The Bangarra dance company stand together in a studio

Firestarter: the story of Bangarra

Firestarter – The story of Bangarra provides a deeply moving experience of the power of art as a messenger for social change and healing. It’s no wonder audiences have been flocking to see it at the cinema.

The 95-minute documentary has garnered rave reviews and traces the early days and growth of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation, which has become one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies.

Widely acclaimed around the globe, Bangarra is known for their powerful dancing, distinctive theatrical voice and unique soundscapes, music and design.

Firestarter documentary poster showing a Bangarra dancer

The film marks Bangarra’s 30th anniversary and shines a light on this national treasure. It recognises early founders and tells the story of Stephen, David and Russell Page – three young Aboriginal brothers from Brisbane – and how they turned the newly born dance group into a First Nations performing arts powerhouse.

Three brothers Russell, Stephen and David leaning in towards the camera
Russell, Stephen and David – founders of Bangarra (Photo courtesy of Paul Sweeney)

The enthralling combination of choreographer Stephen, composer David and lead dancer Russell set the scene for the early beginnings of the company in Sydney in the 1980s.

Through the eyes of the Page brothers and company alumni, the doco explores the loss and reclaiming of culture, the burden of intergenerational trauma and the extraordinary power of art and how it can be a vehicle for social change and healing.

To continue reading our story about Firestarter – The story of Bangarra, please visit the Everly Mag Shop where you’ll find Issue 2 (available in print or digital).

(Top photo courtesy of Daniel Boud)