Stephen Page

Last updated
Stephen Page (AO)
Born1965 (age 5556)
Occupation
  • Artistic director
  • dancer
  • choreographer
  • film director
Known forinvolvement in Bangarra Dance Theatre
Notable work
[1]
Relatives David Page (brother)

Stephen George Page AO (born 1965) is the Artistic Director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, an Indigenous Australian dance company. He is descended from the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali of the Yugambeh people from southeast Queensland, Australia. In 2015 his directorial debut film Spear was shown at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. [2]

Contents

Career

Page was educated at the Cavendish Road State High School, Brisbane. In his honour, Cavendish Road State High School has named one of its school houses "Page". The house colour is purple.

Sydney Dance Company/Sydney Theatre Company

Page studied dance at the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA). He graduated in 1983 and then danced with the Sydney Dance Company. In 1991, he choreographed Mooggrah for the company, Trackers of Oxyrhyncus for the Sydney Theatre Company, and a sextet for Opera Australia's Marriage of Figaro. During that time he also toured with the NAISDA associated "Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre".[ citation needed ]

Page danced with the Sydney Dance Company until 1991,

Bangarra Dance Company

when he was appointed artistic director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. With his works Praying Mantis Dreaming, Ninni, and the seminal 1994 production, Ochres, co-choreographed with then assistant artistic director Bernadette Walong-Sene, Page established a milestone for Australian dance. In 1996, he made his creative debut with The Australian Ballet, choreographing Alchemy. The following year, he brought The Australian Ballet and Bangarra together in Rites, set to Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring . The following year he choreographed Fish for Bangarra, with its world premiere taking place at the Edinburgh International Festival.[ citation needed ]

Page choreographed the flag handover ceremony for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and co-directed segments of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He also created the ceremony that opened the Olympic Arts Festival. He choreographed Skin, which premiered at the festival and won the coveted Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work and Best Dance Work. His triple bill Corroboree toured internationally, with a sell-out tour of the US including appearances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and the Kennedy Centre in Washington. The work earned Page a Helpmann Award for Best Choreography. The following year, he was honoured with a Matilda Award for his contribution to the arts in Queensland. In the same year, he choreographed Totem for The Australian Ballet's principal dancer, Stephen Heathcote. 2002 also saw the world premiere of Bangarra's double bill, Walkabout, which Page co-choreographed with Frances Rings.

Page and Rings later co-choreographed Bush for Bangarra, which sold out on its Australian tour as well as its 2004 tour to the United States. Also in 2004, Bangarra returned to the Sydney Opera House with another sell-out production co-choreographed by Page and Rings, Clan. The following year Page choreographed Boomerang, which had a sell-out Australian tour.

As artistic director of the 2004 Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Page was praised for reinvigorating the event with an impressive and highly successful world-class program. His film and theatre credits include the contemporary operatic film Black River , numerous music video clips, and directing his own brother David Page in the highly acclaimed one-man show Page 8, which toured the UK.

In 2006, Page and The Australian Ballet created Gathering, a double bill consisting of a reworked Rites and Amalgamate. Also in 2006, Queensland Art Gallery director asked him to create a new dance work for the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art. Along with his son and nephews, he created Kin, a special project that opened Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.

In 2007, Page directed a spectacular traditional smoking ceremony in honour of the historic celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Later in the year, during Bangarra's True Stories season, he directed Victorian Opera's Orphée et Eurydice in Melbourne and presented another sell-out season of Kin at the Malthouse Theatre.

Honours

In 2008, Page was named New South Wales Australian of the Year, receiving the award from Deputy Premier John Watkins at ceremony at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Other

In 2008 he created a new, full-length work for Bangarra, entitled Mathinna, which won a Helpmann Award in 2009 for Best Dance Work and Best Choreography. He then took Rites to London and Paris with The Australian Ballet, and Bangarra's Awakenings to Washington, New York and Ottawa. Later in 2008, he went to Broome, Western Australia, as choreographer for the film adaptation of Bran Nue Dae .

In 2009, after returning from a highly successful tour of Germany, Hungary and Austria with True Stories, Page and the dancers spent 10 days in Arnhem Land on a cultural exchange. He celebrated Bangarra's 20th Anniversary with Fire – A Retrospective, which won an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Company.

Awards

In 2011, Page was honoured with the Services to Dance award at the Australian Dance Awards, and received a Helpmann Award for Best Choreography for Fire, Bangarra's 20-year retrospective work. Bangarra received a further two Helpmann Awards: Best Ballet/Dance Work for Fire and Best Regional Touring Production for True Stories.

In 2016, the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award went to Page for his work as Director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. [3] [4] From February to August 2016, Martin Portus (former Director of Marketing and Communication at the Australia Council for the Arts) conducted a number of interviews with Australian choreographers, including Page. Page discussed significant periods in the history of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, beginning with the nature of his access to traditional cultures, especially in north-east Arnhem Land, and his works staging those stories as contemporary dance. He also talked about his later, darker works about urban dislocation, and the contribution of his late brother, the dancer Russell Page. The interviews also covered his choreographic signature, and his works drawing on stories, communities and design motifs from different parts of Australia and, finally, his recent works featuring stories drawn from both white and black historical experience. [5]

Choreography

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References

  1. https://portrait.gov.au/people/stephen-page-1965.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "Spear Review". Variety. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  3. "First Indigenous nurse graduate among winners at the 2016 NAIDOC awards". ABC News. 8 July 2016. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  4. Smith, Emily (9 July 2016). "Indigenous dancer and director wins lifetime achievement award". Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  5. "File 5: Stephen Page interviewed by Martin Portus, 24 February 2016". State Library of New South Wales Catalogue. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
Preceded by
Sue Nattrass
Director of the Adelaide Festival of Arts
2004
Succeeded by
Brett Sheehy