Bangarra Dance Theatre is gearing up to celebrate its landmark 30th anniversary with an ambitious Australian tour they are calling ’Bangarra: 30 Years of Sixty Five Thousand’.
With a diverse triple bill program the group is set to visit all capital cities, starting with the Sydney Opera House on June 13 and wrapping up on October 5 in Hobart.
The company’s artistic director Stephen Page said it has been a remarkabl feat to survive for thirty years in the mainstream art scene, “not only as a contemporary company but as an Indigenous company”.
“To be a carer and the one who continues to tell stories through the medium of dance, we are so proud here… it’s just so great we can be surviving and thriving,” he told NITV News.
The three-part program will feature a re-staging of Bangarra’s new associate artistic director Francis Rings’ 2004 work Unaipon – an exploration of the life of Aboriginal inventor, author and philosopher David Unaipon.
Unaipon will be followed by Stamping Ground, a performance created by renowned Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián after an inspirational visit in the 1980s to Groote Eylandt.
Stephen Page's to make fire – a curated collection of the theatre's most powerful dance stories will round out the show.
Mr Page decided to include the production by Mr Kylián because he was enticed by a European man’s outside perspective on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their dance culture.
“The particular thing with Stamping Ground was that he came out in the early 80s and got inspired by traditional Aboriginal dance,” Mr Page said.
“I love this idea that he uses a non-Indigenous person’s perspective on traditional Aboriginal dance and how he responded to that in a modern form.”
The production has attracted extraordinary talent including Wiradjuri woman Ella Havelka, who has taken a break from her six-year career at the Australian Ballet to join the 30th celebration of Bangarra.
Ms Havelk first joined the company in 2009 on their 20th anniversary, and told NITV News she wanted to return to “pay homage” to those who taught her so much at the start of her dance career.
“[I want to] give back some of the knowledge that Bangarra has given to me and some of the experiences that I have gained from working with the Australian Ballet,” she said.
“It’s very special to me and it means a lot that I get to do this… I want to help inspire not just the next generation of dancers but the audience that comes to watch our show."