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HomeTheatreREVIEW: SandSong: Tales from the Nice Sandy Barren region (Auckland Arts Pageant)

REVIEW: SandSong: Tales from the Nice Sandy Barren region (Auckland Arts Pageant)

Pictures by means of Daniel Boud

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are steered that this evaluation comprises the identify of anyone who has passed on to the great beyond. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audience of the paintings also are warned that SandSong comprises photographs and voices of deceased individuals.

A shimmering, molten backdrop – gold and pink like the outside of the solar or a crucible of pink scorching valuable steel – stretches the total width and top of the ASB Waterfront Theatre Auditorium. That is handiest one of the photographs SandSong sears into the thoughts of the viewer.

Evoking the unfathomable scale and great thing about the Kimberley and Nice Sandy Barren region areas (a mixed house of 700,000 sq. kilometres) SandSong used to be created by means of Bangarra Dance Theatre in session with Wangkatjungka and Walmajarri Elders. The paintings tells their tales and stocks their wisdom in 4 acts, traversing each the cultural disruption and bodily displacement Aboriginal other folks have skilled, and providing visions of Indigenous futures. 

The paintings used to be caused by means of Bangarra collaborator Ningali Josie Lawford-Wolf, a Wangkatjungka lady. Lawford-Wolf had instructed making a piece impressed by means of the Kimberley in 2019 however unfortunately passed on to the great beyond later that yr. SandSong honours her reminiscence and attracts at the wisdom of her siblings Putuparri Tom Lawford and Eva Nargoodah who took on roles as cultural advisors. 

The divisions of the 4 acts mirror seasonal and ancient shifts. Act 1 is titled ‘Makurra, Chilly Dry Season’ and displays lifestyles within the Kimberley earlier than Wangkatjungka and Walmajarri other folks had been compelled off the land and foreshadows the arriving of white colonists; Act 2 ‘Parranga, Sizzling Dry Season’ displays exchange happening and a dirt hurricane brewing; Act 3 ‘Kartiya’ (that means White Particular person) begins with the recording of an auctioneer, a harsh interruption of the land and other folks, and depicts time spent at the stations earlier than a climatic stroll off and go back to the desolate tract; and Act 4 ‘Yitilal, Rainy Season’ displays therapeutic, demonstrating that even this intergenerational trauma can’t destroy the cycle.

Around the acts conventional dances are offered in addition to authentic choreography (Stephen Web page and Francis Rings). Parts of the motion vocabulary had been new to me. In puts the foot after which the leg leads as though the remainder of the frame is auxiliary to the leg fairly than the leg being outer edge to the central torso (because the limb in large part seems in Western recent dance). The revel in, for a viewer with out wisdom of conventional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance practices, or a familiarity with recent dances practices as established by means of NAISDA Dance School (Nationwide Aboriginal Islander Talents Building Affiliation), and even Bangarra’s wider oeuvre, is corresponding to the problem of being attentive to a language you handiest know a handful of phrases from. Which means is conveyed, however you understand the wonderful thing about the sentence construction eludes you. 

On the other hand, this isn’t alienating, it’s as an alternative a revelatory revel in. The rest that could be neglected when it comes to the historical past conveyed is obtainable in intensive programme notes. And, although you didn’t have the perception of the programme, the track riding the efficiency (scored by means of composer Steve Francis and interwoven with a spread of recorded voices and standard songs) supplies emotive cues transparent sufficient to bridge the cultural divides.

Over the process the efficiency the sunshine falling on that glittering gold backdrop shifts and it turns into gleaming black blue rock. Some other lights exchange and one way or the other it seems that to be a wall of flame or mud roaring thru a far off tree line. It’s astonishingly stunning and speaks to the elegant high quality of the entire parts of this manufacturing.

Bangarra Dance Theatre obviously deserve their popularity as some of the unique theatrical voices within the Australian acting arts trade. SandSong is a piece that burns on within the thoughts’s eye smartly after the overall bows had been taken.

 SandSong performed the ASB Waterfront Theatre fifteenth to the 18th of March 2023 as a part of the Auckland Artwork Pageant



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