[supplied by Bangarra]
In 2019, Bangarra Dance Theatre celebrates its landmark 30th anniversary season with Bangarra: 30 years of 65,000 years; a stunning display of contemporary dance theatre and an extensive national tour to every Australian capital city.
As Australia’s only major performing arts company with its origins in the land, Bangarra is inspired by 65,000 years of culture and the continual evolution of Indigenous storytelling.
Under the inspirational and award-winning artistic direction of Stephen Page, Bangarra strives to share and maintain the cultural integrity and spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions, combining it with contemporary expressions of dance and music.
Bangarra announces triple-bill program and national tour
Now entering its third decade, the company will deliver a unique three-part program that conveys the breadth and diversity of the world-class dance ensemble. As the company continue its journey following Dark Emu (2018) and Bennelong (2017), this is the most ambitious touring schedule Bangarra has committed to in its 30-year history. Proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from all over Australia come together as a creative clan to harness a shared spirit and deliver a program representative of the world’s stage and the company’s best work.
Frances Rings’ Unaipon (Clan, 2004), a monumental work in Bangarra’s repertoire, will be restaged to mark this significant anniversary in recognition of the talent that has come through the company. Celebrating the remarkable journey of David Unaipon (1872-1967) from the shores of Lake Alexandrina within the Ngarrindjeri nation to his place on the Australian fifty-dollar note, Unaipon is an exhilarating exploration of a man fascinated with science and the great philosophies and cultures of the world. Through her own unique language, choreographer Frances Rings presents a rich dance portrait of the man who made the connection between aerodynamics and the flight pattern of the boomerang, and between his own cultural traditions and those of all men.
Testament to the strength of the company in this milestone year, Bangarra will, for the first time, present the work of an international guest artist with acclaimed Czechoslovakian choreographer Jiří Kylián’s Stamping Ground. In 1980, Jiří Kylián – who was then the Artistic Director of the Nederlands Dans Theater – attended a gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, North East Arnhem Land. His encounters during this visit were highly inspiring and highlighted the universal essence and power of the traditional dances of Australia’s First People. The experience led to the creation of one of Kylián’s defining ballets, which was last performed in Australia by Nederlands Dans Theater in 1986.
Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page has long wanted to remount these works and believes the prospect of two worlds coming together with Stamping Ground is an exciting one.
“Jiří and Fran are two wonderful creators, and our 30th program is the perfect time to share these stories. I commissioned Fran to create Unaipon back in 2004 when I was the Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival. It was her first major full work; a story of her own Country and people - her sister Gina, also Bangarra alumni, had shared the story with Fran and supported her in the creation of this work.”
“The idea of Stamping Ground coming back to the culture that blew the first breath into it is quite amazing and something that likely won’t happen again. When I first heard of Jiří’s work in Australia in 1984-1985, something resonated with me. I was still studying at NAISDA, pre-Bangarra, and knew that something like this had never happened before. The choreography will be challenging, as our dancers will need to bring their own spirit to the story and connect with Jiří’s vision and impressions.”
Rounding out the program, the company will perform a powerful collection of dance stories from the company’s 30-year history. Curated by Stephen Page and Bangarra's Head of Design Jacob Nash, the performance draws on stories and songlines from all over Australia. It is a celebration of the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, embracing the diversity and inspiration that comes from our connection to Country.
Bangarra’s Australia wide tour will commence at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Audiences will be able to experience the internationally acclaimed dance theatre company and the power, artistry and passion of the country’s most outstanding dancers at Australia’s most iconic venue. After its Sydney season, Bangarra: 30 years of 65,000 yearswill tour to Canberra, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart.
To begin the year, Bangarra will bring its monumental production Bennelong to regional Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory, as part of a five-stop tour across Australia through February and March. Following the extraordinary success of Bennelong’s premiere season in 2017, and a sold-out season at Adelaide Festival in 2018, the production is regarded by many as the strongest and most compelling work to have emerged from the company.
Tickets for Bangarra’s national tour go on sale to the general public at 10am on Tuesday 29 January.
For more information and tickets, please visit https://www.bangarra.com.au/whatson/tickets
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