Story telling is one of the most important ways to share and preserve culture. Across time, cultures have used stories, combined with gestures and movement, to not only entertain but to keep record of their history. Stories have a way of connecting past and present, finding a common ground where we may not believe there is one.
Arguably, one of the most emotional representations of storytelling is that which is told through song and dance. Bangarra Dance Theatre creates unique culturally rich works representing their connection to and respect for country, while exploring issues of Indigenous Australian identity in the 21st century.
Recently, myself and several colleagues had the pleasure of attending Dance Clan 3, the latest production by Bangarra Dance Theatre, created as part of Corroboree Sydney. The performance, a collection of four stories, was choreographed by four of the female members of the company. At SVA, we are committed to a reconciled Australia, where the culture, customs and history of the traditional owners of Australia are celebrated. Through attending events such as Dance Clan 3, we are able to increase our cross-cultural awareness and share the experience with our colleagues, to encourage everyone to be involved and respectful.
Through the performance, which explores stories spanning from Broome to Sydney, we see the profound effect settlement had and still has on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However they have found a way to share these stories not by highlighting the negative, but by showing how strong and rich the history and culture of Indigenous Australia is. Throughout their work, the dancers show emotion, identity, sadness and beauty, the audience is left amazed, confronted but most importantly inspired by the celebration of culture.
Have you recently attended a performance of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Dance? If so we would love to hear your comments about your experience.