After traveling across four states to perform 63 shows, Bangarra’s Dark Emu national tour has come to an end. Our work would not be possible without the support of our audiences and we thank each and everyone of you that shared our journey with us.
As we conclude our season we reflect on the spirit of resilience and hope through Alana Valentine’s closing passage: “I am the rock that holds the heat, after the sun has set. Thank you my country
I am the grain that takes the oil, after the pouring is done. Thank you my country
I am the stone soaking up water, long since retrieved from the pool. Thank you, my country
I am the spirit of country, still giving all life to the land. Thank you, my country” 📸 @daniel.boud
Tools down in the studio. Lay this little emu chick to the side. It’s time to revisit @bangarradancetheatre’s ‘Dark Emu’. ✨
Recently, on #FjordReview : ‘Dark Emu’ offers a pathway to repair, and suddenly, this slow burn is not so quiet at all. This is a shimmering song. A wakeup call. A ‘Ceremony of Seed’ that makes the woman seated behind me draw a sharp intake of breath: “ah! the cleansing!” A ‘Resilience of Culture’. A celebration! What we can still become if we acknowledge, and mend. ‘Dark Emu’ is rich in symbolism and requires patience, like the thoughtful practices it evokes. The cycle of elements will not speed up for a 70-minute performance. You have to wait and work for it. Bangarra’s ‘Dark Emu’ is feet-in-the-soil reconnection.
I read the book before seeing ‘Dark Emu’ on opening night, and I look forward to revisiting the work later in the week, now that I hear cello (Peter Hollo) and song (“Guboo” Ted Thomas) to ‘Begong Moth Harvest’, and the whip and rustle of kangaroo grass in costumes of shredded silk linen (designed by Jennifer Irwin); now that I smell the smoke of ‘Forged by Fire’ fertilisation. From the heavy, white Gypsum caps (widow’s caps, heavy like the grief they hold) of ‘Bowls of Mourning’ to the smooth roll of the ‘Rocks of Knowledge’, dance is more than evocation: #dance is transcendence. Now that my eyes are open. I am a thread in the universe. You are a thread in the universe. Now that my eyes are open. (Read in full on @fjordreview)
Additional images: #BangarraDanceTheatre , Daniel Boud (@daniel.boud)
Our dancers had the honour of meeting Yolande Brown, choreographer at Bangarra Dance Company yesterday. We had a tour of the studio and were offered some powerful words of advice and guidance by her. She is a magnificent soul and incredible role model and we were so lucky to have spent time with her yesterday. #bangarradancetheatre
Up in the sky there is a giant emu. They have been there all along, in the calendar in the sky. Above our heads, a creator spirit, their long form stretches in the dust clouds of the Milky Way from the Coalsack to beyond Scorpius. And this is where Bangarra Dance Theatre’s (@bangarradancetheatre) ‘Dark Emu’ begins. Looking up. Connected. Looking back. Connected. Looking forward. Connected. Like the emu detectable in the night sky, which has been there all along.
Defined not by stars, but by the dark smudges in between. If this were a drawing, we’d say the emu was there in the negative space, in the background. And if this were a #dance , which it is, we’d say this is where it begins, and, being cyclical, where it will pass by again as it continues its rotation. Reading the form mapped between the stars: a whole new world opens up before my eyes. Moreover, if this were life, which it most certainly is, we’d say, as expressed by Yolande Brown, one of the choreographers of ‘Dark Emu’, together with director Stephen Page, Daniel Riley, and the dancers of Bangarra, “these are stories, ideas and practices we should all be able to access, learn from and #respect …. As Australians awaken from a kind of collective amnesia”, ‘Dark Emu’ is the conversation we need to have, the story we need to be told, the relearning that needs to occur.
Continue reading my response on @fjordreview:
Image credit (detail): Daniel Boud (@daniel.boud)
The most beautiful thing I have seen in years. Be kind to yourselves and see if you can find a ticket. #Repost @bangarradancetheatre with @get_repost
“a physical and visceral dialogue between dance and text. In collaboration with the dancers, three choreographers offer a beautiful evocation of the living relationship between people and plants and the impact of colonisation.” says Australian Book Review of our powerful new work Dark Emu. Our #Melbourne season is completely sold-out, but if you’re still looking for tickets please call @artscentremelbourne’s box office on the day of each performance should any final tickets be released. 📸 @daniel.boud
Last night, the opening of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s (@bangarradancetheatre) ‘Dark Emu’ in Melbourne at the Playhouse (following Community Night), and I am still sifting through all I have seen and felt, and still see and feel. Until I find my own adequate words to describe the beauty and assault, the truth and interconnectedness of ‘Dark Emu’, I’ll leave you with those of Bruce Pascoe, from his book, ‘Dark Emu, Black Seeds: agriculture or accident’, which lays bare the hunter-gather myth. ‘Dark Emu’ (#DarkEmu2018 ), the dance, and ‘Dark Emu’, the book, two works everyone would be better for seeing and reading. “The stain is deep in our chalk and until we can accept what the explorers saw as part of the national story our debate of national origins, character and attributes is hobbled by ignorance”. (Thanks @nine_things X)
(Image credit: Daniel Riley, Tyrel Dulvarie, Rika Hamaguchi, and Yolanda Lowatta; photograph: Daniel Boud @daniel.boud)
It’s not often words fail me, but I can’t find anything adequate for Dark Emu. It’s been the pulse of our lives all year; a small corrective for all that’s wrong in the world in 2018; and an immense pleasure and privilege. Big love to all the cast and creators as it touches down for its final leg in Melbourne tonight. 📷 @daniel.boud #darkemu2018#bangarradancetheatre
“Tonight’s experience with Bangarra is just like every other night I’ve experienced. For the last 25 years I have been following the family with my heart, my soul and vision and I’m so proud. I’m emotionally stirred to see beautiful mob on stage, expressing and being so passionate and keeping our culture alive. It's just such an honour to be here. We’re looking at royalty. As an Elder, it is an honour to come along once again and be a part of Community Night and to hear the love and support around us all. It’s just so inspiring for our young ones, we’ve got babies in arms here, so keep going and I love you.” says actor, writer and Elder Tammy Anderson of her experience of Dark Emu at our Melbourne Community Night performance, made possible by the generous support of The Balnaves Foundation. 🖤💛❤️ 📸 @libadibdib
Thank you Esther, my beautiful strong amazing sister. So blessed to have time & heart connection with you..
Celebrating our birthdays a little early at the exquisite performance of Dark Emu by @bangarradancetheatre that left us in awe, and as always, completely moved. ✨🖐🏼✨
We got a little past tipsy, had our fill of amazing food and had the conversations that don’t get to happen in daily life with children and the rest... Bangarra never ceases to still and captivate me, tears rolling down cheeks from the get go... The pride and deep connection to nature within the human experience.. such a multidimensional, magical, energising, healing and uplifting form of expression.. I saw my first Bangarra performance when I was at school... and I was transported back to the same inspired feelings this time... Yet feeling the perspective of age and mortality... will I ever be the dancer, singer, writer, musician, painter or will they remain aspects / seeds / talents left unripened... Grateful for these special times and moments to reflect that Antoni makes sure I arrange for us.. Grateful for family who help out with kids, even sick ones this time... *Pictures of Bangarra are their own. #qpac#julius#espressomartini#indigenousculture#dance#inspired#yumminess#bangarradancetheatre#iwanttobeadanceragain#thankyou#life
The Dark Emu scene ‘Whales of Fortune’ shares the deep history of the Yuin mob’s work with humpback whales. “There’s a story about this old man who’d dance and pretend to be lame, and he’d do some dancing in between two fires he’d set up on the beach. The killer whales would be out deep and they’d notice the man dancing between the two fires, and start feeling sorry for him. They'd know when it was humpback season, and the killer whales would feast off the humpbacks… by fatiguing and attacking and making them exhausted, they’d drive the humpbacks into Twofold’s Bay. They’d share their kill with the people there… the killer whales would eat the tongue of the humpback and then the people would share in the rest.” explains Dark Emu co-choreographer Yolande Brown to @989fmcountry. Stream Yolande’s full interview with Boe Spearim on Let’s Talk online to hear more about the Dark Emu story. 📸 @daniel.boud