Life Cycle of a Bangarra Work

The development of a new work is a process of typically 3-4 years commencing with a period on Country spending time with Indigenous Elders.

We are generously entrusted by the Community who share with us their Language, stories, songs and dances, which we then honour on stage. At the end of a work’s life cycle, once it has been realised and performed to audiences all over Australia, we return the work to be performed on Country, in thanks and acknowledgement of the reciprocal relationship between the story and Country. Our Return to Country practice ensures that our community relationships, developed over many years, are maintained and continue to inform the integrity of our work. 

SandSong on Country

In 2020, our creative team visited the Kimberley and Great Sandy Desert regions in Western Australia to spend time with Wangkatjungka and Walmajarri Elders. This Land is home to Ningali Josie Lawford-Wolf (1967 - 2019), a close cultural collaborator of Bangarra whose spirit, stories and artistic contributions have inspired a number of our works and enriched the broader arts landscape. The Lawford family has long generational ties to this part of the Kimberley and are current owners of the pastoral lease for Bohemia Downs cattle station, allowing them the stability to continue to care for their Land, Culture and Community.

In 2021, the full performing company was able to go on Country to Fitzroy Crossing to learn from the Elders and spend time with Community. The company will return the completed work SandSong: Stories from the Great Sandy Desert to Country in the spring of 2022. In the video below, dancers Maddison Paluch and Daniel Mateo speak about their experience on Country.

Images: Eva Nargoodah (photo by Beau Dean Riley Smith), full company (photo by Rikki Mason).

Video edited by Cass Eipper.