What was it like growing up as a dancer in Canberra? What inspired you to begin dancing?
I did most of my contemporary dance training at QL2 Centre for Youth Dance. I was a part of Quantum Leap for 6 years. Being in that creative environment that they produce for young dancers is what convinced me that dance was a legitimate career, and it's really where the fire within me ignited to pursue dance.
In what ways does the performance depict a distinctly Wiradjuri experience?
The fact that I am a Wiradjuri man, and Michael is a Wiradjuri man makes it a Wiradjuri experience. We both share the same views on things like the demonisation of black beliefs by white settlers. And a lot of the research I did into the images was from a Wiradjuri perspective, like what the feather image means.
Is it also representational of a wider indigenous and/or Australian experience?
Absolutely. The work isn't just aimed at a certain audience. Everyone who sees it will hopefully takeaway something different from it. I've tried to create a piece of dance that everyone can connect to and understand, not just the indigenous audience. And to introduce Michael and his images to the dance audience.
What challenges did you face in creating of earth and sky?
There were daily challenges in terms of choreography and staging. Figuring out how to fit this piece of choreography in that small amount of counts, what do I cut, what do I leave? Then the next day I would come back I start second guessing my own decisions. And all the creative challenges in terms of, does it read the way it should? Is my idea and message translating? Am I being true to Michael's images and vision?
This is your debut choreographic work with Bangarra - how was the experience of choreographing different to your previous experiences of rehearsing and performing?
Performing and choreographing are completely different experiences. […] The hardest thing to begin with for me was straight away jumping over to the choreographer/director bench. […] But we are a close knit family and get along really well, so if someone wants to put their hand up to take over creatively, everyone is open to that.
What makes of earth and sky different to other Bangarra performances?
It gives the audience a real teaser and look into the future of the company. They won't necessarily recognise the movement quality and style. I'm bringing something fresh into the company because I am so young and have come from a different background, and Frances is developing as an artist and choreographer with every work she makes, so it's nice to present something new and fresh but something that still contains that energy and spirit of Bangarra and what we stand for as an Indigenous dance company.
Bangarra Dance Theatre performs of earth and sky at the Playhouse, CTC, on September 3 and 4.