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.

At the moment of death, the waŋa (spirit) takes a journey that follows the sunset and the morning star back to the East, where it’s meant to be.

Waŋa is an evocative new dance worked created by Larrakia man Gary Lang, Rirratjŋu lore man Banula Marika and MIKU Performing Arts, together with Darwin Symphony Orchestra’s String Quartet.

Opening with an expressive interpretation that touches on the funeral rites of the Yolŋu people, Waŋa moves between ceremonial dance and Gary Lang’s own unique style of contemporary ‘Indigenous ballet’. This moving and epic production exquisitely captures both the pain and relief of a spirit’s passing, and shares solace in the sorrow of those left behind.

“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

Download the house program to read on your device here.

  • 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, Hannah McVinish, Jordan Bretherton, Zachary Wilson
  • NT Dance Company Understudies Ruby Platemotley & Sammy George
  • Junior Artists Ruby Platemotley, Sophie Kuswadi, Sammy George
  • Victorian College of the Arts Students Jazmin Griffiths & Anastasia Lonsdale

    Cultural Consultants Rachael Wallis, David Banuka Marika, Janet Munyarryun

  • Traditional Artists Ngalkanbuy Munungurr & Inneke 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

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