Friday, 21 June 2013
Blak? Blak? Blak?
For urban Aboriginal people, Blak will resonate with you as none of Bangarra’s performances ever has before. It explores the issues we know. The settings we understand. The struggle between the modern and the traditional, that at times has people questioning our Aboriginal identities. And unless you grew up as an Urban Blak, you may never have considered what it is like for us, until you see Blak.
I have seen other Bangarra performances before, but Blak blew me away. There is an undercurrent of Aboriginal Culture juxtaposed by an urban setting. The music by Paul Mac with David Page, hits you with urban beats overlaid with the didg. It gets in your body. The costume and set design were minimalistic; modern and understated the focus completely on the dancers.
And then…there was the dancers! OMFG!
The men open and are strong. For those who know me well, already know I like my men strong and black! Beyond their amazing bodies, their dancing is crazy good. The technique and the strength were apparent. The slow mo scene was something that I thought could only happen with CGI. Apparently not!
Like the men, the women were strong yet still feminine. Aboriginal women, as I know them. The women expressed so much emotion right from the minute they appeared on stage. I was holding my breath. They told a story of a life I am all too familiar with. A life of violence, young death and grief. But still so beautiful.
When the male and female dancers came together in the last scene, there was a sense of completeness. Despite all the hardships highlighted in the first two scenes, the third scene showed the strength and resilience that we all know Aboriginal people have but is often overlooked by the mainstream. It was about our Culture that was and is.
For those few, who have said that Bangarra is not “Aboriginal dance” because it is not “traditional”, you should see Blak. Blak is unmistakably Aboriginal. The dancers, the music, the chorography, the story and the set make it uniquely Blak and urban.
And can someone please tell me where I can buy the soundtrack?!?