May 14, 2014

Bangarra Dance Theatre 2013 Annual Report

We’re pleased to share our 2013 Annual Report with you – now available for viewing and download online HERE.

Experience 2013 as it was for Bangarra in this 8 minute video clip tracking the major events for the Company throughout the year. From Vietnam to Arnhem Land, the Sydney Opera House and Theatre Royal in Tasmania, here is a snapshot.

August 21, 2013

Bangarra is seeking a Head Electrician – APPLICATIONS CLOSED

Bangarra is currently seeking a Head Electrician to join our team. The Head Electrician reports directly to the Production & Touring Manager who in turn reports to the Executive Director.

The Head Electrician will be responsible for planning and implementing all technical requirements relating to the presentation and operation of Bangarra Dance Theatre performances throughout Australia and internationally.

Download the full job description HERE. Applications close 30 August 2013.

August 6, 2013

BANGARRA’S YEAR OF ACHIEVEMENTS RECOGNISED IN A WEEK OF AWARDS

MEDIA RELEASE

Over the past week, the Australian arts industry has recognised the outstanding artistic achievements of Bangarra Dance Theatre and its artists, with four awards across the Helpmanns, Australian Arts in Asia Awards and last night’s Australian Dance Awards.

On Monday July 29 2013, Bangarra Dance Theatre received two Helpmann Awards at the prestigious Sydney Opera House ceremony. Dancer Deborah Brown was awarded the Helpmann for Best Female Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre work for her performance in the 2012 work Terrain. Terrain also received the Helpmann Award for Best Ballet or Dance Work. Artist-in-residence David Page was also nominated for Best Original Score for Terrain.

On Thursday August 1 2013, the inaugural Australian Arts in Asia Awards took place at Luna Park in Sydney, recognising Australian artists who have engaged with Asia and who have contributed to strengthening cultural links between Australia and Asia. Bangarra Dance Theatre performed at the ceremony and received the inaugural Australian Art in Asia Award in the Dance category for their production Spirit and its recent tours to Mongolia, Thailand and Vietnam. Bangarra shared this award with Annalouise Paul for Game On.

Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page said, “These awards are a wonderful affirmation for the company that we are achieving artistic excellence while we pursue the equally important role of building connections. Whether Bangarra is performing on stage at the Sydney Opera House or a theatre in regional Victoria, running an indigenous youth workshop in remote New South Wales or presenting a performance for brand new audiences in Vietnam, the high quality of our work is what helps create meaningful engagement. During our recent South Asian tour of Spirit, audiences were fascinated by Bangarra’s fusion of traditional culture with modern dance theatre. There was an instant connection with the spiritual, grounded nature of Bangarra’s work and they understood the story-telling that strongly influences our productions.’

Last night the annual Australian Dance Awards took place in Canberra. Shane Carroll one of Australia’s most outstanding contributors to dance received the Services to Dance Award. Over the last two years Shane Carroll has overseen the development and implementation of Bangarra’s new youth program Rekindling, designed to connect Aboriginal young people with their culture through story-telling and dance. Rekindling has been successfully established in four communities across New South Wales during 2013 and planning is underway for further communities in New South Wales as well as Queensland next year. Ms Carroll’s expertise has also been felt by independent Aboriginal artists working with an important sector capacity building program supported by Bangarra and the NSW Government Birrang – expanding Aboriginal dance horizons in NSW.

CEO Catherine Baldwin says, “Bangarra recognises the valuable insights and knowledge Ms Carroll brings to these innovative initiatives, working with artists to deliver significant benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Both Birrang and Rekindling programs provide opportunities for dancers to build resilience that supports their professional career development.”

Bangarra Dance Theatre is Australia’s premier national Indigenous performing arts company. Under the brilliant and inspirational artistic direction of Stephen Page, Bangarra has strived to maintain the cultural integrity and spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tradition, combining it with contemporary expressions of stories, dance and music to create unique theatrical experiences, and to deliver these experiences to audiences across Australia and around the world.

March 13, 2013

Dancers’ Blog: From Bremmer Island to Hanoi

It’s a far journey from Northeast Arnhem Land to Vietnam, but within a month we find ourselves here in Hanoi and in a few days, Ho Chi Minh City. From dancing traditional creation stories on the sandy beaches by open fire at Banu Banu (Bremmer Island near Dhalinybuy), our bodies and therefore our spirits find ourselves dancing the same traditional dances for the Vietnamese people. We grew in our cultural knowledge of these dances while spending time with the much loved communities – learning from our cultural tutors, and I felt that the trip enabled us to carry that freshness with us, and truly give to our audiences.

Our days were filled with warm friendliness from the Vietnamese people, during workshops at dance universities in both cities, and also within the theatres during performances. Sharing with other dancers from another culture teaches that communication transcends language alone. We shared the language of dance, and the enthusiasm of creativity. We understood each other in our common passion. Performing for them put the icing on the cake. To witness another dancer from an entirely different culture truly understanding the stories we tell makes it all the more evident that the entire planet is unified, even if we don’t see it sometimes. Spirit truly is a special program, tying together a lot of what makes this company unique, and I feel that it expresses the heart of Bangarra.

One Vietnamese guide shed light on her own experience of attending Spirit in Hanoi, saying that although she has never had the opportunity to visit Australia, she felt that through our performance she was given the chance to see the land, feel the country, its colours, sounds and people.

                                                                                                     Jasmin Sheppard

Image: Female ensemble with Kathy Balngayngu Marika, Spirit, Hanoi Opera House, photo Roger Stonehouse

October 10, 2012

Dancers’ Blog: Reflecting on Mongolia

photo-37

It’s a little late, but an update on our Mongolia tour must be commented on! On arrival at our hotel after dodging potholes and other wild vehicles on the road to the city centre, we were received by a warm welcome by crew from the Arts Council Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar, and quickly settled in for a week in the vibrant city. We were given a day to recuperate and explore the city, and I made use of my first morning in Mongolia by visiting the local Buddhist temple and saying a prayer of thanks to the universe for the opportunity to dance for the Mongols. After talking with the generous women from Arts Council Mongolia, I soon discovered many parallels between their culture and Aboriginal culture also. Here in Mongolia, I believe, we found an audience that, although may speak an entirely different language, connected and understood our culture through a deep sharing of spirit. Our first work day was spent at the University of Arts and Culture where we took workshops in Bangarra repertoire and Yirrikala traditional dance, led by Aunty Kathy Marika. It was a beautiful experience of sharing of cultures and dance style. How lucky we were to also be treated by a showing of their own traditional dance by the students, and also by a precious 80 something lady, clad in traditional dress and emotively moving to the traditional horse head violin. Watching her moved me to tears as I saw her soul extend to us, one with her body and the music.

Our two performances of Spirit were received so well, and we definitely made lasting connections with many people from Ulaanbaatar. Our last free day, spent amongst mountain ranges, rocky hills and vast plains at Terelj national park was a treat for our minds, bodies and spirits, and to perform Spirit again…..well what more could you ask for in a week of work. Bliss. 

Jas

 

October 10, 2012

Dancers’ Blog: reflecting on Mongolia

photo-39

And exhale…I feel as though I can breathe calmly, and normally now. It’s was only two weeks ago that we returned from our excursion to Mongolia, and now as I sit writing this at Brisbane airport on our way home after successfully completing our national tour of TERRAIN, my mind is finally able to process the last few weeks, and I am able to type it into some sort of blog entry.

Three weeks ago to the day, we gathered together as a clan at Sydney international airport for our much anticipated trip to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I was not fully educated on the country, and what we were to expect once we arrived. But what we did find was beautiful, open, friendly people who were so excited and overwhelmed by our presence there. We were given the evening we arrived and the following day off, to sight see, and get a feel for the city. Through my eyes, and experiences, what I discovered was a city that is still developing. Skyscrapers and apartment complexes on every block growing and reaching for the sky, roads under development trying to keep up with the ever expanding car market, and locals on the side of the road with their fruit stalls making a living any way they can. The theatre where we were to perform was situated in the heart of the city, and was an interesting old theatre. Technologically a little dated, but, we got by, and with our always adaptive production crew we worked around what we were offered to make the show look as best we could with what we had. Language barriers were a daily occurrence for the crew, but with the help of the staff from the Mongolian Arts Council they found a middle ground and got the job done. Performing for the audience there was a real treat and rush. We may have freaked them out a bit, with our head to toe of ochre and our blankets, but I feel as though we made a great impression on the local arts community that will linger for years to come. Spirit is such a great show to perform, and to showcase what we as a company are about. It has everything from traditional dance, to the fusion of contemporary, to the presence of Aunty Kathy Marika to help connect the entire through line of the show. Mongolia wasn’t on my list of places to visit, but I feel lucky to have been able to experience it as a country, and get a brief look and feel into their culture.

Now TERRAIN is done and dusted, the next step is to remount of earth & sky for our regional tour of WA and NSW. The first half of the show is a work called Riley, that incidentally, I created and choreographed with the help of the dancers back in 2010. Getting to see and remount it again is going to be a pleasure. I’ll also be performing in it this time around which will be a new experience. Finally I’ll be able to fully understand what I put the dancers through the first time around and experience it from the inside, as opposed to a voyeur, viewing it from afar. I’m also eagerly awaiting to see Michael’s [Riley] cloud series again, projected up at the rear of the space, to remind me of what I created, and to continue to inspire myself and the dancers as we share the story of his images with our regional audience.

I would also like to put it out there, that if there are any questions that you as readers and avid fans of Bangarra would like answered, please don’t hesitate to ask. Sometimes Jas and I get a little stuck as to what to write. So a question here or there would aid us greatly. And we can help inform our readers of what we do in the process. Either ask away on Facebook, or comment on our blog posts and either Jas or I will attempt to answer them for you.

Dan

 

September 17, 2012

Dancers’ Blog: From Maree to Mongolia via our nation’s capital

photo 4

From Maree to Mongolia via our national capital. That’s been our schedule for the past two weeks and the week coming up. On Saturday we closed our season in Canberra. I have a deep connection to Canberra as I consider it my home town. I don’t have family there anymore, but a few close friends still live there and it’s where my relationship with dance started. A relationship that continues to bloom and blossom with the years. We were all freshly invigorated and re-inspired after our visit out to Lake Eyre last week. After we closed in Adelaide, we boarded a plane to Olympic Dam, then drove two and a half hours on dirt roads to Maree, where we met up with our cultural consultant for TERRAIN, Uncle Reg Dodd. He lives in Maree and runs tours out to the lake, where he tells Aboriginal stories of the lake and it’s surrounding areas. We were very lucky to have him impart his plethora of knowledge on us. It was so inspiring to see and hear him be so utterly involved and knowledgeable of his culture and roots.

The lake itself was beautiful and mystical. As we stepped out onto the earth surrounding the lake, with the sound of crunching salt beneath our shoes, we knew there was something special about this place. The energy and feel of the area with its colourful land made it feel slightly surreal. There was such a stillness or even a sacredness about it. Walking the shores of the lake I gained new inspiration for some of the choreography I perform. The first being Salt, where I represent the salt spirit of the lake and Kaine as my shadow. The salt formations made such beautiful patterns on the earth and sparkled under the sunlight. The crunching of the salt and the crystallised formations it made reminded me of the first passage of choreography where the movement is sharp, angular and twitchy. The salt also made me think of my costume for that section, which is a bolero jacket covered in triangles to make it look as though i have just rose from the salt planes of Lake Eyre and my upper body is crystallised in salt.

While we were out in Maree we conducted workshops for the local community kids from Maree Aboriginal School. As with most workshops we conduct the kids are always a little hesitant one the first day. They try to wrap their head around having to learn choreography and count music, and it sometime seems as though they aren’t having fun, that its work. But a mutual respect was gained by the second day and a lot of fun was had by all. The choreography they learned on the first day seemed to sink deeper into their memories over night, and they seemed to be absorbing more information. To end the workshops we put together everything they had learned as a little performance for some of the community members and local elders to come watch and see what we had all been working so hard so. Tara G, Jasmin, Ella, Amy, Lenny, Waangenga, Kaine and myself felt so fortunate to be able to be apart of the Maree community for those four days. It is such beautiful country out there, the sun rises and sun sets were unlike any I had seen either here in Australia or abroad. We were super proud of the kids and their accomplishments and we hope they take their experience with us into their future.

Now…back to Sydney, for a little under forty eight hours, as early Monday morning we are all convening at the international airport for our trip to Mongolia, via an overnight stop in Hong Kong. This trip seems like it was never going to happen and it has been in the back of our minds, until now. With little time at home, we are thinking about what needs to be packed and what needs to be bought before our trip, and organise our home lives before venturing overseas. Excitement has started to creep up on us, and we are looking forward to the adventure we are about undertake.

 I had a great conversation with a gentleman at the pub in Maree. He said he was proud of us as a company and the way we represent our country, land and culture. First of all I was so surprised that he had heard of us, but he later told me he had seen a show when he was in the city once and has since watched all our YouTube videos. So safe to say he was up to date with our performance programs. I’ll end with what I told him as we were saying our farewells. We don’t take what we do, what and who we represent lightly. We are well aware how important our work overseas is, and are always sure to give Australia good representation, both on stage and off.

Daniel Riley McKinley

September 17, 2012

Dancers’ Blog: a poem from Jas

Jas 170912-pic

Well here we are about to board the plane for Hong Kong and then Mongolia. Since my last blog we have been to Lake Eyre, Maree community, Canberra and now here.

My time in Maree was so special instead of mere blogging I thought I’d put in a couple of poems.

Throwing balls of energy
Back and forth, back and forth,
With small children,
And adolescents.
Shining faces home to hungry eager eyes.
Deep brown pools of possibility.
We tread hard on wooden floors,
Pounding the earth to retrieve her energy,
Bringing light, forming connection,
Then thank her, in the hope we can give something back.

Small prepubescent lumps rise on the horizon.
Nothing. For miles and light years.
Only grey, khaki, grass green, straw and salmon.
The tufts of life springing up,
Almost starved of liquid, but not quite.
Then the curves arise.
Like a giant fist from beneath has struck the earth,
And up they heave.
Creating curves in the distance like sleeping women,
Their pelvic tips and breast crescents reaching and touching the blue sky,
Caressing the cool breeze.
Catching the birds as they fly past, collecting them in the curve of their waists,
Inviting them to take a moments rest from flight within their desert scrub.

Jasmin Sheppard

August 2, 2012

Dancers’ Blog: extra curricular shows and repertoire

Black (Fire - A Retrospective) Perun Bonser, Leonard Mickelo, Daniel Riley McKinley & Jhuny-Boy Borja. Photo by Jeff Busby

Revisiting older repertoire is always a great way to fully appreciate where Bangarra as a company has come from. I remember learning most of Bangarra’s history when we were putting together Fire – A Retrospective. Familiarising myself with this choreography was a great way to really understand and appreciate the development of this one-of-a-kind company that I am a part of. Before we head over to perform at the Opera House each day, we are spending time relearning and revisiting some of our favourite pieces of repertoire for our upcoming international tour to Mongolia. Most of the pieces come back to us quite quickly – we have performed the choreography numerous times and all we may need is to watch it on DVD then a quick listen of the soundtrack, and we are eighty percent there. Teaching the older repertoire to some of our newer dancers also aids the rest of us to remember how steps changed and evolved the last time we performed them. I enjoy teaching the work and passing down all I have learned to those men. There is something so satisfying in watching someone you have taught, move and execute choreography well. It shows that they really are taking in everything you say, and that I can deliver technique, tips, tricks, and the steps verbally and be understood. They are doing so well learning in the short amount of time we have. I hope they retain everything long enough so they can in turn teach it.

Every now and then Bangarra gets approached to perform at an awards ceremony, a national holiday concert, or more recently a corporate awards ceremony. The gig was for Microsoft and was an awards ceremony where young computer programmers from around the world competed to design and create programs for any number of things. Waangenga, Jhuny and myself performed a shortened version of Black, which heralds back from Ochres. This piece is perhaps my favourite piece of Bangarra’s choreographic repertoire to perform. I never tire of it, and thoroughly enjoy revisiting it. It’s like a favourite t-shirt or a tailored suit: it just fits perfectly and feels so right.

Daniel Riley McKinley

July 31, 2012

Dancers’ Blog: settling in at the Opera House and a new tour!

2.TERRAIN-Bangarra- dressing-room-male ensemble-photo-greg-barrett

We are well into the swing of things at the Opera House, and now that opening night of TERRAIN is done, I feel like I can relax into the show and begin to play around with my stories and dynamics within the pieces I’m in, to make my performance really grow. Back at the Wharf, as we dancers basked in the lights of stage, our team were confirming a quick tour to Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. So it’s official. We are heading to Mongolia, a country I have wanted to visit since primary school, and we’ll be dancing there! As exciting as this all is, this means we have to get busy. Barely two days out from our hectic production week and our schedule is jam packed with rehearsals for Mongolia. We come in early, warm up then switch our muscle memories on to bring back our work Spirit. Some pieces are as simple as letting the music play whilst we let our physical bodies take over, relaying the movement as precisely as if we had performed it yesterday. Now that’s quite an unusual experience. We push through the week like a train with a heavy load. We are tired, and need to do our best not to let TERRAIN suffer as a result of our extra rehearsals. We regain energy and spirit for each performance by stepping into another existence once we’ve painted up and put our costumes on. This is the important part of a busy day; telling our story to the public. Here we go again! Chookas all round for another show! 

Jasmin Sheppard

June 25, 2012

Dancers’ Blog – Night Stories in New York

At six am on a crisp Saturday morning, Bangarra and The Australian Ballet dancers congregated outside the Ballet Centre, anticipating a twenty hour flight to New York City. Slowly the ballerinas began to line up their luggage to be checked off and counted – a process that our small family of 13 dancers are not accustomed to! The Aussie Ballet move like a well oiled machine, and were hitching a ride with them to the Big Apple. We had four days and two shows at Lincoln Centre, and we were armed with high hopes for our New York performances. Our show Warumuk – in the dark night, is a magical and sensory journey of Yolgnu astronomy.
Our rehearsals were short, as was our time onstage to space and tech – barely enough time to take in the great expanse of the David Koch Theatre and its endless tiers and rows of seats.
Opening night was exhilarating- and we received a standing ovation! (rarely heard of at Lincoln Centre). I feel like I closed my eyes, opened them again and it was all over. Before we knew it Bangarra were boarding the plane to Sydney to open our new show, TERRAIN at the end of this week. Deep breaths all!

Jasmin Sheppard

  • 140px-aca_logo_horizontal_black_large_
  • Arts NSW_logo_White_100
  • Boral
  • FINALStacked Mono No Shadow BankName
  • 80px-ll_masterlogo_white-01-copy
  • 90px-qantas_soa_horizontal_white-copy-copy

© 2016 Bangarra Dance Theatre Australia