Bangarra Dance Theatre is world renowned for vibrant and powerful performances that impress audiences from beginning to end, and their latest tour is no exception. The company is comprised of 17 professionally trained dancers from across Australia who proudly identify with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage. Under the direction of Stephen Page, Bangarra uses art and dance to bring Indigenous stories to life.
Our Land People Stories delivers a stirring program of three pieces, two of which are choreographed by company dancers. The word that can best describe the work is powerful. When watching the combination of contemporary dance fused with traditional Indigenous movement, you really feel as though you are involved in an unfolding story. The dancers execute the technical choreography perfectly, engrossing audiences even further with their grace and skill.
Jasmin Sheppard’s ‘Macq’ is reborn in this production and delivers a strong narrative. ‘Macq’ tells the story of the 1816 Appin massacres that occurred under the control of Governor Macquaire. Sheppard describes her piece as the black account of “the history we never get taught in schools – the side of the story that is swept under the carpet.”
The talent and success of Bangarra has been well noted for its benefit to the Indigenous community. It has also, however, been a great educational tool for non-Indigenous Australians. “Bangarra bridges the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities,” Sheppard remarks. “It is a wonderful opportunity to share stories, and give non-Indigenous audiences a chance to feel that they can connect with the Indigenous culture in a way that may not be able to happen in everyday life.”