'Terrain', a story of strength, resilience and connection to country, returns to Parramatta's Riverside Theatre. It’s the first time Bangarra has performed in Western Sydney since 2010.
“We performed 'Fish' there in 1998, then 'Mathinna' in 2010. So it’s great to be returning to Western Sydney and connect with audiences there, particularly with the large Indigenous community,” says choreographer and the Head of Creative Studies at NAISDA, Frances Rings.
The stunning backdrop of Lake Eyre inspired one of Bangarra’s most notable productions.
'Terrain' is the story of Indigenous peoples’ relationship to country.
“It’s how we view our relationship to land. We live in urban areas, but our connection to country is deep and visceral. It’s the foundation of our being and belonging,” Ms Rings told NITV News.
Situated in outback South Australia, Lake Eyre when filled is the largest lake in Australia.
“[When it rains] it transforms country into an amazing, rich and vibrant oasis. It doesn’t happen often so when it does, it’s special,” says Ms Rings.
Ms Rings, a Kokatha woman from Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta, travelled to the lake to gain inspiration. It is here she met with Uncle Reg Dodd, local Arabunna elder and consultant.
“It took on a whole different perspective. It really struck me, the sense of sacredness. It started to speak to me creatively, the different lives of the lake and what it means to us living in urban areas,” she says.
She hopes audiences see and feel the connectedness.
“You don’t have to be black or white to understand connection to land. We see richness in another way, we protect our most valuable asset, our sacred areas, it’s profoundly spiritual. We hope people take this with them.”
Following the first revival performance at Riverside, 'Terrain' will tour regionally and return to the areas of Lake Eyre at the end of the year.
“We like to ensure the story goes back to the inspirational place where it came from. It’s great for regional audiences to experience and be inspired,” she says.
The world premiere of 'Terrain' was performed in Bangarra’s 2012 season. It won two Helpmann Awards for Best Ballet/Dance Work and another for Best Female Dance or Physical Theatre Work for dancer Deborah Brown.
This year, the production will feature two recent graduates from the Russell Page Graduate Program, which helps lead dancers into a successful professional career.
“The new generation of dancers has interpreted [the story] into their own way, it’s great to have that new breath of energy,” she says.
Bangarra’s community night performance of Terrain is on Thursday March 3, at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre.
Terrain will open to the wider public from 4-5 March.