Bangarra workshops

DANCERS from the Bangarra Dance Theatre company took the time to meet with young indigenous dancers, last week when they where in Sale to perform newly created dance piece Kinship, by award-winning choreographer Stephen Page.

As part of the company’s Indigenous Outreach Program the dancers conducted three workshops at thn Wellington Entertainment Centre on Friday, introducing participants to some of Bangarra’s performance pieces and techniques.

Bangarra dancer Deborah Brown said “We try and give them a taste of what Bangarra does full time.”

Although in an hour and a half, Ms Brown said, “it’s just a whisper of what we can do.

“We take them through a warm up, through some movement exercises that have that contemporary Bangarra style to it,” she said.

“Sometimes we take them through a little bit of repertoire from the show,” she added.

As part of Friday’s workshop Ms Brown said performers touched on the performance piece Brolga, about a girl who becomes a totem, when addressing young dancers from the local indigenous dance group BlaK MistiQ.

Bangarra showed a selection of indigenous dances from Australia’s many cultures and tribes.

“It’s such a big tapestry that we can only give little tiny elements,” she said, “Brolga comes from northeast Arnhem land but we finished off with some Torres Straight rhythm dancing.”

The main aim of the workshops, Ms Brown said, was to reconnect students with their ancient culture and to teach them some modern techniques that can be used to link the past and the present.

BlaK MistiQ’s Kyralee Murphy-Edwards said she found the workshop inspiring.

“I’d love to be a part of Bangarra when I leave school,” Ms Murphy-Edwards said.

“My cousin went to NAISDA (National Aboriginal Island Skills Development Association) Dance College and I’d like to go there too.”

As part of the workshop, she said, she had learnt more techniques and got a better understanding about the different animals indigenous dancers danced to as part of their cultures.

“It was good getting involved with other indigenous kids that like dancing,” she said, adding that there weren’t many opportunities to attend such workshops living in regional Victoria.

“It was good for the kids in town to experience that part of dancing and just connect back with culture,” Ms Murphy-Edwards said.