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fish, 1997

Fish continues the story of the earth and the power of the elements that began with Ochres, taking the journey to the vast bodies of water. As disparate, as diverse as Aboriginal identity itself, Fish celebrates the seas, the rivers, the swamps and the wealth of life and mystery they contain.

Swamp: The swamps and the mangroves are still waters, deep, murky and mystical, sites of great sacredness and spirituality. Drawing on stories and traditions from Dhalimbouy, Swamp imagines the great swathes of life in the silent depths, fish as unborn souls—fearful of pain, ready for birth, awaiting their moment in the sun.

Traps: Traps juxtaposes Western ways with the ancient, challenging the notion of hooking and gutting with the slow lure and catch of old. Inspired by the craft and the intricate workmanship of the grand fishing traps from Ramingining, this most contemporary of ballets traces the fishing cycle—the drawing of fish from the water to the restoration of remains to the earth. Stark consequences flow from disruption to such a cycle, to tradition born in the time of the Dreaming. Without the ritual of return the soul is lost in time and place, grasping after stolen memories with no way of getting home.

Reef: Inspired by the Torres Strait, the vibrant blues, the rich purples, the deep dramatic greens of Reef evoke the clash and contrast of culture and colour found at the water's edge. The salt in the air and the strength in the waves, the breath of the wind and the beat of the earth merge into one majestic whole. The exhilaration and energy of life and love are blended in a rich simplicity, as Australia's two Indigenous peoples, the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islanders, celebrate the windswept tenderness of the reef. Stephen Page later adapted Fish for the screen, with the film showing on SBS in January 1999. [Text courtesy of Bangarra Dance Theatre.]

credits: director, choreographer Stephen Page, original score David Page, cultural design Djakapurra Munyarryun, set design Peter England, costume design Jennifer Irwin, lighting design Mark Howett

performances: Edinburgh, August 1997; Sydney Opera House, September 1997; Enmore Theatre, Sydney, March 1998; Playhouse, Canberra, April 1998

reviews/articles -realtime

timely dreaming
keith gallasch, realtime 20, august-september, 1997

the history of our dancing bodies is becoming hot
eleanor brickhill, realtime 22, december 1997-january 1998


fish, king’s theatre
mary brennan, the herald (scotland), august 13, 1997

fish, bangarra, king’s theatre
christopher bowen, the scotsman, august 13, 1997

distress call from heart of australia
debra craine, the times, august 14, 1997

bangarra’s fish makes a splash at edinburgh fest
matthew westwood, the australian, august 15, 1997

a taste of raw fish
jane cornwell, sydney morning herald, august 15, 1997

putting on a brave front
zoe anderson, independent on sunday, august 17, 1997

the week in reviews—edinburgh dance
jann parry, the observer, august 17, 1997

all the fun of the fest
david dougill, sunday times, august 17, 1997

arts festival goes back to nature
christopher andreae, christian science monitor, august 20, 1997

bangarra’s power of spontaneity nullified by conformity
sonia humphrey, the australian, september 22, 1997

nice set, shame about the action
michelle potter, canberra times, september 23, 1997

edinburgh international festival
christopher bowen, dance magazine, december 1, 1997

dance review
sonia humphrey, the australian, march 6, 1998

crossing cultural lines
larry ruffell, canberra times, april 25, 1998

dancing into a new world
canberra times, april 28, 1998

underwater world
doug anderson, sydney morning herald, january 18, 1999


RealTime issue #0 pg. web

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