First Nations dance powerhouse Bangarra returns with a work inspired by the Kimberleys, telling the unique story of this Place and the survival of its People.
"You leave the performance knowing you’ve witnessed something deeply powerful and intimate." ★★★★
Under the vast Kimberley sky, the red pindan dust stretches across the desert homelands of the Walmajarri, where the ancient knowledge of People and of Country is preserved through Songlines that have endured for hundreds of generations.
SandSong tells the unique story of this Place and the survival of its People.
Between the 1920s and 1960s, Aboriginal people were removed off their Country and forced into hard labour for no wages and only minimal rations.
Despite this displacement and cultural disruption, the people of the Western Desert have maintained unbroken connection to their Land, keeping stories and kinship strong.
This is the Country of Wangkatjungka woman Ningali Josie Lawford-Wolf (1967-2019), an important cultural consultant and artistic collaborator of Bangarra whose spirit, stories and artistic contributions have inspired a number of the company’s works, and enriched the broader arts landscape.
SandSong is created by Bangarra Dance Theatre in consultation with Wangkatjungka/Walmajarri Elders from the Kimberley and Great Sandy Desert regions.
This work honours the legacy of Ningali Josie Lawford-Wolf and her family - past, present and future.
Photographer credit: Daniel Boud
“SandSong is a gift back to the people of the Kimberley who bore some of the darkest moments of our nation’s history, yet today stand strong, proud and resilient in their cultural governance, a testament to the survival of our First Nations Peoples across Australia,”
Stephen Page and Frances Rings
"When it comes to the intrinsic connection between story, company and place, few dance works could compare to SandSong...It is impossible not to be swept away by the seemingly limitless scope of the narrative and its setting."
"SandSong is a profound experience, enlightening and moving... Bangarra emerges from the enforced COVID break in magisterial form... All Bangarra performances are about that connection and SandSong is no exception. It is, however, exceptional.
"SandSong proves Bangarra is one of Australia’s best dance companies... Stephen Page and Frances Rings have exquisitely choreographed a rich, evocative and powerful piece of contemporary dance... There is a discursive power in paying attention to moving Black bodies on stage at the prestigious Sydney Opera House. Bodies resist (protest), expend effort (dance) and remain present (survive). On stage, they demand our focus.
"SandSong, from a cultural and artistic point of view, is frankly remarkable and an intimate gift to audiences everywhere. Go see it... You leave the performance knowing you’ve witnessed something deeply powerful and intimate."
"Astoundingly impactful, Bangarra’s SandSong: Stories from the Great Sandy Desert is a work that needs to be seen by all Australians.
"Imaginatively and movingly choreographed by Stephen Page, Frances Rings and the dancers themselves, SandSong vividly depicts the unique story of this Place and the survival of its People."
November - December 2023
Choreographers Stephen Page and Frances Rings
Cultural Consultants Putuparri Tom Lawford and Eva Nargoodah
Composer Steve Francis
Set Designer Jacob Nash
Costume Designer Jennifer Irwin
Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper
For marketing queries contact
Erin Repp, Marketing Manager,
Bangarra Dance Theatre
For anything else please contact
Sara Richardson Senior Program Manager,
Arts on Tour
If you are interested in touring get in contact!
Arts on Tour
02 8038 1880
Arts on Tour is based in Redfern NSW and we respectfully acknowledge the Gadigal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the unceded land on which we work.
As we tour artists and productions across these vast lands, we pay our respect to all First Nations Elders, past, present and future.
We celebrate their continuing connection and contribution to culture, country and community, and thank all First Nations peoples for their wisdom in caring for the land, the sky, the rivers and the sea.