An Afternoon with Bangarra's Luke Currie-Richardson

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Luke Currie-Richardson, former Canberran and one of the principle dancers in Bangarra’s new show Lore, is positive, friendly and engaging. It’s not hard to see why audiences like him. “We had to do a few more bows [last night] than we rehearsed,” he enthused. He adds that it might have something to do with the stage only being 4-5 metres away from the audience. “They can feel the sweat!”

Lore is a double bill. The first half ‘I.B.I.S.’ was choreographed by Deborah Brown and Waangenga Bianco and is described by Currie-Richardson as “very schizophrenic”. Meant to mirror the happy waters of the Torres Straits, it is contrasted with a second half ‘She Oak’ about the inland history of the Aboriginal people. “It’s about the grandmother tree; the knowledge tree, [and] how in the past our people used it for tools, weaponry, shelter, food… It has stood within three worlds of past, present and future. The She Oak has seen everything in the past, is witnessing the present and is going to be there in the future in the spirit world where we all end up. It ends up being quite a dark piece.”

The second half is choreographed by Frances Rings, and Currie-Richardson comments that some of the audience feedback that he received on Thursday night’s show was that the two sections could have been performed by two totally different companies. “Its a very abstract art piece where you have to see it to understand.”

Currie-Richardson talks about the creative process and how the dancers are involved every step of the way. “It takes about 12 weeks to create the show,” he explains. “[The choreographers] all came in with a story and we were all allowed to make up our own bits… That’s part of what I think is so good about Bangarra. They let our creative juices flow. The movement is able to sit on our bodies.”

“I like to think of it like this,” he says. “[The choreographers] are the storytellers and [the dancers] are the pen and paper trying to get it out onto the page. We have a lot of input.”

He says that he is lucky because Bangarra had just begun to tour regional centres such as Canberra when he joined the troupe in 2012. “I don’t get back to Canberra all that often because when I’m here, part of me doesn’t want to leave. It’s so easy and comfortable and beautiful – it’s a laid back kind of life. It’s always hard to leave Canberra.”

Lore tours Canberra 9-11 July 2015.
Touring nation-wide in Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong, Brisbane and Melbourne.