It's a mesmerising experience witnessing the translation of the First Nation's Peoples' connection to country into the vocabulary of dance. Lake Eyre's landscapes transform before your eyes as dancers' bodies merge and collide, float and tumble, stretch and collapse, moving through a stream of endlessly beautiful stage pictures. Bangarra Dance Theatre are in Brisbane performing Terrain, choreographed by Frances Rings, and to quote her words from the program notes, "Terrain is where spirit and place meet."
Terrain takes the audience on a journey to Lake Eyre. On stage, 9 stories move before us; we see Lake Eyre's moods, textures, the immenseness, the abundance and the scarcity of its cycles. The men's ensemble with white shields in hand, with strength and stamina touch upon the topic of land rights in the piece Shields. White sand trickles through a dancer's fingers, the dust lingering like an ancient calling in the piece Reborn. Wiry tree fragments adorn the tops of heads as the ladies' ensemble represents Spinifex through staccato, sporadic and writhing movement. There is no pause in the flow of movement as the rains come. In Deluge the dancers, in an almost random succession, pour onto the stage in pairs and all we see are their hands running like a rivulet, carving down and across a bare back.
The dramatic and vast backdrops created by set designer Jacob Nash are stunning visual artwork in their own right and the rich interplay that occurs between the costuming, by Jennifer Irwin, is an alluring pallet of colours and textures inspired by the soulful depths of Lake Eyre. Original music composed by David Page adds another emotive and rousing layer to Terrain that has the heart rate keeping pace with the action on stage.
Bangarra Dance Theatre's company of dancers brought the sacredness and poignancy of Terrain to light with verve and grace. Their bodies moving and transposing the physical, emotional and spiritual lands of this country (specifically Lake Eyre) and its people into a phrase of movement, a moment poised in time, a vivid physical and visual picture, both romantic and brutally honest inside the space of the stage. Terrain is captivating and inspirational, words that are easily synonymous with Bangarra's work.
Bangarra Dance Theatre presents
Directed by Stephen Page
Venue: Playhouse, QPAC, South Bank, Brisbane
Dates: 3 - 7 Oct, 2012
More Info: www.bangarra.com.au