The Bangarra family grows with two new dancers

The Bangarra family grows with two new dancers

Ryan Pearson and Baden Hitchcock join Bangarra through the Russell Page Graduate Program.

Bangarra Dance Theatre has announce that two young Aboriginal dancers will join the company for 2017 as part of the Russell Page Graduate Program, thanks to the generosity of a group of philanthropists and a matched funding grant from the Sherry-Hogan Foundation.

Ryan Pearson and Baden Hitchcock, both from New South Wales, have joined the company for 12 months of professional experience and training through the Russell Page Graduate Program. The duo will perform in Stephen Page’s world premiere ofBennelong at the Sydney Opera House in June and will then join the company as they travel back to Country in the Torres Strait Islands in August. They will then embark on a major international tour to Germany in October before returning to Sydney to perform inONES COUNTRY the spine of our stories at Carriageworks.

Donors contributed more than $60,000 to support the employment of the two Graduate Program dancers, securing the matched funding grant of $50,000 from the Sherry-Hogan Foundation; taking the total pool of funds raised to more than $110,000. This amount will in part fund the dancers’ salaries, Safe Dance and wellbeing programs, the cost of touring, and mentoring.

Initiated in 2014, the Russell Page Graduate Program is named after the late Russell Page, a founding member of Bangarra and one of its most revered dancers, who passed away in 2002.

The Graduate Program is integral to Bangarra’s commitment to building a strong platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and artists to grow and thrive.

It is an intense journey for the new graduates, providing invaluable training, development, touring and performance opportunities to evolve into professional artists alongside the company’s choreographers, creatives and core dancers.

Bangarra’s Artistic Director Stephen Page says the program is of critical importance to the evolution of Bangarra, because it ensures the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are nurtured by current artists excelling in their craft.

“As the only Major Performing Arts company in Australia with its cultural origins in this land, we have a duty to pass our knowledge onto the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander artists.”

“My brothers – Russell and David – and I were always connected through a shared desire to support new talent, which what the Graduate Program is all about. Watching young artists emerge and mature and observing the mentoring process in the studio is beyond rewarding for all of us at Bangarra.”

Executive Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Philippe Magid, says that developing future cultural leaders is critical to Bangarra’s success and sustainability.

“Bangarra’s artists are professionally trained, dynamic artists with a proud Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background, which is why the support and training that emerging artists receive through the Russell Page Graduate Program is so important."

“We couldn’t deliver this program without the generous support of our valued patrons and we thank them for sharing our vision.”

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