Today I’m speaking with Beau Dean Riley Smith. Beau was born on Wiradjuri Country in Dubbo, Western NSW. But as a little kid the family moved to Culburra on the NSW South Coast where Beau spent his childhood surrounded by siblings, love and chaos while growing up at the beach. Beau didn’t learn to dance as a kid, instead he studied drama in high school, before being accepted into the performance program at WAPPA—the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth. It was a transformative year in which Beau’s world exploded, and led to Beau auditioning for drama programs across the country, including the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)—but Beau didn’t get in, and so, in a surprise move, and with no dance experience, Beau auditioned for the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA)—and was accepted. In this extraordinary conversation, Beau reveals his journey to joining Bangarra, his struggles with body image and weight, and his difficulties accepting the Helpmann Award for Best Male Dancer which coincided with the death of his sister. We also talk about the gravity of performing on Country, the pride and pressure that comes with that, and, in an unexpected announcement, Beau reveals that after nearly a decade with Bangarra he plans to leave the Company and reveals who he’s signed with next.
Beau continues to perform with Bangarra, but after more than a decade will leave the Company at the end of this year to join the Sydney Theatre Company. For Bangarra tour dates and to see Beau’s final performances head to bangarra.com.au, and for Sydney Theatre Company tickets it’s sydneytheatre.com.au. And to continue to follow all of Beau’s adventures, you’ll find him on Insta at @beaudrsmith.
Beau and I met and recorded in Sydney on the land of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, to whom we pay our greatest respects.
We’re delighted that Beau Dean Riley Smith’s episode of Talking Pointes is sponsored by Energetiks. Energetiks are a sustainable, Australian Made brand that specialise in creating world class dancewear for the stars of tomorrow. Perform and feel your best at every stage of your dance journey in Energetiks’ premium, high performance fabrics. See their entire range online at energetiks.com.au, and for all Talking Pointes listeners there’s a 20% discount on all Energetiks products—listen in for the code!
Beau Dean Riley Smith in Bangarra’s “Terrain,” 2016. Photograph by Zan Wimberely
Beau Dean Riley Smith and Bangarra in “Bennelong.” Photograph by Daniel Boud
Claudia Lawson and Beau Dean Riley Smith in the podcast studio. Photograph courtesy of Sawtooth Studios.
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