A year of 30th anniversaries; the latest is Bangarra Dance Theatre founded in 1989 by a South African Cheryl Stone and an African-American Carole Johnson. They took the name Bangarra meaning ‘to make fire’. But the name most associated with Bangarra is Stephen Page who has been Artistic Director since 1991. Born and educated in Brisbane, his leadership of Bangarra has been strikingly fruitful, developing a signature body of works regarded as milestones in Australian performing arts. In 1992, Page produced Bangarra’s first full-length work Praying Mantis Dreaming. Works of a similar scale have followed annually since 2000. All have been successful within Australia; some have been toured to the USA and the UK.
The company’s 30th anniversary tour will be an ambitious one visiting all capital cities between June and October, starting in Sydney on 13 June. The program will be a triple bill: Unaipon with Stamping Ground and Dance Stories. Inspired by the life and the image on $50 dollar note of David Unaipon (1872-1967), choreographer Frances Rings created Unaipon for the 2004 Adelaide Festival. Stamping Ground was choreographed by legendary Jirí Kylián for his Nederlands Dans Theater in 1986 having been inspired by a tribal gathering he had witnessed on Groote Eylandt in 1980. Right now Bangarra is on a five-stop regional tour with their acclaimed Bennelong. No resting on laurels this year.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free