Ones Country – The Spine of Our Stories by Bangarra Dance Theatre was phenomenal. The dancing was based on mythology and storytelling from North East Arnhem Land, the Torres Strait Islands and contemporary Sydney. Nathu was about the elusive cycad nut; Place was about being Black and gay (incredibly pertinent given the recent success of the national postal survey on marriage equality that was passed by the Senate at the end of 2017); and Whistler was about the sacred significance of the dugong, a grey whale-like marine mammal. They’ve been protected by conservation legislation since 1999. Continue reading Bangarra: Ones Country
Djiringanj Dancers, a group of women cultural performers, singing about the “West Wind” at the Corroboree grounds, during the Yabun Festival.
The Yabun Festival is a celebration for Survival Day. The 26 of January is a national holiday that marks the day British ships arrived in Australia and began the genocide of Indigenous Australians. Survival Day is a day led by Indigenous Australians who affirm the resilience, creativity and excellence of First Australians. This year, the Invasion Day Protests, which aim to change the date and meaning of Australia Day, ended by protesters joining Yabun at the end of the march to enjoy music, stalls, cultural performances, speeches and more.
Leah Shopkow and colleagues have carried out research on the challenges of teaching students to think critically about history. The researchers use sociology to introduce students to a critical reading of history, and they also use sociology to navigate the issues that arise in the classroom.
In general, they find that students react with emotion when faced with a critical reading history. Some students who belong to a majority group feel angry that their ancestors are being “attacked.” Some of them disengage from the material, feeling that the actions of the past don’t relate to them in the present. (Thereby refusing how majority groups continue to benefit from historical relations.) These students will also get defensive, thinking that the class is “biased.”
Drawing on the life and paintings of artist Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, Our Land People Stories explores genocide and reclaiming culture in the face of British invasion. This is Bangarra Dance Theatre’s wonderful exploration of Indigenous Australian dance and colonial violence – an ever-relevant fixture of our national history and present-day life.
This looks a lot like Latin dancing at the African Music and Cultural Festival in Melbourne but it is actually the Kizomba (from Angola and other countries). They then dance to a Spanish language song, an African salsa fusion they put together.
Ochres by Bangarra Dance Theatre was amazing! The music was moving but also incredibly melodic and made me want to dance.
Most of it was in Indigenous Australian languages until the final piece which also included English lyrics.
The whole show was tremendous but my favourite was a series centred on relationships: two girls play with a boy joyously first, and two lovers caress at the end. In between was a profound but distressing story of a jealous man and his partner who fought viciously.
Special cultural advisor and dancer Djakapurra Munyarryun appears throughout, dancing and singing with deep resonance. Elma Kris remains the most enchanting dancer I’ve ever seen. She is graceful and powerful.
Lore by Bangarra Dance Theatre brings the dance, culture and stories of the Torres Strait Islands to broader Australian audiences at the Sydney Opera House. In this gorgeous and uplifting show, Elma Kris plays the lead and she is just exquisite. Some of the songs are in the Ka La Lagau Ya language. My favourite parts are the beautiful turtle egg sequence as well as “Freezer” with the dancers emerging from the chilly freezer in the supermarket in contrast to the hot air outside. Continue reading Bangarra: Lore