September 10, 2014

Bangarra embarks on its largest regional tour in 2014

In September 2014, Bangarra Dance Theatre will commence its largest ever regional tour of Australia as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. Read more.

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

 

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

  • 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