Review

Two new faces for Bangarra

Bangarra Dance Theatre recently welcomed two new dancers into the wonderful Bangarra family. Lillian Banks, a Yawuru woman from Broome, Western Australia and Brad Smith, a Gumbaynggirr man from Coffs Harbour, New South Wales have joined the company for 12 months of professional experience and training through the Russell Page Graduate Program.

Brad Smith and Lillian Banks. Photo: Supplied

Brad Smith and Lillian Banks. Photo: Supplied

The two young dancers made their debut last month as part of Bangarra’s regional tour of OUR Land People Stories and performed in the highly acclaimed Bennelong at the Adelaide Festival. Sydney-siders will have the opportunity to see the pair when they perform in the world premiere of Stephen Page’s Dark Emu in June 2018 at the Opera House.

Both are very excited to be performing alongside dancers they have looked up to throughout their four-year-long training at the elite NAISDA Dance College. They are honoured to be given this opportunity to develop their talent under the nurturing mentorship of Bangarra’s dancers, choreographers and creatives.

Moving away from her hometown to Sydney could have been an overwhelming experience for Lillian. However, two company members formerly from Broome made her feel that she had moved to a home away from home. Lillian’s earliest interest was in sport – netball and basketball – and although she studied dance as a subject while at St Mary’s College (Broome) it was some time before she realised that dancing had a special meaning for her. In 2017 at NAISDA’s graduation performance Restoration, Lillian won high praise for her thoughtful solo.

Brad’s pathway into dance came through gymnastics. He generally enjoyed “chucking himself around”, was into hip-hop and watching dance movies. His mother’s influence first directed his interest towards dance however he later discovered a deep interest in, and commitment, to Indigenous dance. He too received acclaim for an outstanding solo at his graduation. While originally nervous at dancing with a company that excelled at its craft, Brad felt that the fatherly attitude of the older members gave him warmth and support.

We look forward to seeing these two young people at the Opera House in June this year, and applaud the generous donors who support the Russell Page Graduate Program and contribute to the future of the Bangarra Dance Theatre.

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