With the unveiling of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s new production ‘Terrain’, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Artist in Residence & Choreographer Frances Rings today.
Terrain is Frances’ sixth work for Bangarra after joining the company in 1993 as a dancer.
How do you feel your work and the Company has evolved since you became involved in 1993?
Bangarra has evolved in many ways through production of works inspired by black Australia; connecting to our cultural heritage and translating it into refined stage performances and by presenting it in different ways.
What are your main sources of choreographic inspiration?
For this work, I was inspired by wanting to do an investigation into the relationship between land and country and how it forms your identity and family structure. Artistic Director Stephen Page encouraged me. I did a lot of research. I went out to Lake Eyre when it was both full and empty and experienced its two lives. I got a sense of country and one of the elders passed on his experiences and stories of the land. Languages have been lost, traditions, dance and heritage have been lost. But the countries ancestors still live there, it still holds spirit – I wanted to explore it more on a deeper level and it translates beautifully to dance. All that time spent out there bubbled up into an organic process of choreographing this work. I find if I do enough research the story evolves quite naturally.
How would you describe your dancers?
They are all fantastic! Some are new to the company, and some I have worked with for ten years. There is a large spectrum of skills between all of them; they are all giving and very special artists in their own right.  They translate the stories well by doing their own research as well to gain connection and understanding. It gets to a point that I have done my work and hand it over to them as artists to add their own perspective to the story telling.
How long has it taken from studio to stage?
I had the concept about a year ago and began my research then which took some time.  We had all the designers locked in and signed off by March and we had to arrange costumes, source fabrics etc which is a collaborative effort between all of our creative team. By the time we went into rehearsal I was busting to get this work out of me which took around eight weeks.
Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Season: 18 July – 18 August 2012
Tuesday’s 6.30pm
Wednesday – Friday 8pm
Saturday’s 2pm & 8pm (except 21 July only 8pm)
Tickets: Premium $85, Adult $70, Concession $50, Student $25
Group (8 or more) $60 per ticket
Family (2 adults, 2 children) $160
TERRAIN national tour dates following Sydney season:

IPAC, Wollongong, 24 – 25 August
Adelaide Festival Centre, 29 August – 1 September
Canberra Theatre Centre, 13 – 15 September
QPAC, Brisbane, 3 – 7 October
Bangarra Dance Theatre
Pier 4, 15 Hickson Road,
Walsh Bay 2000, Sydney, Australia
T +61 2 9251 5333

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