Dance, NT Artist, WORLD PREMIERE Northern Territory
NT Dance Company


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Presented by NT Dance Company and Darwin Entertainment Centre

Gary Lang fuses traditional lore with contemporary movement to share his poignant experience of grief and joy.

A young person dies. At the moment of death their spirit takes a journey that begins in the sun’s last rays and ends with the morning star. Join us for an evocative new dance work, featuring MIKU Performing Arts (Yirrkala) and underscored by Philip Glass compositions performed by Darwin Symphony Orchestra’s String Quartet.

Waŋa is a personal response to the sadness of young lives lost in remote Indigenous communities. Opening with the haunting sounds of manikay and an interpretation of the elaborate funeral rites of the Yolŋu people, the work moves between ceremonial dance and Lang’s own unique style of contemporary ‘Indigenous ballet’, as the performers take us on a journey of the soul into its spirit world. This moving and epic production exquisitely captures both the pain and relief of a spirit’s passing, and the joy and welcome it receives from those that have gone ahead of us.

“When the soul leaves the spirit world and is conceived to this world, the spirit world sheds tears of sadness. When the soul is born to this physical world, we shed tears of joy. Likewise, when the soul leaves this world, there are tears of sadness and when it steps back into the spirit world there are tears of joy…”

Gary’s Grandmother

  • Creative Team

  • Artistic Director & Choreographer Gary Lang
  • Rehearsal Director Christopher Hill
  • Costume Designer Jennifer Irwin
  • Lighting Designer Beck Adams
  • NT Dance Company General Manager Erica McCallum
  • Project & Production Manager Elizabeth Rogers
  • Stage Manager Eve Lynch
  • NT Dance Company Artists
  • Senior Artists Floeur Alder & Alexander Abbot
  • Company Artists Brianna Kemmerling, Kiara Malcolm Bodle, Edan Porter, Zachary Wilson
  • NAISDA Advanced Diploma Student Lacey Bigger
  • NT Dance Company Understudy Hannah McVinish
  • Junior Artists Piper Mules, Ruby Paltermore, Sophie Kuswadi, Nate Marshall, Sammy George
  • Victorian College of the Arts Students Jazmin Griffiths & Anastasia Lonsdale

    Cultural Consultants Rachael Wallis, David Banula Marika, Janet Munyarryun

  • Yolŋu Artists Ngalkanbuy Munungurr, Ineke Wallis

    Darwin Symphony Orchestra String Quartet Jonathan Tooby (Conductor), Clare Gorton, Tara Murphy, Erin McCann

    Photo Paz Tassone

Created with NAISDA Dance College, MIKU Performing Arts, West Australian Ballet, Darwin Symphony Orchestra and Victorian College of the Arts

Supported by Spotlight, Darwin Festival's Creative Development Fund

Supported by Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative and Festivals Australia

Supported by

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