Artistic director, Stephen Page has brought Bennelong back into the spotlight, creating a spectacle on the life of one the first Indigenous Australians to be taken from his people and introduced to the European ways.
From the documentation of Bennelong’s life, Page took key aspects, aiming to present the culture and heritage of Australia. Senior dancer in Bennelong, Deborah Brown said:
“Bennelong was one of the first Indigenous Australians on record to write letters in the English language from when the first settlers came in 1788… I really think it’s a learning experience… audiences will get an extra bit of knowledge about the history and identity of Australia that you don’t get anywhere else.”
The performance aims to raise awareness among the audiences and inform them of the events which took place, giving them an insight on the Indigenous experienced during that time.
“Often audiences that come to a Bangarra performance have little knowledge, or no knowledge so they come out as further equipped and that pushes them to go out and learn more about what they saw in the program.”
Based on a true story, the dancing acts as a symbolic representation of the events and subtly presents a message to the audience.
Brown concluded, “It’s a beautiful experience, the beautiful thing about Page is his choreography, he’s making a statement with such poetry and eloquence with the dancers but I think people can still come out quite enlightened and nourished rather than force fed.”
Jun 29 – Jul 22. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $49-$97+b.f. Tickets & info: www.bangarra.com.au
By Jade Morellini.