Bangarra Dance Theatre is one of Australia’s leading performance arts companies, and beginning in June, they will tour Australia with the brand new show Bennelong.
Under the directorship of Stephen Page and Philippe Magid, Bangarra continues to break new ground in modern dance and this new performance promises to be both poignant and provoking to a 21st century audience.
Highlighting the life of Woollarawarre Bennelong and the people of the Eora nation, the show Bennelong will explore the curiosity and remarkable diplomacy of the man that allowed a community to survive the clash of cultures that was “first contact”, and the ultimate relationships that were cultivated with the British settlers.
“Bangarra’s backbone lies in its ability to carry the power of Australia’s first cultures – blending old with new – and embracing the diversity and strength of our people”, says artistic director Stephen Page.
In its 28th year, Bangarra continues to astound audiences around the world with its spellbinding fusion of traditional Australian culture and contemporary dance. Each of the formally trained dancers represents the very best of Australia’s talent, all with a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. The performances themselves are stunningly rich in Aboriginal history, steeped in the stories that founded this nation, transforming the narratives and juxtaposing historical events with the current climate that is Australian life today.
This year will be significant for Bangarra, says Page;
“I’m really looking forward to cultivating our storytelling in the studio and above all, sharing it nationally and internationally with Australia’s finest artists by my side”.
The Page family has been integral to the foundation of Bangarra and brought much of its critical success. In 2008 Stephen Page was named NSW Australian of the Year, and in 2016 he received the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award. Last year, the company suffered a heart-breaking blow following the unexpected death of acclaimed musical director, and brother of Stephen, David Page, who composed for Bangarra and many international events including the Opening Ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games.
“2016 has been challenging, but our art form is a powerful medicine and it has helped us to heal. We will have a special celebration of our brother David Page’s life at the Sydney Opera House in June.”
“The company’s strength is its capacity to create inspiring and positive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences for all,” says executive director Philippe Magid. “2017’s footprint provides us with incredible opportunities to connect with all corners of the country, with one of our biggest years of creation and delivery on record.”
“The company’s strength is its capacity to create inspiring and positive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences for all”
Magid is not exaggerating. Fresh from their recent regional tour with the award winning Terrain, exploring the fundamental connection Aboriginal peoples have to the land, conceptualized through references to one of the world’s only untouched natural waterways, Lake Eyre; the company has bold plans for the rest of the year. In October they will also embark on their 25th international tour to Europe, with a week’s residency in Germany’s own legendary dance house Berliner Festspiele, and more dates are to be confirmed in August.
The theatre will also hold a series of community nights across the country specifically dedicated to Aborignal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a way of connecting with those who share its culture and history.
Tickets are now on sale for Bennelong and Ones Country, and a world premier at Sydney’s Carriageworks is slated for November 2017. Head to https://www.bangarra.com.au for booking.