Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing arts company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, is delighted to announce the world-premiere of its first ever mainstage cross-cultural collaboration, Horizon.
This powerful new work from two of the world’s great First Nations choreographers, will premiere at the Sydney Opera House in June before touring across Australia in 2024.
Māori choreographer and Arts Laureate Moss Te Ururangi Patterson joins beloved Bangarra alumna Deborah Brown to guide the company’s award-winning ensemble in stories that honour their mother countries and the spirit that guides them home.
Horizon honours the First Peoples of the Oceania region, spanning across the continent now known as Australia, the Torres Strait Islands and our southern neighbour, Aoteoroa. This story of resilience explores the cultural forces that bind us together, across oceans and eons.
Patterson, a proud mokopuna (grandson) of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa tribe, was born near Lake Taupō. He has created a significant body of work for Atamira Dance Company, New Zealand’s pioneering contemporary Māori dance theatre, and this year brought his extensive experience to the role of Chief Executive and Artistic Director at The New Zealand Dance Company. Throughout his career, Patterson has choreographed for major events and grassroots levels with acclaimed Indigenous artists and has been honoured with choreographic awards from Tempo Dance Festival, Toi Māori and Creative New Zealand. Describing his sense of home as a living entity, he carries it within like a beating heart.
Brown is a proud descendant of the Wakaid Clan and Meriam people in the Torres Strait with Scottish heritage. A Senior Dancer with Bangarra for 13 years, Brown was awarded the Helpmann Award for her mesmerising performance in Frances Rings’ critically acclaimed Terrain. In 2013, Brown made her choreographic and directorial debut with Dive. Since then, she has collaborated with leading artists across the country in works of powerful storytelling.
Horizon will open with the expanded iteration of Saibailayg (Saibai Islander) Sani Townson’s acclaimed work Kulka, which debuted as part of Dance Clan in 2023. This work pays homage to Sani’s grandfather and his Torres Strait heritage.
Townson is a descendant of the Saibai Koedal and Samu Clans of Saibai Island. Townson joined Bangarra Dance Theatre as a Dancer in 2001, and currently works within the Youth Program Team at Bangarra. As an independent artist, Townson has collaborated with Qantas on their ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ campaign, with Gondwana Choirs on the first ever Indigenous children’s opera, the Arafura Games in Darwin, NAISDA Dance College and internationally at the Shanghai World Expo.
Bangarra Dance Theatre Artistic Director Frances Rings says of Horizon, “I am especially proud of commissioning our new mainstage work for 2024 – a double bill featuring three incredible First Nations choreographers. Horizon represents a fresh and dynamic new chapter in Bangarra’s artistic and cultural Songline by supporting new Indigenous choreographic voices and building relationships with international First Nations artists to share story, song and dance.”
Rings continues, “I believe that opportunities like this open us to a broader global First Nations perspective on issues that impact our People and Country, and the responsibility we carry to give a platform to the uniqueness of our stories through contemporary and cultural expressions. I’m excited to share this new step in Bangarra’s artistic programming with audiences across the Country.”
Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Horizon will premiere at the Sydney Opera House from 11 June – 13 July 2024. For more information, including other performance dates and tickets, visit www.bangarra.com.au/productions/horizon.