Terrain: Bringing spirit, purpose and strength to the stage

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Terrain: Bringing spirit, purpose and strength to the stage

A powerful fusion of contemporary dance and storytelling, Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Terrain takes you on a journey, transporting audiences to Lake Eyre, the place of Australia’s inland sea, and will be featured at Geelong’s GPAC next month as part of a regional tour.

Exploring the relationship of Indigenous people to country, Frances Rings’ Terrain, first seen in 2012, is Bangarra Dance Theatre’s most beautiful work, awarded two Helpmann Awards and now entering its fourth remount – indicating its timeless story.

Terrain explores the fundamental connection between Aboriginal people and the land. Choreographed by Frances as her first and only full work, she is truly grateful to work with a creative team at Bangarra who truly believed in her vision, making storytelling possible.
“Bangarra is one of those companies that really believes in the vision of nurturing the next generation and I have been fortunate to be one of the recipients of that. Bangarra continues to support the next generation of indigenous storytellers coming through, it’s one of the most important things about the company.”

Ahead of Geelong’s run of shows, Frances is looking forward to see how the production translates, and how the audience will react to her work.

“Everyone’s going to take something different away, and have their own perception of the work. That’s the beautiful thing about art, you take from it what you need, but for this work particularly, I think we have a lot to be proud of in Australia. Our landscape is one of our richest and greatest treasures and I think that’s something that collectively, indigenous and non-indigenous, we share that pride in our landscape.

“I really wanted to share our experience of what country means to us and even if we live in urban areas or regional areas, or cities, towns, where ever we live, that we build that innate connection, that ancestral connection that has been passed on through our bloodline, connecting us to country. It’s through this lens that I wanted to share that connection, and what that means to us.”

Exploring the timeless beauty of Lake Eyre, the powerful choreography explores the struggle between man and environment within Australia’s plentiful but delicate landscape. In hopes of sharing the story with regional communities, touring regionally is a crucial part to Bangarra Dance Theatre, to bring awareness to the concerns with the health of our country.

“It’s sharing how indigenous people, our connection with the country and what it means to us, especially today,” Frances says. “That responsibility, we share that with non indigenous people, we share this country and I think we should all share how they help this country.”

With a 16-member dance ensemble, with dancers from various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander regions of Australia, Frances explains that the production is ever-evolving each time, giving Bangarra dancers the freedom to express themselves, whilst still honouring the original choreography, and ensuring each production is truly unique.

“It does kind of change with different people who have their own interpretation of doing a role,” she says. “There is respect given to the previous people that held those roles and who were first cast, but I like to think that each person that comes in still has their own interpretation of that. They bring their own spirit, and their own experience of what that particular story means to them, and I think that freshness, and that renewal of created vision is really important as well.”

When & Where: GPAC, Geelong – March 2 – 4

For ticket information, visit GPAC website.

Written by Talia Rinaldo