About the ARtists
Photography by Jamie James
Big Dance Australia 2018 was created by acclaimed Indigenous choreographer Frances Rings and New Zealand born Craig Bary. The dance has all the hallmarks of the richness and beauty of Rings' work and Bary’s contemporary dance experience, offering participants access to a unique insight into Contemporary Aboriginal dance and culture.
The five-minute dance routine can be learnt by anyone in the world and includes versions to suit different capabilities, including standard and seated.
The dancers you see presenting the dance are developing artists from National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) Dance College.
In the choreography, Rings and Bary explored a number of themes and ideas including:
Indigenous and non-indigenous people coming together in a shared dialogue
Country; its spiritual heart, its red earth
Bloodlines and culture making up our shared identity
Breathing into our shared cultural life and sustaining that connection.
About the Big Dance 2018 Choreography
The choreography has three groups: black T-shirt group, a white T-shirt group, and a red T-shirt group. Rings explains their significance: ‘the black is the indigenous and the white is the non-Indigenous; the red is really the heart of our country. It’s the red soil, it’s our bloodline, it’s our lineage and it’s our spiritual heart of Australia, which is Uluru. And that is something that Indigenous and non-Indigenous people connect with.’
Each group (black, white, red) is assigned a different choreographic sequence/variation. Please note that these colour choices are symbolic and in no way literal. You may freely choose the group you follow, with a movement story you connect with and want to tell. Once you’ve selected a group you must stay with that group throughout the dance. Dance leaders, think about the size, formation and needs of your own participants and from this decide if you’d like everyone to dance the same variation, or learn all 3 group variations.
This choreography is about sharing the common love for Australian land in which this dance was created upon.
About the Choreographers
Frances Rings was born in Adelaide, and a descendant of the Kokatha people and is also of German descent. Frances joined Bangarra Dance Theatre in 1993 after graduating from NAISDA Dance College. Frances has choreographed 7 works for Bangarra Dance Theatre and works nationally and internationally as a freelance choreographer. Currently Frances is Head of Creative Studies at NAISDA Dance College.
Craig Bary is an active member of the dance community in Australia and New Zealand. He has been a founding member of key organisations such as The New Zealand Dance Company and Garry Stewart’s Australian Dance Theatre. Craig has worked with many different companies and choreographers and choreographed works on Sydney Dance Company, Footnote New Zealand Dance, and the iOU collective. Craig regularly works with The New Zealand School of Dance and is currently the Unit Manager for Contemporary Dance and Physical Theatre at NAISDA Dance College on the Central Coast of New South Wales.
About the Composer
Huey Benjamin has worked as a session and touring musician with many of Australia’s top recording artists and bands of the day as a drummer(including Yothu Yindi, Dragon, Peter Blakely, Wendy Matthews, Jenny Morris, Ian Moss, Slim Dusty, Anne Kirkpatrick, Deborah Conway and Dave Dobbyn. During this period he appeared at many top international music festivals and events, as well as performing on several chart hits in Australia and internationally. Huey has composed the score for five of choreographer Narelle Benjamin’s stage works Inside Out (2004) and Out of Water (2005) for the One Extra Dance Company and Gossamer (2006) for the Sydney Dance Company, Figment for the 2007 Sydney Festival, and In Glass for the 2010 Spring Dance Festival, and Hiding in Plain Sight (2014, Performance Space at Carriageworks). With choreographer Garry Stewart, Huey has composed for the works The Centre & It’s Opposite (The Royal Birmingham Ballet Company, W.A. Ballet), UnBlack (Ballet Du Rhin France), Worldhood and Proximity (Australian Dance Theatre), Monument (The Australian Ballet) and Object (Royal Ballet Flanders). Huey is also currently the music and film production lecturer at the Indigenous performing arts college NAISDA.