Arts & Entertainment

SandSong: Stories From The Great Sandy Desert

Bradley Smith, Rika Hamaguchi, Nicola Sabatino & Lillian Banks. Photo: Dan Boud

Lillian Banks never thought about dance as a career until her teacher from St Mary’s College encouraged her to apply for NAISDA, which accepted her as a student. 

After NAISDA, she auditioned for Bangarra and was enrolled as a Russell Page Graduate Recipient for 2018. 

She’s a Yawuru woman, a Kimberley girl, Yawuru being part of the Kimberley region, and this establishes her connection to SandSong.

For SandSong, the dancers went on country to embed themselves in the culture and community. Going On Country is always a highlight for me. Travelling to Fitzroy Crossing on Bunuba Country was particularly significant because I met a Bunuba Elder who, I found out, has family connections with me. After being On Country you experience the land and the spirit of it. I can now clearly imagine and embody the seasons, the wet and the dry.

She says having one-on-one time with the Cultural Knowledge Holders is a sacred experience.

The Wangkatjunga and Walmajarri Elders are so generous with their time and knowledge and their songlines and spirit will guide us each night we perform. 

She wants audiences to learn about the history of the Kimberley region and the Wangkatjunga and Walmajarri people.

Experiencing our shows is learning history in a different kind of way. SandSong is a tribute to the late Ningali Lawford-Wolf, so I hope we’re able to tell the story the way she wanted. I’d like the audience to take the time to appreciate her contribution to the arts and beyond.

Until Jul 10. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $65-$109+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com

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