Belong | Bangara Dance TheatrePhotos – Jeff Busby

‘From here you are born into a world. From here you will learn…’ (ID, Belong)

About by Torres Strait choreographer Elma Kris opens with the image of a figure, in the mist, alone. The image grows brighter to reveal a woman, who looks into the distance, through the bulging mist. This is the Storyteller (Elma Kris). About is the story of the four winds of the Torres Strait; Zey, Kuki, Naygay and Sager. It is a cross fusion of classical and contemporary dance, with music by David Page and Steve Francis and is soothing, volatile, pumping, rolling and as warm as the winds.

Set designer Jacob Nash and lighting designer Matt Cox concoct a wonderful feeling of the changing temperature, pace, season and severity of the power of the winds in the natural world. This combination of creative talent throughout all of Belong support and enhance the landscape, with costuming by Emma Howell, building colour, texture, and utilising glad wrap and vegemite in the most humorous and darkly evocative way.

ID choreographed by the legendary Stephen Page, begins with an elder Aboriginal woman hovering inside the frame of a black and white film projection. The piece ends with the idea of unity, which emerges from a fractured identity. In ID, the only constant is the elder woman from which everything else originates.

ID contains a visceral approach to the constructing and deconstructing of identity and makes a point of having it inflicted by another. A woman wrapped in glad wrap, and an apron clad, bare-chested man enters a stark stage. There is a Dexter-type feel to the set up. Accompanied by the sounds of cracking, and snapping, her body is twisted at the hip and pulled, ankle, and arm also attacked. Extraordinarily, a cacophony of heart-felt gasps and genuine ‘urgghhhs’ fill the auditorium, as the image is ‘dismembered’.

Belong, with carefully thought out, and finely detailed contemporary hybridisation of traditional Torres Strait Islander dance, jazz, aikido, reminiscences of Hatha yoga (Odin Teatret), contemporary dance and classical ballet, is a thumping heart of a work. There have been scarce occasions one sentence serves to describe a work: ‘outstanding, mesmerising, and prolific’, but Bangara Dance Theatre’s Belong deserves absolutely nothing less.

Bangara Dance Theatre presents

Choreographers Elma Kris (ABOUT) and Stephen Page (ID)

Venue: Playhouse Theatre, The Arts Centre
Dates: 15 – 24 September 2011
Tickets: $25 – $168
Bookings: | 1300 182 183

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