ochres, 1995 (co-choreographer bernadette walong)

Ochres, first performed in Sydney in 1995, proved a watershed production for Bangarra, leading to sell-out shows around the country and more invitations to perform overseas than the company could accept.

Stephen Page writes: “Ochres play an essential part in traditional life. Working with cultural consultant/dancer Djakapurra Munyarryun has provided us with valuable insight into the presentation of traditional paint-up and preparation.

As a substance ochre has intrigued us. Its significance and myriad purposes, both spiritual and physical, has been the driving force behind this collaboration. The portrayal of each colour is by no means a literal interpretation, but the awareness of its spiritual significance has challenged our contemporary expressions.”

Ochres is a work in four parts which explores the mystical significance of ochre, inspired by its spiritual and medicinal power: Prologue, Yellow, Black, Red and White. [Text courtesy of Bangarra Dance Theatre.]

credits: co-choreographers Stephen Page, Bernadette Walong, composer David Page, cultural consultant Djakapurra Munyarryun, lighting design Joseph Mercurio, performers Albert David, Gary Lang, Marilyn Miller, Djakapurra Munyarryun, Russell Page, Kirk Page, Jan Pinkerton, Frances Rings, Gina Rings,Bernadette Walong

performances: Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Berlin, Tokyo

reviews/articles – realtime

as obvious and forgettable as gravity
eleanor brickhill, realtime 14, august-september, 1996

dancer-teacher: the undivided self
erin brannigan, realtime 74, august-september, 2006

bangarra at 20: circle of connection
jeremy ecccles, realtime 92, august-september, 2009


skilled troupe never loses spiritual focus
patricia laughlin, the age, march 31, 1995

aboriginal fusion
ken healey, sun herald, november 12, 1995

colour of a culture
helen greenwood, sydney morning herald, july 8, 1996

dark corners
deborah jowitt, village voice, july 30, 1996


produced by ABC [australian broadcasting commission], available online


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1 January 1999