WORKING with international guest choreographers David Dawson and Annabelle Lopez during her time at WA Ballet in 2016 and 2017 made dancer Courtney Radford realise she wanted to do more.
“I really liked both of their styles and knew if I wanted to pursue something different, it probably wouldn’t be in a classical company,” Radford said.
“Last year I spent two months in Europe where I auditioned for quite a few companies and did lots of workshops and classes. I came back in March and knew from the experience that I wanted to do contemporary.
“I always imagined I’d do ballet for longer but when I realised I just loved contemporary, I straight away thought of Bangarra and auditioned for them; I just didn’t think it would happen so soon.”
Radford joined Sydney-based Bangarra Dance Theatre in January and is thrilled to be a part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation’s 30th year of bringing Indigenous storytelling to the stage, inspired by 65,000 years of culture.
“I couldn’t believe they wanted a ballet girl to come in and join for their 30-year celebration,” Radford, who grew up in Port Hedland and Perth, said.
“I love how Bangarra is not just a dance company. I love the meaning behind it where we tell stories and connect with people on a deeper level than putting on something like The Nutcracker.
“I’m surrounded by amazing people who have come from all over the country. Everyone has grown up so differently but they are all so passionate and the work itself is unbelievable.”
Radford will return home at the end of this month with Bangarra: 30 Years of Sixty Five Thousand at Heath Ledger Theatre from July 31 to August 3.
The three-part program includes a re-staging of Unaipon by Frances Rings, Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian’s Stamping Ground and To Make Fire by Bangarra artistic director Stephen Page.
“It shows the company in a very versatile way,” Radford said.
“It’s almost like a different company is performing each work. I’ve already pre-warned my family this is nothing like they’ve ever seen me in before.”
What: Bangarra: 30 Years of Sixty Five Thousand
Where: Heath Ledger Theatre
When: July 31 to August 3