I am profoundly moved and grateful for the opportunity to assemble these three Indigenous contemporary dance artists as part of our Face 2 Face series this year. Lara, Victoria and Jacob each explore deeply moving and personal stories in distinctive and remarkable ways.
For Windigo, Montreal-based Lara Kramer conducted research at her grandmother’s home in northwestern Ontario’s Lac Seul Reserve. This visceral duet offers a raw and unflinching look at the suffering and destruction that results from violence against Indigenous peoples, as she confronts the deep traumas that permeate these histories. We’re proud to be one of many Canadian co-producers of Windigo.
Victoria Hunt’s Copper Promises – Hinemihi Haka – delves into her Māorian roots and the powerful story of the ceremonial meeting house and female ancestor Hinemihi. This solo is a journey of reconnection with one’s traditions and culture as told through movement, sound score and projections.
And, Jacob Boehme’s Blood on the Dance Floor is a courageous and inspiring work that speaks about his own experience as a gay Aboriginal living with HIV. Drawing on the practices of his Narangga and Kaurna background, Boehme uses theatre, dance, ceremony and storytelling to weave this touching and powerful tale.
Thank you for joining us to experience these immersive works, and Life in Motion.
Why this story now? After 30 years of dealing with the global epidemic of HIV, the experiences of stigma, discrimination and silence around the HIV virus are just as present today, and are still being felt by people living with and affected by HIV/ AIDS.
By sharing my personal story, unapologetically, of being Blak, gay and poz, Blood on the Dance Floor is an opportunity to create a space for our mob to have a voice in the dialogue around HIV. A conversation at a table we have not been invited to in this country (Australia), which has so far been led by, and reserved for, gay white men.
Our mob (Australian First Nations people) have been dealing with HIV right from the early days, back in the 80s, mostly silently and with shame. And we are now seeing a spike in detection rates here in the state of Victoria, particularly among Indigenous women and IV drug users in our community. Now, more than ever, we need to take our seat at that table, our silence broken and our voices heard.
We hold memories in our blood. It connects us. It defines us.
Blood on the Dance Floor explores the legacies and memories of our bloodlines, our need for community, and what blood means to each of us – questioning how this most precious fluid unites and divides us.
A choreographer, dancer and writer from the Narangga and Kaurna nations of South Australia, Jacob Boehme was diagnosed with HIV in 1998. In search of answers, he reached out to his ancestors. Through a powerful blend of theatre, image, text and choreography, Boehme pays homage to their ceremonies whilst dissecting the politics of gay, Blak and poz identities.
Blood on the Dance Floor is an unapologetic, passionate and visceral narrative that traverses time, space and characters. A story of our need to love and be loved, Boehme’s striking monologue reveals our secret identities and our deepest fears, seeking to invoke ancestral lineage in a contemporary quest for courage and hope.
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Produced by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company.
ILBIJJERRI Theatre Company has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
ILBIJERRI is one of Australia’s leading theatre companies creating innovative works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
Our productions have toured to critical acclaim across Australia and the world. We challenge and excite our audiences with contemporary stories about what it means to be First Nations in Australia today.
Established in 1990, ILBIJERRI is the longest running First Nations theatre company in Australia. Our creative processes aim to support First Nations artists and communities to have a powerful voice in determining the future of Australia.