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The Rise of Frances Rings

This episode is sponsored by Eco Dancers

Frances Rings talks about her journey into dance, her incredible career with Bangarra, and finding confidence in her own body.

The incredible Frances Rings, Bangarra's Associate Artistic Director, joins us on this episode of Talking Pointes. A descendant of the Kokatha people, Frances was born in Adelaide and spent her childhood traveling, dancing, and living all around Australia while her father worked on the railways. However, it was a teacher at her boarding school in Queensland that spotted her talent, and encouraged her to audition for NAISDA, the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association.


And so at 18 years of age, Frances boarded a Greyhound bus and traveled the 12 hours to Sydney. In this beautifully raw and personal interview, Frances talks about her journey into dance, her incredible career with Bangarra, and finding confidence in her own body. But Frances talks about more than that. Her onstage connection with the late Russell Page, becoming a mum, and the pressure but also the importance of not only being a female leader, but a First Nations female leader in dance in Australia.

Listen here or find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

For our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander listeners, this episode of Talking Pointes contains the names of people who have passed. Please pause now, if you'd prefer not to hear their names. The Page family have given Bangarra Dance Theatre permission to use their names for the purpose of this interview. And just a trigger warning for this episode, we discuss issues around suicide, so if you'd prefer not to listen or read, please press pause or stop reading now.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Images: Frances Rings in “Corroboree.” Photograph by Greg Barrett

Frances Rings, Artistic Associate of Bangarra Dance Company. Image courtesy of Bangarra

Stephen Page and Frances Rings. Photograph by Daniel Boud


CL: Firstly, where are you calling in from?

FR: I am actually in Howard Springs in the Northern Territory at the Howard Springs quarantine facility with the company. We're in quarantine for two weeks so that we can enter Queensland, and so we can complete our season at QPAC-

CL: Wow.

FR: ... of our main stage work for this year, “SandSong.” Yeah. So we're here. This is our second day. We're surviving. We're doing good. The dancers are all great and-

CL: The whole company's there in lockdown?

FR: So our fellow neighbors across from us are getting some great entertainment every day watching Bangarra do the performance.

CL: Lucky them. Free tickets.

FR: I know.

CL: That's a win for them to be in isolation with Bangarra.

FR: The Bangarra Quarantine Show.

CL: That's so good. Look I obviously want to talk a lot about “SandSong” and the premiere in Sydney before the chaos ensued, but first I just wanted to go back a little bit and where your love of dance came from.

FR: I cannot remember a time when I haven't been in love with dance as a form, as a cultural gift. It's just been something that has been my first language of communication and my way of how I made sense of the world around me was through movement, through dance, through choreography. And yeah, that's always kind of been a really big part of my life. And even before any sort of formal training, my father said I would be in the backyard creating these little productions and dressing my siblings up in costumes of whatever bits of material and curtain and things were laying around and creating these big designs and staging these shows. I mean, I didn't even know at that stage that it could be a career and that you could actually make that your job.

And I don't think I realized that until much, much later on when I was ... fast forward to Year 11 when I was doing my HSC and there was the first year that HSC dance was brought in so I signed it up as one of my electives and we had a fantastic dance teacher actually. And she was like, "Well, if you're going to see dance then you've got to see the best," and this was ... we lived in Ipswich at this stage. So I had moved from South Australia to Western Australia, and now we were in Queensland. My dad worked on the railways and we had a very transient upbringing, but yeah, the stage was in Ipswich and my dad's teacher at Bundamba High School took us to Sydney to see “Cats” at the Theatre Royal.

CL: Oh wow.

FR: That performance was incredible. And at that stage, it might've been maybe Marina Prior or ... but there was somebody who was Grizabella and it was, yeah, I remember just seeing this-

CL: I'm trying to think, that Andrew Lloyd Webber era.

FR: Yeah.

CL: That was a lot of people's inspiration.

FR: Yeah, well, it was the first time that “Cats” was ... I think it was performed in Australia. So, we were seeing this incredible ... I didn't know dancers could move their bodies in that way. And the way that they just transformed, and the music and the set was incredible and I just fell in love and I thought, "Oh wow. If this is a career, then I'm going to do it."

CL: You had been born on the West Coast of South Australia. So I was wondering how you made it all the way to NAISDA, which is based in Sydney.

FR: Yeah, that's right. And a series of really fortunate little events had happened and moving around and having to make new friends and learn new systems of education, and I just kind of gave up on academics and I just thought, "I am going to make something of my life." So very fortunate to me, Sidney Saltner, who is a Bangarra alumni and is now the director of the youth program at Bangarra, he was in his ... He was at my boarding school the year before me. And it was in his first year at NAISDA. So our speech and drama teacher said, "Oh, look, there's a college in Sydney where Indigenous students can go and study dance and learn about culture." And I was like, "Oh my God, really?" So we filled out the application form together and, yeah, and after I finished my exams, I was on the bus-

CL: Wow.

FR: ... and rocked up to Sydney. And I mean, back then, kids just traveled. I think we just did ... we were far less strict with our children than what we are now, because I was only 17 when I got on the bus from Queensland and ...

CL: I mean, had you been exposed to Indigenous or First Nations dance?

FR: No, no, I had some beautiful aunties and uncles who'd taken us out hunting and who spoke language and stuff, but I'd never seen cultural dance or ceremony or ... even from the Torres Strait Islands. I didn't even know that ... I think when I went to boarding school and I met Torres Strait Islanders, that's when I first found out there was another Indigenous people, that there was two Indigenous peoples of Australia. So yeah. I mean but that's growing up in the '70s and '80s, I guess but yeah-

CL: That exposure, people didn't talk about it.

FR: Yeah. They didn't. Yeah. And you kind of just learned about the Western experience of Australia and any sort of First Nations experiences were always really negative. And I was really shy. I think there was a lot of shame and it wasn't just myself, there was a whole generation of black fellows that were just ... it was hard to of find the role models. I think in sport, people were always like, "Oh yeah, Indigenous people are ... they're good at sport." You either do that or you become a housewife, have kids but there wasn't really else that was offered.

CL: Yeah.

FR: But I had some really beautiful teachers like my speech and drama teacher who just said, "Oh, look this is an amazing opportunity and you have a gift and you should definitely pursue this." And I think when you're given those little glimmers of light, you just gravitate and you go, "Well, society thinks I need to do this, or that I'm not going to make something of my life and that I'm not going to complete Year 12 or I'm not going to go to university, but I'm going to do something with my life that's meaningful and be able to offer young people an opportunity that I didn't get when I was growing up."

CL: So I wanted to take you back to 17-year-old Frances on the bus from Ipswich, is it, Ipswich to Sydney?

FR: I finished my exams and got on the bus to Sydney. And yeah, it was just ... felt this incredible sense of freedom and excitement for this future that I had ahead of me. And when I turned up to NAISDA, I think I was ... it was a bit of cultural shock actually, because I'd never seen other Indigenous people like this before ever in my life.

CL: In the sense of dancers or-

FR: Just in the sense of the diversity of black people that were in that college, different cultural backgrounds and all different colours. And it was just this incredible rich palette. What really struck me was the confidence that they had that I'd never seen before ever, that there was no shame. People walked around proud and they were singing and talking language and they were just openly displaying their sexuality. And I mean, I came from some little regional towns where I'd never seen anything like that. So it was like, "Oh my God, this is fantastic." And I think that first week, I'd seen my first drag show. And it was just ... I fell in love, I just honestly was like, "Wow, I just want this to be my tribe forever."

And I think all of us came with that same sense of displacement, of we weren't accepted by our communities, and we weren't accepted by society in the little cockered areas where we were from from around regional and remote Australia and metropolitan Australia. And I guess we found a home and NAISDA just accepted the beauty of all of the diverse backgrounds. And if you didn't know your mob, then you were still a part of this incredible clan of people, of young artists that were there to ... also on their own journeys. So it does become your family and it does become a very strong bonding experience.

CL: And so you graduate from NAISDA and then you are accepted into Bangarra. I wanted to ask about that. What's that moment like and that experience like, being accepted into Bangarra?

FR: Well, I think people probably think, "Oh yeah, Fran would have got in really easy." And-

CL: I think I thought that.

FR: She wouldn't have had to audition. Stephen gave me the hardest time.

CL: Did he?

FR: I actually had to work my arse off to get into the company.

CL: Stephen.

FR: I don't think ... He'd come out of Sydney Dance Company and his partner was a ballerina from the New York City Ballet and so-

CL: So high standards.

FR: His bar was so high, high standards.

CL: Stephen's so tough.

FR: He had a big vision and he was really tough. And the thing is, is that I don't think I was ... even though I had this incredible determination and I worked really hard, but I don't think I was naturally kind of ... my body was tight and I put on muscle really easily and I wasn't the most flexible, and I used to see my peers just doing the splits and being able to kind of do these incredible developpés and I'd just go, "Oh, I wish I had that flexibility." And I think I was still looking at aesthetic and the shapes and thinking that I needed to look like these other people.

CL: And probably the aesthetic at that time was still that very thin. I mean, particularly out of the ballet companies at that time, very thin.

FR: Yeah, that's right.

CL: Dancers weren't muscular at that point.

FR: Yeah. Yeah. That's right. And I didn't look like I had a ... well, I didn't ... in my head, I didn't think I looked very much like a dancer. I looked like an athlete but I kind of wanted to look like a skinny gazelle, like you know-

CL: Long lean lines and that sort of thing.

FR: Long and lean and tall and big lines. And yeah. Anyway, once I got over that, "I'm not going to look like that, but I am going to look like the best version of myself that I can be."

CL: But how great that you came through that, because I feel like some people would sort of get that body image sort of fixation that some younger dancers do, but that you worked through that.

FR: Yeah. Yeah.

CL: And so when were you allowed on stage?

FR: Oh so I think it was like six months. Yeah. Maybe about ... towards the end of my first year.

CL: Wow. I thought you were going to say maybe six weeks. No, a whole year.

FR: Oh no. Yeah. It was nearly a whole year. I auditioned for the company and I got in and then Stephen said ... and I was all amped up. I was like, "Ah, I'm ready to kind of learn the rep and to perform and go on stage." And Stephen's like, "No, you're actually going to stay on a traineeship-

CL: What?

FR: ... where you're going to understudy, but you're not going to be in any of the performances. And you can do cultural." So I was able to perform cultural and I ended up kind of hanging out with all the cultural tutors and performers quite a bit because that was the only thing I could do other than understudy, and I remember-

CL: I feel like lot of people would not know this story, that Stephen actually wouldn't let you on the stage.

FR: He wouldn't let me on the stage. And then the one opportunity that I did get to go on the stage, I had freaked out and forgot all the choreography. And I think I vomited three times and I just had this terrible stage fright. And Stephen was like, "Oh my God, you forgot everything." And he said, "But what you did was actually okay," because I just made all this up choreography on the spot. He said, "Oh, it wasn't too bad." And so, but yeah, I think those early days, you're just ... it was hard. He was tough and he was really strict.

CL: And so when Stephen let you on the stage, finally, did you always have that inspiration or that want to move into choreography, or was that in the background or did Stephen see that in you or-

FR: Yeah it was always in the background.

CL: Was it? Yeah.

FR: I think it was a bit of both. I think he could definitely sense that I was a storyteller in my own way. And I think as, being a muse for him, like myself and Russell, we was this just ... I remember being in the studio with them both and David would be creating music and going through a studio and coming back and Djakapurra was in the studio and we could just ... I mean, Stephen wouldn't have to talk. He would just tell a story and Djakapurra and myself and Russell would just respond and working with Russell, we just understood each other on another level.

I'd never come across a ... and I don't think probably ever I had a partner, like he could partner and complete trust. I could close my eyes and know that he was there. And yeah, just that incredible sense of I guess two spirits coming together and just knowing from ... and I've heard other dancers talk about it, just being able to sense their partner and where they're about to move to, and how to kind of be able to compromise or give and take to kind of find the nuances needed to create that connection with each other. Yeah. It's hard to describe.

CL: It's quite emotional to hear actually, because obviously, Firestarter, the documentary about Bangarra's story has just premiered really since we've spoken. And obviously that explored Russell is Stephen's brother and David is Stephen's brother and extreme personal tragedy for Stephen and the Page family.

FR: Yeah.

CL: And you lived through that generation of all the creation with those three brothers. Was it hard to watch back or was it cathartic to hear those stories again?

FR: It's hard. It's hard, but it's also like, "Oh my God, we did all this stuff," and when you look back on it, you go, "I didn't realize that we were ... " I didn't realize we were responding to politically what was happening in Australia at the time and challenging that. That's what Bangarra was doing. The fact that we were surviving and telling these stories in these really ... and reflecting the political climate at the time.

CL: I mean, you were really ... it was groundbreaking, but sort of it felt like Bangarra sort of burst into that main arena at the same time as all this political conversation was happening and you were sort of there in the center of it.

FR: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And just kind of holding this really ... I think the platform that we held gave us this beautiful protection because we had ... we were telling these stories of social issues and the trauma of the experiences of our people. But also we were able to kind of do it with the beautiful, poetic protection of our choreography and that amazing music that carried the stories created by David Page. And just having the creatives that did these incredible sets and lighting. And I remember when we first performed “Ochres” we had ... that was just done on two sticks and a rocket, Belvoir St theater. And we had this ... there was no set. I think we had some buckets with some ochre in it when we were doing Wyatt.

And we didn't know that it was going to be the success that it was, but people were like, "Oh my God," the way they responded to it was like, "This is really groundbreaking." And we've never had our stories told in this way before, and it just had this power and this care and this elegance and this integrity, and Djakapurra kind of held this space, this deep cultural space and kept us grounded. And Bernadette just had this ... she had a high bar as well. She was like, "Look, you know ..." especially for us women in the original version, we danced topless. And myself and my sister were like, "No."

CL: I mean, even now.

FR: Yeah, that's right.

CL: That's huge to do that in any medium.

FR: Yeah. Yeah. But Bernadette was like, "You have to trust me, this is going to be good." And Stephen said, "We've got to start breaking down those walls that have been placed on us, and we have to decolonize these practices so that we can tell our stories."

CL: And I think actually that is ... sorry.

FR: And we accepted it. And we looked at it like that. Oh, sorry. Yeah. Once we looked at it like that, we went, "Okay, I can now see why this is important." And yeah, it just-

CL: Yeah. And sorry, what I was going to say is just, I actually think that is where the power of Bangarra is because in those political storytelling, you don't get tripped up on the words and people don't get funny about, "Am I saying the right or the wrong thing?" It's just presented-

FR: Yeah, that's right.

CL: ... and people just have to accept it, and then they can then reflect or feel uncomfortable or challenge their own thoughts. But it's just given to you in a way that I think words can't ever be as powerful.

FR: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, exactly. And I think people switch off. People are like, "Oh, here's the another victim story." Or, "Here's another sad Indigenous profile on petrol sniffing or something," and they just switch off and they don't want to know, they don't want to hear, they don't want to know what's happening in the fringes, the remote areas, in the communities. And the way our society is set up is that we have these different socioeconomic cities that are set up where wealthy people live on this side. And if you're an artist you might live here because there's affordable housing. And if you're struggling with three kids and you're a single parent, then you'll live out out west somewhere here. And it's so unfair because we miss coming together to share and to celebrate and to enjoy what Australia is about, you know.

CL: You talked about your closeness with Russell in that artistic sense. Was it hard to stay with Bangarra after he passed?

FR: Yeah, that was incredibly ... I mean, we went ... we had to go and perform, and continue ... We were in the middle of a season when he passed and we just finished our Sydney season and we were due to open the next week in Brisbane. And yeah, we performed the next week and that was ... I remember all of us coming off stage and collapsing. It was incredibly, incredibly difficult, but what held us together was his whole family. They all sat in the front row and, yeah.

CL: I'm so sorry.

FR: And they carried us through. No, that's all right. And they carried us through and we were so happy to get back to them because they had shared him with us for so long. And they'd be ... I'll never forget that. And I'll never forget my time. And just having that magical experience of seeing those three brothers creating a world together and just that's a gift and I'm one of the rare few people that were privy to that. I'll never take that for granted. Yeah. They're just precious memories. And I think it is hard to talk about it, but I don't want to be ashamed of speaking about death and speaking about loss. And I think we should talk about the memories and the legacy that he left and his legacy still lives today in the young men of the company who follow in his footsteps and just revere him and they say, "Oh, tell me stories about him. What was he like?" And that's such a beautiful honor to be able to tell those stories and that they're still ... and to keep his memory alive.

CL: Oh, absolutely.

FR: And that's why we have the Russell Page graduate program traineeship, so that we're nurturing the next generation of young artists coming through in honor of him. Yeah.

CL: And you and him really-

FR: Yeah. It's hard but, you know.

CL: Yeah. Just that he together with you and the dancers of that time really forged Bangarra into this new level of dance company that didn't exist in Australia, and has gone on to what feels like a powerhouse company at the moment.

FR: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. And the thing is, is that there was nothing ... there was ... I think we, because it was all new and we were working with this new form and we were growing it and developing it together and believing in this vision that Stephen had and all contributing and feeding into that. And I don't think we were second guessing ourselves or saying, "Oh, we can't do this because it's ..." We had nothing to lose. So we just risked and all believed in the same thing, and we were able to kind of-

CL: And it sounds like-

FR: ... to grow up. Yeah.

CL: And it sounds like from what you were saying before is you didn't even realize until perhaps having the hindsight and even I guess seeing where Bangarra is today that the impact that you were having at that time, because you were just believing in something and working together.

FR: Yeah, that's right. I mean, even looking back at Firestarter and seeing the Olympics and still getting those goosebumps and going, "Oh my God. I remember the moment that the Wondjina came up and all of us, you could feel the whole stadium just all sucked in their breath. And there was this silence as this Wondjina just grew from the ground. And I felt like everything changed after that, because there was this sense of pride in our Indigenous cultures, because we got a lot of backlash for being involved in the Olympics, and we should have boycotted and all of this, you know.

Yeah. It was really hard, and Stephen was like, "No, we have to do this. We have to represent the diversity of living culture and language that has survived genocide, stolen generation, government policies that have been implemented to see us fail, but we have to show that we are alive and we are strong and we are powerful, and we have young people that are going to step into the next generation. They're going to be carrying these stories and this culture going forward into the future," but looking back and seeing that was really, really quite powerful. And it was like, "Oh, wow." I cannot believe we did that. It still blows my mind.

CL: Wow.

FR: Yeah.

CL: Something I wanted to ask you about. And I think female dancers struggle with this, is how you made the choice to step away to become a mum.

FR: I actually wanted to ... I think once I kind of felt like my ... when I was with ... I was only with the company for 12 years.

CL: Only. I love that. 12 years. That's huge, your dancing career.

FR: I mean this is in a company where Elma Kris is still performing-

CL: That's true.

FR: So I'm like, "Oh, well, in terms of the others, mine is relatively short, but I think I was really ... I knew when I wanted to move because ... when I wanted to step away, because I just ... I'd lost my passion. And I think I had just burnt it out. “Ochres” was a big success. And after the Olympics, things only got more busier. And I think we just ... I really felt like I kind of had a really rich life as a performer. I'd met my husband, Scott, and we'd gotten married and I really wanted us to have our own family. And I wanted a home. I'd never had a home before. And I think because of just my upbringing being so transient, I was just hungry to have somewhere that we could just live and just grow, have our life and have children and be able to ... and I kind of thought I wanted to know if there was more to me as a person as well.

CL: Did becoming a mum change you?

FR: Yeah. Becoming a mum absolutely changed me. And I think when you're in the little bubble of being the performer and with a company, and you're just working in and out and you're going tour, and the rehearsals and then performing and touring, it just becomes this endless cycle and you have your own little selfish way of surviving. And I just really needed to kind of reset and find a new what else, who else I was, as a person and, yeah. So I think stepping away and becoming a mother was a big decision, but also I was determined to not give up my career as well. I was like, "Well I still want to choreograph and I still want to guest, and I still want to do all of this. I've just got to make sure that I plan and be able to, I guess, make sure that I have the support around me to be able to work and also be a mother and find that balance," like every other working parent in the world and-

CL: The eternal juggle.

FR: My kids, yeah, my children know the theatre very well, and rehearsal studios and all the ... I often find myself having to breastfeed in the studio while I was going out to express while I was ... But you do these things and you adapt and grow and evolve and some days are good and some days it's like, "Okay, I'm not superwoman. I just need to stop, and just give myself a break and stop trying to be everything to everyone."

CL: So finally, let's get to “SandSong.” It had already had this ridiculously incredible journey to make it to the stage. It endured Covid in 2020. And then it finally made it to the stage Sydney Opera House of all the stages in June this year. I actually re-read what I had written about it, and it was such a powerful work. And we touched on it before, but that without having words to trip over, it can just be so much more impactful. And I mean, it got rave reviews. It was just a powerhouse of a work. Can you tell us what happened after it premiered in Sydney?

FR: We had a good few weeks on stage and then everything kind of blew up in Sydney and the show had to come down early. But what time we did have was absolutely invaluable. And we actually got our cultural consultants over from all the way from their little community outside of Fitzroy Crossing in W.A., they came to Sydney. They saw the work. They got to have some time with the dancers on stage. And yeah, it was just amazing. And we just got that little window where we were able to fly them over and you know-

CL: Because that Western Australian border comes down pretty quick so.

FR: It does, absolutely, so quick.

CL: They just got in and out then.

FR: They had no qualms, were just slamming that door shut but we got them over and we had such a beautiful time. It was amazing. And the dancers loved it. And just to have them there for the opening night and have them bring them on stage and those stories.

CL: And sharing that tiny remote community and their life-

FR: Yeah, that's right, yeah.

CL: It just was such a incredible juxtaposition to say this tiny remote community being celebrated on the stage of the Sydney Opera House, just-

FR: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.

CL: ... amazing.

FR: And these experiences of desert people that were, due to government policies removed off their land and then forced on to stations and used as labour. And then with the coming of the Pastoral Act, then they were removed again and had no jobs and had to start again from the beginning and ... oh the resilience. But the biggest thing that is inspiring is that they never talk negative about these experiences. They're always like, "Well, this is what's shaped who we are. We're strong people. We're strong desert people just as we've always been. We survived. And we still teach law and culture to our children today."

CL: Frances, one final question, and it's a biggie, but I just wanted to ask, I mean, you are a female, you're a First Nations female, and you're in a position of leadership in this country. Does that come with responsibilities or with weight? Do you feel the pressure of that position?

FR: Yeah, I feel ... it does. And there are times where I go, "Oh God, this is sometimes ... " It's weight, but it's also a sense of ... I guess it's an honour as well, because I know that ... and sometimes I go, "Oh God, am I the right person or ... am I doing the right thing?" And I guess every person who is in that position they tend to question themselves and they ask themselves those questions. Is this the right thing to be doing? And are you doing it the best way that you know how? I like to think at Bangarra that when we work together and we make decisions, that it's done in a really collaborative way, that it's not just the weight placed on one person, but it's shared, and culturally, when we make decisions and you don't have one person who stands up and speaks above everybody else, but it's something that is talked and discussed.

And this company was set up with cultural values at its core and are we keeping ... are we caring for those cultural values? Are we caring for the integrity of the company? And is this something that is going to change the perspectives of Indigenous Australia and bring about positive changes? I think that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to change perspectives and to shift society's views and to be able to offer some insight and a glimpse into Indigenous Australia, and be able to break down some of those walls, be able to ... preconceived ideas of who we are as Indigenous people and our experience, and to be able to tell it as a story and through this powerful form of contemporary Indigenous dance is such a gift.

And I think that that's ... if I honor that, and I think to my original when I was five years old and I was trying to make sense of the world and I did it through that language, and I communicated through my first language, which was movement and it's never failed me. So I just try to trust that and listen to that.

CL: Thank you so much. It's just been an absolute honour and yeah, just to hear you speak, and I know so many young girls and young Indigenous dancers look up to you. So thank you so much for speaking with us today.

FR: Thank you so much. It's lovely to chat with you.

Since we spoke, Frances and all of Bangarra have completed their 14-day quarantine in the Northern Territory, and now head to Queensland to perform “SandSong, Stories from the Great Sandy Desert.” For dates, locations, and to buy tickets, head to or head to their Insta page @bangarradancetheater, and to continue to follow Frances on her incredible journey, she's on Instagram @franrings.

Frances and I recorded remotely with Frances dialing in from quarantine in Howard Springs, in the Northern Territory, the land of the Larrakia people to which we pay our greatest respects. On the next episode, you'll hear from Daniel Riley, the newly appointed artistic director of the Australian Dance Theatre.

Your host and producer is me, Claudia Lawson, additional production by Penelope Ford, with editing and sound production by Martin Peralta. And for the latest in all things dance, head to

If this episode has triggered any thoughts or feelings, and you'd like to chat to someone, please contact Beyond Blue in Australia or for anywhere else in the world, please contact your local support group.

Claudia Lawson

Claudia Lawson is a dance critic based in Sydney, Australia, writing regularly for ABC Radio National, ABC Arts, and Fjord Review. After graduating with degrees in Law and Forensic Science, Claudia worked as a media lawyer for the ABC, FOXTEL and the BBC in London, where she also co-founded Street Sessions dance company. Returning to Sydney, Claudia studied medicine and now works as a doctor. She is the host of the award-winning Talking Pointes Podcast.


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