Review: Sand Song dazzles with Dreamtime dance and storytelling

Kinderling News & Features

Photo credit: Prudence Upton

It’s difficult to describe Sand Song in a nut shell. To start with, it’s a work shop where children get to imagine their dreams and then paint them in bright colours on glass candle holders.

It’s also a dance class, with teachers leading children through different dance moves to recreate an emu or a brolga bird.

Then it’s a live story telling event, with fire-maker Rick Roser telling the Gammilleroi Dreaming Story about how the sun’s first light came into the world.

And finally, it’s an exquisite contemporary dance performance showing how a cheeky Brolga stole the Emu’s egg (that later became the sun… but I don’t want to give everything away!)

Photo credit: Prudence Upton

All of these elements are woven seamlessly together through the talents of Director Elena Vereker in collaboration with Walbira Murray, a Gumillaroi woman from Dirranbandi.

My five-year-old daughter Darcy and I watched the performance at the Cutaway in Barangaroo, Sydney. It felt like the closest you could get to the country will deep in the heart of the city.

After the children had painted their candle dream holders, we were ushered through an archway of gum leaves. With leaves underfoot and all around, the city started to smell like another place entirely.

Photo credit: Prudence Upton

The red sands from Walbira’s country made the shape of a giant turtle, and the children sat around the sand with their dream holders in front of them. The dancers performed in the centre, interacting with the children throughout.

It’s a pretty special thing to have dancers make eye contact, and share such genuine smiles in the middle of a performance. Darcy was completely captivated.

After the show, the children put their painted hand prints on a wall, got their faces painted and feathers put in their hair.

When I asked Darcy later what her favourite part was, she held her hands out as if measuring a shoe box. Upon further investigation, it turns out that means "everything", which I think is a pretty good stamp of approval.

I definitely recommend you see Sand Song if you get the chance. It's a beautifully realised, completely immersive experience that you’re sure to enjoy as much as your kids.

Visit Barangaroo's website for ticket info and sales. Hear our interview with director Elena Vereker and performer Sani Ray Townson on Kinderling Conversation.

Shevonne's daughter with performer Sani Ray Townson