Up in the sky there is a giant emu. They have been there all along, in the calendar in the sky. Above our heads, a creator spirit,[note]The title of Bruce Pascoe’s book, Dark Emu, on which Bangarra Dance Theatre’s “Dark Emu” is inspired by, “refers to the shape of the ‘Dark Emu’ in the night sky which represents Baiame, one of the spirit creator figures of Aboriginal Australia. The emu is also a grain feeding bird, and a plains bird, so the reference is to the creator spirit and to Aboriginal food production”. Bruce Pascoe, in interview, “The Book,” Bangarra Dance Theatre “Dark Emu” programme, Melbourne, 2018 22.[/note] their long form stretches in the dust clouds of the Milky Way from the Coalsack to beyond Scorpius.[note]Robert S. Fuller, Michael G. Anderson, Ray P. Norris, Michelle Trudgett, “The Emu Sky Knowledge of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi Peoples,” Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, vol. 17, 2, preprint, accessed September 7, 2018: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1403/1403.0304.pdf[/note] And this is where Bangarra Dance Theatre’s “Dark Emu” begins. Looking up. Connected. Looking back. Connected. Looking forward. Connected. Like the emu detectable in the night sky, which has been there all along.
Bangarra Dance Theatre performing “Dark Emu.” Photograph by Daniel Boud