Ochres by Bangarra Dance Theatre

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Ochres is a magnificent dance work, which skilfully combines the traditional Indigenous Aboriginal Australian movements and the modern contemporary movements from today’s society. Collaboratively choreographed by Stephen Page, Bernadette Walong and Djakapurra a member of the Yirrkala tribe, Ochres premiered in Sydney, 1995 by the Bangarra Dance Theatre. The performance represents the cultural and spiritual significance linked to ochre within the Aboriginal people. The unique interpretation of the Aboriginal culture often leaves the audience expressionless due to its uncloying nature. Throughout Ochres many politico- cultural points were subtly interwoven into the depicted Indigenous story however; it was created so to take its audience on different cultural journeys. Therefore, each individual won’t emotionally understand the politico-cultural points, based on how they interpret the movements. The fusion of traditional and modern movements, both Aboriginal and contemporary are carried through the Prologue and all four sections of the performance; Yellow, Black, Red and White, these four sections are the four main colours of the Indigenous culture.

The collaborative dance piece is a creative fusion of Stephen Page and Bernadette Walong’s traditional and contemporary movements. The traditional Aboriginal movements are overtly shown throughout the piece and are evident when the women appear to be dancing with a broken leg. This movement is shown where the foot is flexed and the knee is bent representing the animalistic nature of Aboriginal culture. Throughout the section ‘Black’ the symbolism of heroism and authority of the male spirit are represented by the instinctive hunting style of the man and the movement of wiping of ochres across the forehead. Additionally the contemporary technique is represented in the section ‘Red’ by the use of parallel feet and contractions and release, used throughout the entire piece of Ochres. To this day, the unique fusion of...
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