Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Although I am not a dance critic,I have seen a lot of ballet, both old and new, and in this forum I can express my views. The Bangarra Dance Theatre brought their new work, "Fire", a retrospective celebrating the company's twentieth year, to the Canberra Theatre Centre on Friday November 20 and Saturday 21.

The two halves of the program showed off around thirty dances, each with its own story from mainland and islander cultures, and set in a range of periods from ancient traditional to modern social.

The performances were far too many and varied for me to comment usefully on, but I was powerfully impressed by the precision, professionalism, and presentation of every one of the dancers. I mention only one stand-out, Kathy Balngayngu Marika, whose style and dignity epitomised the importance of the elders in the aboriginal world.

When traditional dance meets modern dance, wonderful things can happen as the synergy of choreographers and dancers meet and blend. David Page's music gave a rich background to Stephen Page's concept and direction. The lighting was, as it should be, unobtrusive and excellent.

Malcolm Miller