Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bangarra’s Dance Theatre's "OF EARTH & SKY"

Written by Minelle Creed

Bangarra’s Dance Theatre's "OF EARTH & SKY" which began last week at the Melbourne Arts Centre concludes this week on Saturday night. Melbourne wraps up the final leg of Bangarra's national tour which began in Brisbane in July.

The program has 2 shows with a full ensemble performance. The first is from Daniel Riley McKinley, called Riley, and is his debut choreographic work. After listening to Daniel speak about his passion as a dancer and now choreographing his own works, it’s wonderful to see the talent in someone so young.

Daniel debuted his first production in Melbourne this week, as
Bangarra’s new choreographer, and said the inspiration behind his first production called "Riley", was inspired by Aboriginal Photographer, the late Michael Riley, and his last works the "Cloud" series.

Daniel who is related to Michael Riley said when he first viewed the images of the "Cloud" series, he found them "really beautiful and ethereal, and the content behind the images were really strong for me, that I really felt a connection with each image.". He said looking back it was that '"lood connection' that drew him to those images". Click on the link below to hear my interview with Daniel.

Daniel Riley McKinley Interview (click below)

Frances Rings, who previously had been performing as a dancer with Bangarra’s Dance Theatre, says this current production, which is her 5th as a choreographer. Frances said she has been with Bangarra for 12 years, and last years 20th year anniversary, basically showcased her growing up as an artist, dancer and now choreographer.

Frances said there were many changes in her transition from performer to choreographer. “I spent 12 years with the company, as a performer, as a dancer, and got to travel the world, and got to experience many different stages, and many different festivals, and theatres, and performances and that was great”.

She said she was ready to start something new in her life and ready for new changes, and to have the opportunity to tell her own stories through contemporary Indigenous dance, which she says has the full support of Bangarra .

She said the most important thing about this production was the debut of Daniel Riley McKinley who at 24 years old, is starting his career now also as a choreographer, after spending time with Bangarra as a dancer. She also said it was wonderful to be able to create and show her children the importance of creating something that has traditional elements of Aboriginal culture and history and bringing to a forum where everyone can enjoy it.

Last year Bangarra celebrated their 20 year anniversary, which looked back on 20 years of Bangarra history and choreography. She said for her, “it’s a bit like, ‘This is your life’, kind of thing, because I spent my whole adulthood, in the company”.

Frances Rings Interview (click below)

finishes of 2010 with a regional tour of MATHINNA which is Executive Director, Stephen Page's full length works which he choreographed in 2008.


Written by Minelle Creed for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Grapevine, and

Photography by
James Williams

Videos recorded with permission of
Bangarra’s Dance Theatre