Bangarra: Three New Australian Stories

Rebecca Varidel
14th Nov 2017

Bangarra’s new season opens next week at Carriageworks

Following their recent critical and box office smash BennelongBangarra is back in Sydney in November with a season of homegrown stories. ONES COUNTRY – the spine of our stories plays at Carriageworks from 24 November 24th to December 2nd.

Co-presented by Carriageworks, this diverse program brings together the choreographic talents of Bangarra dancers Elma Kris & Nicola Sabatino (Whistler); Kaine Sultan-Babij (Place); and Bangarra foundation member and Yolngu songman Djakapurra Munyarryun (Yalu). This will be Bangarra’s second foray at Carriageworks, after a successful season of Ochres in 2015.

 The Artistic Director of Bangarra, Stephen Page, said there was a myriad of stories to be unearthed from within the company.

 “It’s incredible to see original, authentic Australian stories coming from the dancers; their stories, their heritage, their land inspires the stories we tell,” explains Page.

 “To see Djakapurra working in our studios again and passing on his knowledge to the next generation, it’s a beautiful continuation of our songline and shows how strong our connection to culture is.”

 Director of Carriageworks, Lisa Havilah, welcomed the world-class company back to the venue.

Bangarra’s relationships with Indigenous communities are the heart of their practice, their repertoire is created on country and stories gathered from community Elders. Located on Gadigal land, Carriageworks’ Indigenous history and place is central to our Artistic Program and we are proud to welcome back our friends and partner Bangarra this November with a triple bill of new works and contemporary Australian stories.”


Djakapurra Munyarryun has a long and rich association with Bangarra, starting his career alongside Stephen in the early 1990s. He is a respected Elder from Dhalinybuy in North East Arnhem Land, appearing in many of Bangarra’s productions as a dancer, singer and didgeridoo player. Yalu is the first choreographic work he will have created for Bangarra.

Bangarra dancers Elma Kris and Nicola Sabatino will be teaming up on Whistler, a Torres Strait Island story inspired by the sacred call of the dugong. Elma and Nicola are both proud Torres Strait Islander women and their collaboration is bound to be something special. Elma has previously choreographed two works for BangarraEmeret Lu (2007, True Stories) and About (2011, Belong), while Whistler will be Nicola’s choreographic debut for the company.

Place is dancer Kaine Sultan-Babij’s first choreographic work for Bangarra. His family totem is the caterpillar, informing his choreography in a series of fluid, grounded undulations. Kaine has drawn on his own personal experience to examine the challenges and shifting perceptions of what being black and queer means for a young Aboriginal man in today’s world.

Join us on an Australian journey of discovery, unearthing myths and stories from the desert heart of North East Arnhem Land; to the azure salt waters of the Torres Strait Island; to an exploration of Indigenous urban life.

Artistic Director Stephen Page

Choreography Djakapurra Munyarryun (Yalu)
Elma Kris and Nicola Sabatino (Whistler)

Kaine Sultan-Babij (Place)

Costume Design Jennifer Irwin

Set Design Jacob Nash

Music Steve Francis

Lighting Design Matt Cox

Image Djakapurra Munyarryun, Elma Kris and Kaine Sultan-Babij: ONES COUNTRY Bangarra, photo by Edward Mulvihill