By Shelby Brooks
HIDDEN in the ceiling of her early 20th century home in Wonthaggi, Studio Phoenix dance director Naomi Laing has made a mysterious discovery.
The historic home on White Road was undergoing renovations to include a manhole when workers started pulling out handfuls of yellowed paper from the ceiling cavity.
Among the find were dance notes, stitched books, sheet music and drawings of ballet dancers dating as far back as the 1930s.
“It was a bit spiritual, like it was all meant to be,” Naomi said.
For the home to be a dance space today – when it clearly was a space with dance passion 90 years ago – made the find feel full circle, she said.
“It makes it feel like all the hard work was worth it,” she said.
“But it’s so bizarre to me.”
Born and raised in Wonthaggi, Naomi has been a dancer since she was three.
Six years ago, she made the bold decision to quit her corporate job in Melbourne to return to Wonthaggi and follow her passion for dance teaching full-time, though she was teaching dance in the town for many years before that.
The house acts as the home for Naomi, her partner David and children Roko and Mila, as well as the reception for the dance studio they built in the backyard in 2014.
Naomi said she felt drawn to the house when it was on the market.
“It was an old run-down home and we put the love back into it and restored it,” she said.
Naomi is hoping to track down the original owner of the dance material and return it to the family.
Among the pile includes names such as Mrs Yvonne Niemi – Tarwin Meadows, and Mrs Niemi – Tarwin Lower.
“The fact it relates to the studio at all is really surprising and amazing,” her partner David said.
“It’s really weird on so many levels.”