Its flowing rivers she cleanses in, the yellow ochre she dresses in, the sun and the season she nourishes — gathering, nesting and birthing along her travels. This is then performed by Bangarra Cultural consultant, Djakapurra Munyarryun and the traditional Arnhem Land man using various sweeping movements to spread the ochre over the body. With the performance based around the four colors of the sacred tradition, Page splits the dance into sections with each signifying a specific importance. The opening sequence has Djakapurra Munyarryun performing symbolic movements to help demonstrate his leadership and relation with Mother Nature.
More than anything it marked the astonishing achievement of Stephen Page and his team of artists. Now it is a powerful evocation of all that Bangarra stands for.
He has, as ever, huge power and presence. He stood perfectly still for several seconds before beginning his song and the effect was mesmerising. Their movements are most often flowing and they have an organic look to them.
Deborah Brown shows her remarkable skills throughout this section. Brown always looks good no matter what style her movements represent. This section is also characterised by some nicely performed unison work. But in between we can imagine other relationships.
Domestic violence and addiction perhaps? The two cultural consultants, Elma Kris and Djakapurra Munyarryun, lead this final section and, with all the dancers covered with white ochre, a spiritual quality emerges from sections representing a range of concepts from kinship to totemic ideas.
It is lit in changing colours by Joseph Mercurio. A score by David Page is evocative of the s but retains enough power and emotion to feel relevant still. And, while the dancers of were extraordinary a list of the team appears in the programthe manner in which Bangarra has grown technically is also clear.
Its dancers are spectacularly good and their commitment shines through. Michelle Potter, 9 December Featured image: Leonard Mickelo in a study for Ochres, Bangarra Dance Theatre is Australia's leading Indigenous performing arts company.
Bangarra is recognised nationally and internationally for distinctive dance theatre performances that combine the spirituality of traditional culture with modern story-telling.
Bangarra Dance Theatre’s season of OUR land people stories is a new triple bill with a host of choreographers. Importantly, the work tells three very different stories of Australia’s cultural heritage.
Carriageworks, Sydney. November Haunting, mesmerizing and incredibly powerful, Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Ochres sinuously slithers, stamps and jumps across the stage at Carriageworks.
Vividly bold and strong with wonderful lighting by Joseph Mercurio, this was originally premiered 21 years ago in conjunction with The Australian Ballet. Carriageworks, Sydney, November OCHRES is embedded in Bangarra history and the memories of dance-lovers. Created in the company’s early days, not long after Stephen Page became artistic director, it had a distinctive style that has continued to serve Bangarra well.
Internationally acclaimed for their powerful dancing, distinctive theatrical voice and unique soundscapes, music and design, Bangarra Dance Theatre is a centrepiece of Australia Fest. Australia's leading Indigenous dance company is bringing one of its recent hits to the land that inspired it for a free performance Bangarra has a long history of telling the stories of our land.