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Bangarra Terrain, as part of Nandhu
Bangarra Terrain, as part of NandhuBangarra Terrain, as part of Nandhu

Bangarra Dance Theatre launches behind-the-scenes digital platform

Packed with performance vids, interviews and insights, it digs deeper into archival shows

Written by
Stephen A Russell

We’ve been spoiled recently with the Sydney Opera House’s digital program From Our House to Yours dropping not one, but two deadly performances by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander company Bangarra Dance Theatre, in Bennelong and Terrain.

Now you can delve even deeper as Bangarra launches behind-the-scenes streaming platform Nandhu. Meaning ‘to be close’ in the Wiradjuri language, it's an extension of the company's 'Knowledge Ground' online offering. Essentially a sneak peek portal, it draws us into the company’s rich creative process, championing the work of artistic director Stephen Page and his collaborators. “It’s our way of staying connected with you, even when we can’t be on stage,” Page says.

Offering way more than admittedly gorgeous archival performances, Knowledge Ground - Nandhu unpicks the strands woven into each work, enriching our understanding with accompanying interviews, how-to classes and other insights. Online offerings guide us through each story, telling us more about the lands and people who’ve inspired it, the creative team, and ideas for how to continue your experience once the digital curtain has fallen.

Nandhu launches by unveiling what went into creating Helpmann Award-winning show Terrain (2012). Choreographed by associate artistic director Frances Rings, a descendant of the Kokatha Tribe from the West Coast of South Australia, it transports us to the spectacular expanse of Lake Eyre in South Australia. The lake is often dubbed Australia’s inland sea, and the traditional owners the Arabunna call it Kati Thanda. 

You’ll be able to listen to Rings' recollection of the work and follow the ideas that inform it. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a smooth mover, you can have a go at replicating the excellence of Bangarra company member Rikki Mason. A descendent of the Kullili people from South West Queensland, he’ll walk you through warm-up, and then into a movement from ‘Salt’, one of Terrain’s nine sections.

Other treats include stunning photo galleries detailing the design inspirations of costume designer Jennifer Irwin, and set designer Jacob Nash leads a kid-friendly art class ideal for home-schooling. You’ll also be able to take a time out listening to the blissful majesty of Terrain’s music, as composed by the late, great and dearly missed David Page.

Can't wait to find out more about one of our favourite dance companies? Here’s Bennelong, care of From Our House to Yours

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

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Image: Supplied

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