Bangarra have been performing Indigenous stories through contemporary dance for more than 30 years. At the heart of their foundation, Bangarra’s narratives and performances protect and preserve Australia’s Indigenous cultures.
- Inspiring the Australian theatre landscape since 1989
- Contemporary First Nations dancers, drawing on 65,000 years of culture
- Upholding the integrity of cultural storytelling
- Nurturing Indigenous youth talent
- Sustaining connection to Country
- Creating cultural exchange
Sustaining the world’s oldest culture through dance
Bangarra is, first and foremost a performance company. They have been performing Indigenous stories through contemporary dance for more than 30 years. Their creative and production teams create their works of dance, theatre and music. At the heart of their foundation, Bangarra’s narratives and performances protect and preserve Australia’s Indigenous cultures. Their stories are inspired by the customs and songlines of their Elders and are performed by professional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers in Australia’s major cities, local communities and overseas.
Authentic values of resilience, reciprocity and connection
Bangarra’s mission is centred on cultural sustainability: To create inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences that promote awareness and understanding of our cultures. True to their mission, Bangarra takes their cultural responsibility seriously through a range of programs that reach beyond performing.
Sustaining connection to Country
Bangarra’s creative process involves years of Cultural exchange across the many Communities that exist across Australia. Communities on Country are the heart of Bangarra’s creativity, through research, community engagement and permission seeking from the Elders and custodians of Culture and story. Through active consultation in the creation of narrative and performance, Elders share their Language, stories, songs and dances, which are then honoured and shared with audiences across Australia on stage. The performance is then brought home and performed for the community on Country, in gratitude for the relationships, respect and integrity of these connections.
Sustaining the past, developing the future
As a Cultural Foundation, Bangarra ensures they are also sustaining their culture’s future. To this end Bangarra supports a broad range of unique learning opportunities. Through their Winhanga-rra program, they create and provide education resources for teachers and students across the Australian education sector in Early Learning, Primary and Secondary schooling and into Tertiary studies.
Empowering future story tellers
Rekindling, one of Bangarra’s youth programs, connects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across Australia. Working with community leaders and Elders for local stories and dance, Rekindling inspires pride, kinship and a sense of strength in secondary-school aged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through a series of dance residencies. Dance and music fellowships are offered to graduates and early career artists to join the company to develop their talents and experience while contributing to the sustainability of their culture.
Sustaining Bangarra’s Knowledge Ground
Sustaining the cultural and social importance of their own stories, Bangarra shares the creative and on Country journeys they have travelled for each performance through the stories found in Knowledge Ground, Bangarra’s historical archive. Here, Bangarra adds another layer of cultural importance by sustaining and sharing their own stories, the creative process and their experiences of connecting with the hundreds of Country that exist across Australia. This important social history brings culture, community, place and people together for all who wish to connect.
Social cultural connections
Audiences from all over the world enjoy seeing the Indigenous stories told by Bangarra, whether it be through international touring or on stages in Australia. As a resident performing company of the Sydney Opera House, audiences also include overseas visitors of diverse cultural backgrounds and languages, who experience a unique performance, as they experience Indigenous Australia while they sit on Gadigal Country at Tubowgule (Bennelong Point). It’s a beautiful cultural exchange for the Company and the audience. Sustainable tourism research shows visitors want to gain a better understanding of a place and its people; Bangarra delivers this for Indigenous culture, the heart of Australia’s cultural story.
Walsh Bay – a sustainable and inclusive arts precinct
Bangarra Dance Theatre is housed in the historic Walsh Bay precinct. Here, 100-year-old heritage wharves have been turned into a world-class cultural facility. Located on Gadigal Country and the foreshore of Sydney Harbour, Walsh Bay Arts Precinct was created with a theme of sustainability, inclusivity and culture. Bangarra is one of nine of Australia’s leading performing arts companies that have created their cultural home and connect with their audiences and each other in this precinct. Here, audiences can enjoy an intimate performance.
Sustainability through experiences
Exclusive to Cultural Attractions of Australia, visitors can immerse in a VIP behind the scenes experience at Walsh Bay. Guests experience an Acknowledgement of Country and welcome Smoking Ceremony followed by canapés and cocktails in Dangarra O Badu, the light filled function space. A guided tour of Walsh Bay studio includes insights from Artistic Director Frances Rings. Enjoy a performance at Sydney Opera House (June – July only) or exclusive access to the Bangarra rehearsal room (rest of year).