Yuldea ADT 2023Bangarra Dance Theatre / Adelaide Festival Centre. Her Majesty’s Theatre. 10 Aug 2023


Dispossession is the dark heart of indigenous Australian history.


Yuldea is a story of vast long term dispossession in which the Agnagu of Great Victorian Desert and Nunga people of far West Regional South Australia where displaced and a living environment which sustained their peoples, was decimated by industrialisation and the Maralinga atomic bomb tests.


Choreographer Frances Rings and creative team evoke this story in a three-act structure. Every creative element of expressing land, people, culture, and struggle is focused expressly through creation on the bodies of the ensemble as a living, moving set design by Elizabeth Gadsby, Costume Designer Jennifer Irwin, and Lighting Designer Karen Norris.


Composer Leon Rodgers’ and Guest Composer Electric Fields’ score, while seemingly modernist electro, holds at its heart the beat and spirit of ancient song and sound.


Rings is telling a tale in a form a Western eye and ear can grasp the significant essentials of. A growing sense of unease, with deep felt horror of the destruction occurring, is blended with wonder in awe at the beauty of choreography filled with expressive strength and pride. Work capable of absorbing contemporary dance form and one dust mite’s worth of classical form.


A story truly told, as Yalata Cultural Consultant Maureen Smart noted on stage before the performance. One told in a visual form capable of saying things unsaid, hidden, and misunderstood when considered from a Western perspective with no access to the lived history.


Yuldea is a magnificent, beautiful message and testament of a surviving culture in the face of so much cruelty. A creative gift shared with all people, shared in joy and communal earnestness rather than despondency and negativity.


David O’Brien


When: 10 to 12 Aug

Where: Her Majesty’s Theatre

Bookings: ticketek.com.au