August 1, 2014

Rekindling Youth Program 2014

Bangarra’s Rekindling Youth Program 2014 has now taken place in the communities of Nowra and Wollongong (NSW) and Theodore, Beaudesert and Cairns (QLD). Final gatherings and community performances are coming up for communities and participants in Coffs Harbour (NSW) and Weipa (QLD) in August.
An exciting development for the program, now in its second year, is that in partnership with Feral Arts, a digital Rekindling App has been built to enable sharing between participants and the Rekindling team using digital media. This is an important step for the Rekindling program to ensure connections and shared learning continues beyond the program’s immediate residency in the communities.
The program has received a high level of positive feedback to date from elders, participants, schools and communities.
Rekindling 2014 Beaudesert QLD participants and Rekindling workshop leader Patrick Thaiday photo by Tiffany Parker

Rekindling 2014 Beaudesert QLD participants and Rekindling workshop leader Patrick Thaiday photo by Tiffany Parker

Rekindling 2014 Beaudesert QLD participants and Rekindling workshop leader Patrick Thaiday photo by Tiffany Parker.

Rekindling 2014 Nowra NSW participants and Rekindling workshop leaders photo by Tiffany Parker

Rekindling 2014 Nowra NSW participants and Rekindling workshop leaders photo by Tiffany Parker

Rekindling 2014 Nowra NSW participants and Rekindling workshop leaders photo by Tiffany Parker.

Rekindling-2014-Theodore-Biloela-QLD-participants-photo-by-Tiffany-Parker

Rekindling-2014-Theodore-Biloela-QLD-participants-photo-by-Tiffany-Parker

Rekindling 2014 Theodore (Biloela) QLD participants photo by Tiffany Parker.

November 14, 2013

Dancers Blog: From Dancer to Choreographer

We are here: tech week in our snug theatrette at Bangarra studios on the Wharf. The last 6 or so weeks have been a journey down an entirely new path for myself, Tara Gower, Yolande Brown and Deborah Brown. Our initiation into the role of choreographer has filled our beings with fresh challenges. Each one of us has taken on a unique way to create, finding what makes us peculiar in the rehearsal room whilst working with our peers on our own stories. Although we may have created works in the past, working on Dance Clan 3 is something special in an entirely different way. We are so lucky to have dancers such as our company members to create on and watch our imaginations come to life. I treasure each one all the more after this process, and it is all the more inspiring to walk into the studio and be greeted with an eager desire to help tell your story, realise your vision and work hard to achieve the best result. Expelling the story from my own brain to the dancers helps me relieve my own creative anxiety. Some times it feels as though every spare corner of my brain is being utilised, information pressed into every nook and cranny. Thank goodness I’ve had the chance to just relax and also work to realise the vision of Yolande and Deborah by just being able to step back into the role of a dancer.

I can’t believe we are here already. I am nervous and excited to see the unfolding of the completion of my first work, ‘Macq’, but untill opening night, the journey continues on, tweaking and refining our works, the constant process of evolution!

Jasmin Sheppard

Image: Jasmin Sheppard, Dance Clan 3 rehearsals 2013, photo by Anna Warr

October 21, 2013

Dancers’ Blog: On A Creative Journey

Four women have plunged themselves into a realm of storytelling, and we are almost a month into the creative development process of Dance Clan 3, a company work that will present its season as a part of Sydney’s first Corroboree festival in November. Myself, Yolande Brown, Tara Gower and Deborah Brown are contributing to the new work, with four stories hailing from all over the country. The Torres Strait, the Central Desert, the Kimberly and our home base of Sydney all have rich history, and hidden stories to reveal. Our goal is to share these stories from each of these places, and take the audience on a diverse journey. So far we are all finding our way through the choreographic process, discovering how we work with the dancers in the studio, and what kind of choreographers we may be. This process is a personal journey of discovery, and will no doubt uncover the hidden gems each one of us possess in our creative inner worlds. I am finding parts of my mind are awakening with inspiration, and the challenge is to switch off and stop thinking about what I would like to experiment with the very next day. I feel privileged to have been given this opportunity from the nurturing platform of our home at Bangarra, to find my choreographic self, and also blessed to tell this story through the incredibly talented dancers that I share the stage with. More to come…

Jasmin Sheppard

October 4, 2013

Dancers’ Blog: Regional Tour Reflections

Dancers and crew arrived back onto a sunny wharf last week after having a weeks rest from gallivanting all about Victoria and Tasmania. Our Kinship tour was a great success, with many full houses and inspired feedback from theatregoers. Our last stop was the Theatre Royal in Hobart, one of the oldest and most splendid theatres in the country. In addition to performing in such a grand space, we spent our spare time traversing the pretty town, and driving through Tasmania’s lush countryside. In passing Oyster Cove one day, I was transported back to a few years ago, when we brought the Mathinna story back to country in Hobart. The local community in Hobart were overjoyed to have us back, and the touching memories of connecting with mob were revived when we saw them all again. Every time I go to Tasmania I am inspired by the community. They are a strong, resilient and proud people, fighting for the future of their culture every day. We were blessed to teach a large portion of the kids some workshops, and I very nearly broke into tears after one girl, about 14, welcomed us onto her ancestor’s land with a self written and moving welcome. I heard the pride and the tenderness toward her ancestral country, and throughout the rest of the workshop continued to be awe inspired watching the next generation of Tasmanian Aborigines working hard, staying strong and knowing who they are, where they come from, and excited about their future. The community in Tasmania has a lot to teach us all about perseverance and pride, and holding onto the precious thing that sometimes we can take for granted; Culture.

Jasmin Sheppard

Image: Jasmin Sheppard and Hobart workshop participants 2013, photo by Tiffany Parker

June 11, 2013

Dancers’ Blog: ‘Blak’ in Sydney

The Bangarra dancers have just emerged from two weeks back home in our little creative cave, the studios on the wharf, where we have had the much needed time to pay attention to our bodies, regaining strength and energy, and resting those parts of the body affected by repetitive strain. We also had the pleasure of changing our focus to the regional tour program Kinship, rehearsing Brolga undergoing some sort of metamorphosis, melting into a flock of birds. The process is treasured especially by those of us who have birds as traditional totems, mine is the black cockatoo so to be a bird must be deep within me somewhere!

We spent most mornings running Blak, and I found that running the show repetitively but without performance quality made me focus more on my execution of the movements. In addition, the extra time out of the theatre encouraged most of us to spend extra time strengthening and stretching our bodies, giving that never ending reach for perfection in technique a little attention. I must say that Robert Curran, with his wealth of ballet knowledge, and general understanding of the body, has prompted a physical change in all of us – we are on the road to a better understanding of our dancing bodies!

The focus shifted last week, however, as we prepared for the Sydney opening night last Friday. We are back at the Opera House and the familiarity is wonderful. We settle in, and sink back into our Opera House routine. It is very special to perform to Sydney city, the town that has been home to the company since its birth. So it’s heads down tails up as we work hard to make Blak a beautiful soul experience for our audiences at the Drama Theatre.

Jasmin Sheppard 

Image: Jasmin Sheppard, Yearning from Blak 2013, photo by Greg Barrett

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