Sani Townson

Cultural Consultant

  • Torres Strait Islands, Queensland, Saibai Island

Sani trained with NAISDA Dance College for four years before joining Bangarra in 2001, performing all company repertoire from 2001-06. Sani continues his practice as a Cultural Ambassador and Artist and has worked extensively both throughout Australia and internationally in dance, music, acting and writing and is currently Bangarra's Youth Program Coordinator.



Sani is a descendant of the Saibai Koedal and Samu Clans of Saibai Island.



Sani studied at NAISDA Dance College from 1996–2000. While studying with NAISDA, he was a Featured Artist with Torres Strait Islander group Bibir in Bangarra's production Munikghay, part of Dance Clan 2.

Sani joined Bangarra Dance Theatre as a Dancer in 2001 and has travelled with the company on Regional Tours across Australia. He also toured internationally to Noumea, Japan, China, United Kingdom, United States of America, Monaco and New Zealand. During his time at Bangarra, he was nominated for Best Male Dancer at the 2003 Deadly Awards, and performed in awarding-winning productions such as Skin, Walkabout, Bush, Corroboree, Unaipon, Clan, Boomerang, and Amalgamate in collaboration with The Australian Ballet. Sani left Bangarra Dance Theatre at the end of 2006.

In 2008, Sani performed as a Guest Artist with Leigh Warren & Dancers in the acclaimed production of Petroglyphs - Signs of Life. Soon after, he danced in the musical film Bran Nue Dae directed by Rachel Perkins, and was a featured Dancer for Christine Anu in the 2009 Blues Roots Festival. Sani has also been featured on NITV’s popular lifestyle shows Move it Mobstyle and Express Yourself, and his choreographic work has been featured on Ready for This on ABC.

In 2009, Sani collaborated with Qantas on their 'I Still Call Australia Home' campaign, translating the second verse of the song into in his native tongue of Kalaw Lagaw Ya; the campaign launched at the Bledisloe Cup that year. 2010 saw Sani in the Helpmann-nominated production of Saltbush by Insite Arts, and in 2012 he was part of Wesley Enoch’s Sydney Festival show I Am Eora.

Ongoing collaborations with Gondwana Choirs have led to the creation of Ngailu – Boy of the Stars: the first ever Indigenous children’s opera, and choreographic collaborations with Marliya and Felix Riebl of Cat Empire. As an independent Artist and in partnership with organisations like the New South Wales Arts Unit (Department of Eduaction), Sani has facilitated workshops with children across the country. He was instrumental in forming the Sydney-based Aboriginal youth group Gili Dancers, which has been selected for the New South Wales State Dance Festival on numerous occasions.

He has had opportunities to choreograph for the Arafura Games in Darwin, as well as the launch for the National Congress for Australia’s First Indigenous Peoples, Gondwana National Indigenous Children’s Choir, NAISDA Dance College, and internationally at the Shanghai World Expo. Sani has been an Artist in Residence at both NAISDA Dance College and the Solid Ground Program at Carriageworks, and has choreographed works including Malu Ngadh Paru Kedha (NAISDA Dance College) and Lagaw Mabaygal – Ailan Ppl (Insite Arts). In 2019, Sani was the Artistic Director for NAISDA Dance College's End of Year Production Ngoenakap, inspired by the community of St Paul’s Village on Moa Island.

In 2020, Sani joined Bangarra's Youth Program Team in the role of Youth Program Coordinator. 2023 saw Sani make their Bangarra choreographic debut with Kulka for Dance Clan.