Tracker, a First Nations Story

Tracker – ‘Deeply Personal and Immensely Powerful’

Australian Dance Theatre

The many threads of First Nations storytelling are woven together on stage in Australian Dance Theatre’s (ADT) first major work of 2023.

ADT’s Artistic Director – choreographer, Wiradjuri man Daniel Riley, draws upon contemporary dance, theatre, music and ceremony to tell the story of his great-great uncle, Alec “Tracker” Riley, the legendary tracker who served on the New South Wales Police Force for 40 years.

Between 1911-1950, Tracker Riley, who became that State’s first Indigenous police sergeant, used his unique cultural knowledge and instinct to investigate murders, capture offenders and find missing people around Dubbo in central NSW.

As an Elder of his community Tracker Riley also forged a path between the enforced colonial system and his Wiradjuri lore.

Now, his remarkable story is brought to life by a team of celebrated First Nations creatives led by Tracker Riley’s great-great nephew, Daniel.

“This is a story I have wanted to tell for a very long time,” said Daniel Riley.

“It is the truths, the landscapes of my family and while it is my very personal version of a family legend it is also my way of exploring shared cultural resilience down through the generations.”

In a breakaway from a traditional stage performance, Tracker invites audiences into an open and transformative ceremonial space to encourage them to not just observe but engage with and experience First Nations storytelling.

“Contemporary black dance theatre is a gathering and I have used all pillars of our First Nations story telling to tell Uncle Alec’s story,” said Daniel Riley.

“People coming to watch Tracker may know only a little about him but hopefully they will leave the performance with a greater understanding of the moral, ethical and cultural issues that existed back then and despite the passage of time, are still so present for First Nations people in 2023.”

Reviews from Tracker’s world premiere at the Sydney Festival have been outstanding:

“The genius of Tracker is that it pulls no punches, but it does so through art. Poetry, music and
dance can be powerful weapons, and this company wields them well.” LIMELIGHT

“It is the type of theatre that simply must be experienced.” Time Out Sydney

“It is almost impossible to leave Tracker without feeling deeply moved.” The Saturday Paper

Now, after sold-out seasons at the Sydney and Perth Festivals, Tracker will be performed across an eight-day season as part of the Adelaide Festival from 10-18 March at Australian Dance Theatre, The Odeon, Norwood.

It will then return to South Australia in October and November, touring across the state with the support of Country Arts SA.

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