Patyegarang By Bangarra; Breathtaking As Always
Caroline Wild | On 19, Aug 2014
Colonial settlement, first contact, and the exchange of culture knowledge are all retold in the new dance theatre production Patyegarang by Bangarra.
Bangarra is Australiaâ€™s leading contemporary Indigenous dance company who delight and engage with audiences both nationally and internationally. Celebrating their 25th year as a dance company this year, Patyegarang is the new production that tells of the colonial fleet arriving in Eora country, now Sydney, in the late 18th century.
This beautiful production, which is infused with contemporary and Indigenous choreography, shows the relationship between Patyegarang and Lieutenant William Dawes, who shares her cultureâ€™s language and knowledge with the Lieutenant.
With the storyline being derived from Dawes personal notebooks, audiences are taken on a journey from the spirit of the land, to first contact, to tension between the fleet and Indigenous people, to the beautiful sharing of knowledge between Patyegarang and Dawes, and the strength of the local people.
Bangarra performances are always filled with smooth transitions, flawless extensions, and controlled movements and isolations, and this production was no exception. It is nearly impossible to take your eyes away from the dancers as their movements and storytelling abilities are captivating.
The performance is full of solos and group sequences. The fusion of contemporary and Indigenous dance means that sequences can be performed in perfect contemporary synchronisation, or the same movements can be individualized by the dancers, as seen in the more tribal and Indigenous style of movements.
The choreography is accompanied by Indigenous music, and Indigenous inspired background, costumes, props and body paint. Although these help to enhance the performance, they do so subtly with the dancersâ€™ bodies doing the storytelling and conveying the emotions that resonate with the audience. This is a reflection of the work of Artistic Director, Stephen Page, who brings such life to the dancers through choreography. Although the Bangarra group are dancers, they can easily also be called storytellers, as a clear narrative is always conveyed through their movements.
This is a fantastic production, and a special one as it is celebrating their 25th anniversary. Whether you are a fan of Bangarra, Indigenous or contemporary dancing, or are new to this style of performance, it is not a show to be missed.
What: Patyegarang, Bangarra Dance Theatre
Where: Playhouse Theatre, QPAC
When: 15-23 August
How Much: $55-$65
Website: Visit the QPAC website
Images provided by Jess Bialek.