Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: Blak (Bangarra Dance Theatre)

Bangarra’s latest offering emerges out of consultation with tradition communities in the Northern Territory in February this year. ‘Blak’ consists of three portraits titled ‘Scar’, ‘Yearning’ and ‘Keepers’.

In ‘Scar’ we are observers as a gang of young boys prepare for the physical and mental challenges in their journey to manhood.  In ‘Yearning’ the female domain traverses birth, loss, language, powerlessness and self-identity. The final portrait engages all fourteen dancers in homage to the legacy of traditional culture and knowledge.

As expected the collaboration on stage is impressive, and the costuming elegant and sensuous. My personal highlight came late with the erotic and mesmerizing coupling of dancers in ‘Keepers’.

But the majority of subject matter is far from pretty. Dark themes pervade this production, including fighting, fear, suicide, and domestic violence. Important themes to be sure, and yet I craved a dose of hope within the mix.  Continue reading

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