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Marrugeku’s grand vision has been expansive, yet inclusive; ambitious, yet achieved with modesty. At the heart of the company’s success has been a commitment to culture and community, and to working closely with Elders, while grappling at times with complex and controversial topics. … This book is a fine and fitting record of all that history. — Yawuru leader Senator Patrick Dodson

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Telling That Story

Weight 1.2 kg

384 pages


Large Paperback

Edited by Helen Gilbert, Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain and published by Performance Research Books, January 2021. Telling That Story details twenty-five years of intercultural performance-making by renowned Australian dance company Marrugeku. Restlessly inventive in both subject and style, the company’s unforgettable work reaches from remote Indigenous communities in northern Australia to international audiences around the world. This book brings the different strands of the Marrugeku’s practice into dialogue for the first time, exploring productions that range from large-scale outdoor explorations of Kunwinjku spirit worlds to trans-disciplinary expressions of global ecological collapse and to intimate dance solos on the theme of decolonization. Marrugeku was born in the small Kunwinjku community of Kunbarlanja in Arnhem Land and is now based in both Yawuru Country in Broome, Western Australia, and on Gadigal lands in Sydney. The company’s unique artistic and cultural journey is traced here through a words-and-pictures story co-curated by leading postcolonial settler scholar Helen Gilbert and Marrugeku’s co-artistic directors: Yawuru/Bardi choreographer and dancer Dalisa Pigram and settler director Rachael Swain. With its rich array of content, Telling That Story offers a compelling multivocal assessment of the power and appeal of political dance theatre in our times. Highlights Essays: Djon Mundine on art as a social act; Vicki van Hout on strategic obfuscation in Burning Daylight; Jacqueline Lo on the haunted histories of Asian-Indigenous relations in Broome; Alison Croggon on colonialism and stasis in Le Dernier Appel; Jonathan W. Marshall on critical mimicry in Burrbgaja Yalirra; Omid Tofighan on horrific surrealism in Jurrungu Ngan-ga, and more. Interviews with Marrugeku members and collaborators, including Indigenous leaders June Oscar and Patrick Dodson, musicians Lorrae Coffin and Matthew Fargher and dramaturgs Peter Eckersall and Hildegard de Vuyst. Script excerpts from Buru, Gudirr Gudirr, Cut the Sky and Burrbgaja Yalirra. Lavishly illustrated with more than 140 photographs of the company at work. ISBN: 9781906499099