Blak – Bangarra Dance Theatre

Hunter Lochard Page, Beau Dean Riley Smith, Daniel Riley McKinley-Photo Greg Barrett Photo:  Greg Barrett
Hunter Lochard Page, Beau Dean Riley Smith, Daniel Riley McKinley-Photo Greg Barrett
Photo: Greg Barrett

To dance is one of life’s great gifts. It is the physical metamorphosis of emotion too intense to contain within the body. Be it joy, sadness, fear or pain, to dance is to be free, and those who dance well have the capacity to convey their own story through movement.

Bangarra Dance Theatre’s opening act of their 2013 program has set the bar high for future productions. A journey in three parts, the dancers weave an intricate story with their bodies that covers the spectrum of human emotion.

While a clan of men gather under the cover of darkness to face traditions that conflict with the modern world, the women show their strength through fragility as loved ones are born and lost to this world.

Challenging society’s stigma, and taking stories from the suburban streets, the cast of Blak are deeply moving as they tumble, slide and slink onto the stage in a varying array of shifting silhouettes.

What is most remarkable about this company is the sheer freedom of the dancers. While some forms of dance can seem restrictive (classical ballet anyone?) Bangarra embraces the joy of human movement and the beauty of the spirit through the epic choreography of Daniel Riley McKinley and Stephen Page and their stunning crew of dancers.

Yolande Brown Photo: Greg Barrett
Yolande Brown
Photo: Greg Barrett

Blak is contemporary dance, presented by some of the most outstanding contemporary dancers in Australia. The experience was heightened by the simple, evocative set design of Jacob Nash, the exceptional lighting by Matt Cox, and incredible costumes designed by Luke Ede. Their combined skills allowed the dancers to seamlessly transform from a unique urban style to a naturalistic approach.

The entire performance, from set design to the haunting score from David Page and Paul Mac was faultless. However, it was the dancers themselves that brought the true magic of the soul to the stage. Their raw emotion, so evident in their movement, is an incredible tribute to the gift and strength we all embody.

Bangarra Dance Theatre: Blak

Arts Centre, Melbourne: 3-11 May 2013

IPAC, Wollongong: 17 & 18 May 2013

Sydney Opera House: 7-22 June 2013

Canberra Theatre Centre: 11-13 July 2013

QPAC, Brisbane: 18-27 July 2013

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