2019 is Bangarra Dance Theatre’s 30th anniversary and the company is celebrating with a triple bill, entitled “Bangarra: 30 years of sixty five thousand”, referring to the 65 000 years of Indigenous culture and storytelling from which the company draws inspiration.
The tour schedule is Bangarra’s most ambitious to date, and takes in every Australian capital city. The three part program includes works by Frances Rings and Jiri Kylian, and a collection of stories curated by Stephen Page.
In recognition of the talent that has come through the company, Frances Rings’ 2004 work Unaipon (Clan) will be restaged. Unaipon celebrates the life of David Unaipon (1872-1967), whose journey took him from the shores of Lake Alexandrina in the Ngarrindjeri nation, to his place on the Australian fifty dollar note. In Unaipon, 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 people.
For the first time, Bangarra will present the work of an international guest artist, with Jiri Kylian’s Stamping Ground. In 1980, Kylian, who was then artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), attended a gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, North East Arnhem Land. He was inspired during the visit by the essence and power of the traditional dances of Australia’s Indigenous people. It was this experience that led to the creation of Stamping Ground, which was last performed in Australia by NDT in 1986.
The third work on the program, to make fire, is a collection of highlights from Bangarra’s 30 year back catalogue, curated by the company’s artistic director and choreographer, Stephen Page. The selected works span Australian history, from ancient to contemporary times, speaking of tradition ceremonies and pratices, great artists and leaders, land and Country, survival and hope.
“Bangarra: 30 years of sixty five thousand” opens in Sydney June 13. Between July and October, the show will tour to Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart.
More info: www.bangarra.com.au
Pictured top: Patrick Thaiday in 'Unaipon'. Photo: Danielle Lyonne.