This is my first attempt to post something meaningful at this new site for Aboriginal Art & Culture: an American eye, so forgive me if I run into some technical glitches. (You can check out the old site, five years’ worth, at my previous address.)
So, a modest start. I’ve been reading quite a bit in the newspapers lately about the first new production by Bangarra in the wake of their twenty-year retrospective, Fire. The new bill, Of Earth and Sky, is clearly seen as marking a new chapter in the company’s career. Indeed the early notice in The Australian was titled “Bangarra’s dance moves take new direction” and opened with a quote from Stephen Page, “I can retire now.”
There’s a bit of old and a bit of new. The continuity comes from Frances Rings, whose dance “Artefact” takes the earthy half of the new production. The future is glimpsed in the sky, so to speak, where young new choreographer Daniel Riley McKinley has set his dancers to work in front of huge projections of his cousin Michael Riley’s photographs from the famous cloud series. Scene magazine has published a brief interview with the choreographer and an even briefer review of the performance.
But a picture being worth more than I can say here, let me take you straight to a pair of videos that offer glimpses of the new performances as well as interviews with the principals involved. The first, Bangarra’s New Choreographer, comes from ABC Arts Art Nation video series. (I haven’t yet figured out how to link from pages that only provide embed codes, so you’ll need to click on that link above to see the video.)
The second video was posted to Facebook by Brisbane’s QPAC, where the work debuted on July 2. It’s also available now on YouTube.
I find it hard to believe–maybe I just refuse to believe–that Stephen Page is truly contemplating retirement. But these clips from Of Earth and Sky promise that Bangarra’s third decade will be as exciting as their first two.