Artistic Director, Bangarra Dance Theatre
Born in Brisbane, Stephen is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe from southeast Queensland.
Stephen studied at NAISDA and after graduating in 1983 he began his professional dancing career with Sydney Dance Company. During 1988 he toured internationally with Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre (AIDT) and in 1989 was artistic director of NAISDA’s production Kayn Walu. Following a second term with Sydney Dance Company, in 1991 Stephen was appointed Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre. He has created a signature body of dance theatre productions for Bangarra.
Under his leadership, Bangarra has built a strong reputation touring throughout Australia and the world, including New York, Washington, Paris, London and Germany. Memorable works Ochres, Skin (‘Best New Australian Work’ and ‘Best Dance Work’, 2001 Helpmann Awards), Bush (‘Best Dance Work’, 2004 Helpmann Awards), Mathinna (‘Best Dance Work’ and ‘Best Choreography’, 2009 Helpmann Awards) have become milestones in Australian performing arts.
For The Australian Ballet, Stephen has choreographed Rites to Stravinsky’s score incorporating dancers from Bangarra and he directed Indigenous sections for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies. As Artistic Director of the 2004 Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Stephen was praised for reinvigorating the event with an impressive and highly successful world-class program. Stephen’s film and theatre credits include the contemporary operatic film Black River, numerous music video clips, directing his brother David Page in the highly acclaimed Page 8 which toured Australia and the UK and choreography for the feature film Bran Nue Dae.
Significantly, in 2008 Stephen was named NSW Australian of the Year in recognition of his efforts to bring cultures together through the performing arts and his commitment to developing the next generation of Indigenous storytellers by mentoring emerging artists.
Bangarra celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009 with Fire – A Retrospective presenting the signature works of Bangarra’s repertoire. For this celebration Stephen invited over one hundred artists who had worked with Bangarra, including the founders of the company, to a special performance of Fire – A Retrospective at the Sydney Opera House.
Stephen received the 2010 Helpmann Award for ‘Best Choreography’ for Fire – A Retrospective and a further two awards for the company; Best Ballet/Dance Work for Fire and Best Regional Touring Production for True Stories and was honoured at the Australian Dance Awards for his Services to Dance. He alsod accepted Bangarra Dance Theatre’s award for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Company’ for Fire – A Retrospective. Continuing his commitment to the next generation of indigenous storytellers, Stephen commissioned and mentored Frances Rings and Daniel Riley McKinley in their new works for Bangarra’s program of earth & sky.
In 2011, his 20th year as Artistic Director, Stephen choreographed ID, a part of the Belong program and developed the concept in collaboration with Wayne Blair and Kathy Balngayngu Marika and directed Bloodland for Sydney Theatre Company. He also choreographed for the feature film The Sapphires.
In celebration of The Australian Ballet’s 50th anniversary, Stephen has been invited to create a new work Warumuk – in the dark night bringing together dancers from the Ballet and Bangarra inspired by stories from Aboriginal astronomy, to be performed in Melbourne, Sydney and New York.
See below for a preview of Stephen’s interview.
- Stephen Page
- Stephen Page