The Making of Alchemy

Duration: 6:21

Exploring mineral substances and the tensions resulting from their dual importance in Indigenous ritual and western industrialism is the inspiration behind the creation of this incredible work, Alchemy. Performed by the students from the NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company under the guidance and direction of the Bangarra Youth Program team, the work was filmed on Country from over 20 locations across the state.

The work is based on the original choreography of Alchemy by Bangarra’s Artistic Director, Stephen Page. This excerpt focuses on Iron, Lead and Copper.

Follow the students’ amazing journey and be inspired by The Making of Alchemy.

Transcript – The Making of Alchemy

[music playing]

SANI TOWNSON: 5, 6, 5, 6, 7, 2, go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

RODNEY PLASHIK: This excitement and passion is a new little spark that I've seen in Alaynah, and it's so incredible being a teacher experiencing and seeing her have this much excitement coming to school and coming to the dance room. She's learning so much about her culture and about her community through the incredible Bangarra Dance Company mentors, as well as from Zooming with all these different students from across NSW. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

SANI TOWNSON: He actually does the choreography with Alaynah. Yeah, Rodney, can you ...? Yes? Show your face and say hi.


Yeah, he does the whole ... he's been doing it ever since we started. Yep. So, you know, when you get teachers like that, that is awesome.

SIDNEY SALTNER: In Aboriginal culture and Torres Strait Islander culture, our Elders are our teachers. And it's important that these roles of teachers, as we continue to evolve, understand their role in the teachings of our history and culture. It's fundamental to us and our future Custodians: our youth. No matter how old you are, we are always learning. And that's something that we teach our kids as we go along through the program.

BRIDGET DENHAM: I think a lifelong learner is someone who is a person who can learn in every situation.

SIDNEY SALTNER: We use dance as a vehicle to promote holistic learnings of our culture. We aim to teach them real-life learnings through real community contact and negotiations with Elders and community, how to communicate with the wider community, connecting with Elders and learning the importance of protocols that you have to follow when using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content.

[music playing]

MEL LADKIN: Connecting to culture is such a huge part of what our kids yearn for. You ask any of the kids what they want more of in school and they all say culture.

KIAHN LADKIN: Being in the Aboriginal Dance Company has helped me be a lifelong learner because I'm constantly learning new things about Indigenous culture, about my culture, that I wouldn't know in the area that I'm in, because I'm learning about different areas and different stories and different moves.

MEL LADKIN: So, being able to use and learn about culture, through the arts, and especially through dance and movement of bodies, is just a real beautiful thing for them to experience.

SIDNEY SALTNER: The next generation of cultural leaders, it's important for them to understand the unique opportunities they have now to be able to create a new language using modern techniques to ensure the maintenance and continuance of our ancient culture.

[music playing and Indigenous language]

[music playing and Indigenous language]

End of transcript