Bangarra dancers tell story of home at DRTCC performance

Wiradjuri dancers Beau Dean Riley Smith and Daniel Riley have returned to Dubbo to tell the story of their ancestors.

The cousins will be part of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s show at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre on Wednesday night. Our Land People Stories contains three works, including Miyagan, the story of the Riley family on Talbragar Reserve.

Daniel Riley, who also choreographed Miyagan, said it explored life on the reserve, the way totems were allocated and the connection with the people.

The cousins spent time talking to local elders, such as Lynette Riley and Diane McNaboe, to help shape the story.

The history between the two dancers was linked back to one man with two wives, Mr Riley said. His branch of the family tree lived in Wellington, while Beau Dean Riley Smith’s were in Dubbo.

Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre manager Linda Christof said Our Land People Stories would be an immersive experience.

“The production is a technically complex and challenging one, however, what the audience experiences is an immersive soundscape, exquisite dancing, stage set and lighting design,” she said.

As well the the Miyagan story, the dancers will also bring to life the paintings of artist Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, as well as telling the history of Sydney’s Governor Macquarie in Macq. 

Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, who grew up in Arnhem Land, is known for artwork painted onto back that depicts the world around her.

“There’s three different Aboriginal tribes represented and three different stories. Some are sad, some are uplifting, some might be a little more abstract but that’s the beauty of a triple bill,” Mr Riley said.

On Tuesday the performers also held free contemporary dance workshops at Orana Dance Centre and Urban Edge Dance Studio.

Bangarra was committed to community engagement, Ms Christof said.

Tickets for Our Land People Stories at 7.30pm on Wednesday night are available from the DRTCC Box Office or online at drtcc.com.au.