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  • Crispin Till

    Email Crispin Till

    Bangarra dancers go back to country on Thursday Island

    An ensemble of 19 members from the internationally acclaimed Bangarra Dance Theatre is on Thursday Island this week to present a performance of I.B.I.S, a dance inspired by the Torres Strait Island community.

    The performance forms part of the company’s annual “Back to Country” residency, with Bangarra’s artistic director Stephen Page saying it was a vital part of the creative process and an opportunity to give back to the community.

    It will be the first time I.B.I.S, which was created by dancers Deborah Brown and Waangenga Blanco in 2015, has been seen in the community.

    “Our entire repertoire is inspired by our land and our people,” he said.

    “For Bangarra to take I.B.I.S back to its origins, and where Deborah and Waangenga’s families are from, is incredibly special.

    “It will be the perfect time for the dancers to rejuvenate their spirit and connect to country.”

    The residency will be a busy few days for the ensemble and includes dance workshops for local youths, a cultural day with respected elders and a small group, including NBA star Patty Mills, will also travel to neighbouring Mer Island.

    Dancers Elma Kris and Nicola Sabatino will also use the residency to research their upcoming work Whistler, which will be performed as part of the Ones Country - the spine of our stories season at Carriageworks in Sydney in late November.


    The Thursday Island residency comes on the back of Bangarra’s recent Sydney and Canberra seasons of Bennelong, the company’s most successful seasons to date.

    Stephen’s 24th work for the company was popular with audiences and critics, selling more than 17,250 tickets during its sold-out, five-week run at Sydney Opera House. This result surpasses the previous best-selling show, 2014’s Patyegarang.