teach and share the language she uses every day with others. You can read more about Tallula, and her journey into the world of dance on Australian Story (30 May 2020)
As a member of the Board of Sprung!!, Rowan and his fellow board members are exploring ways to mentor aspiring leaders, like Tallula with a view that they could take on business or creative roles in the organisation, and/or as a stepping-stone to other opportunities.
And in his spare time, Rowan doesn’t dance but he continues to remind himself to ‘live for the moment like no one else is in the room’.
Rowan Keast is the Executive Director at Lambert Group Future Planning.
Read more about Sprung at www.sprung.org.au