Stephen Page’s final production as Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre – a role he will leave in early 2023after 32 years at the helm – is a hugely ambitious, breathtaking production that takes the company into exciting new territory.
Co-produced with Sydney Theatre Company and presented here in association with Sydney Festival, Wudjang: Not the Pastis performed by 17 dancers, four musicians and five actor/singers. While Page’s marvellous 2017 production Bennelong used recorded language, Wudjang: Not the Past combines dance with recorded and live spoken word and song.
There’s no mistaking Wudjang: Not the Pastas a Bangarra production, but it also has an operatic quality. In his program notes, Page calls it “narrative dance theatre and contemporary ceremony”, but you could just as easily call it a dance opera, so beautifully wedded are the music, song and dance.
Page choreographed the piece with the dancers and co-wrote the poetic text with dramaturg Alana Valentine, using two languages: the...