As Australia’s leading Indigenous performing arts organisation, Bangarra Dance Theatre fulfils a dual role of creative producer and cultural agent. Bangarra’s key objectives are to contribute to improving the lives of Indigenous Australians and to tell their stories through innovative world-class dance theatre. Presenting over 110 performances each year, Bangarra tours extensively to national, regional and remote centres across Australia and internationally.
In meeting its cultural responsibilities Bangarra invests in building and maintaining relationships with traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island elders and communities across Australia. Their ancient and contemporary stories, songs and dances influence Bangarra’s works in a process of rekindling and honouring language and customs.
Under the leadership of Stephen Page as artistic director since 1991, Bangarra is committed to developing the next generation of Indigenous storytellers through mentoring and training young people. Commencing in 2013, the new Rekindling Youth Program builds on Bangarra’s 20 years of experience in communities. By reinvesting the company’s knowledge and expertise, Rekindling aims to inspire young people in their role as future custodians of their culture.
As an exemplary employer of Indigenous people, Bangarra has supported the professional development of over 100 artists since inception in 1989. In formalising the company’s employment practices, in 2011 a new Indigenous Employment Program commenced that has, to date, enabled five young Indigenous trainees to join Bangarra for professional experience and/or completion of formal education in the performing arts.
Joining Stephen Page, in the company’s creative and cultural leadership, are artists-in-residence, Kathy Balngayngu Marika, Jacob Nash, Hetti Perkins, David Page and Frances Rings. Their wealth of creativity and distinctive voices bring depth and breadth to Bangarra’s theatrical storytelling.
Based at Sydney’s Walsh Bay, the fourteen member dance ensemble originates from across Australia reflecting many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island clans. Bangarra is chaired by Larissa Behrendt, a leading Aboriginal lawyer, writer and academic and receives funds from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Commonwealth Government’s arts funding authority and from the NSW Government through Arts NSW.
Bangarra also has a loyal cohort of corporate and media partners BHP Billiton, Qantas, Boral, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, JC Decaux, SBS and Studio and a growing number of patrons including the Annamila Foundation, George Hicks Foundation, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and Tim Fairfax Family Foundation whose philanthropic support helps to secure the company for future generations.
Bangarra Dance Theatre Australia’s vision is to:
Respect and rekindle the links between traditional Indigenous cultures of Australia and new forms of contemporary artistic expression;
Create inspiring dance theatre productions of integrity and excellence that resonate with people throughout Australia and the world.