Five Excerpts from the Production Terrain
This section looks at Aboriginal people’s sense of ‘calling’ to ‘go to country’. With the pressures of modern life and living in urban environments, the need to reconnect to country is an extremely strong – a chance to refuel. This section is performed by a solo female dancer, supported and manipulated by four male dancers.
This section was inspired by Rings’ experience of sitting in the open landscape near Lake Eyre and imagining the contorted spinifex trees as women from thousands of years ago, waiting for the waters to come and the transformation of landscape to happen. The design of the women’s costumes is integral to this section.
This section expresses how the vast amounts of salt crystals in the lake completely change the landscape as the waters dry up. While the salt is beautiful, it is also quite dangerous. The chemical compound of the salt is acidic and burns the skin, something that early explorers discovered when they decided to take a swim in the lake. The salt produces extraordinary sculptural forms as well as creating a unique light that completely disrupts the horizon and is sometimes hazardous for pilots. The two male dancers who perform this section depict the nature and texture of salt crystals.
Landform is about the land’s capacity to heal itself, to regenerate after damage that is caused by man or nature. The land’s strength is in its undying spirit, despite being ravaged by traumatic events. The group of dancers in this section illustrate the shifting shapes of land over the millennia and the connectedness that people have with land they know and/or land that they come from.
This section illustrates the event of the waters travelling down through the ancient channels to fill the lake with life. It is a spectacular event, and one that has been occurring for thousands of years. Then as the water evaporates the event is over, and the cycle of transformation begins again. The dancers move as an ensemble, and towards the end of the section they slowly leave the stage – reflecting the cycle of the waters arriving and leaving as they have for thousands of years.
HOW DO THE DANCES TELL THE STORY
To create the choreography, the music and the design elements, the creative team worked together with the dancers to create a dance theatre ‘telling’ of the powerful sense of connection to land through culture, people and place.
With the in situe experience of Lake Eyre and a significant amount of research material in hand, (images, literature, stories), ideas become translated through movement, sound and imagery. The choreographer and the dancers develop a language of movement, using elements of dance that are carefully shaped to resonate the feelings, thoughts and ideas explored by the whole creative team.