Brisbane-born, Yolande is a descendant of the Bidjara Clan Central Queensland, and is also of Celtic/French extraction. Reconnecting with her traditional homeland and people and digging her feet into Bidjara earth has been pivotal in her journey to learn more about her ancestry and the rich Indigenous cultures within our great country.
Yolande believes people can achieve what they set their hearts on and that every day can be eye-opening. Prior to her life in the Performing Arts, Yolande achieved scholarly pursuits. Being one of the top 500 students to graduate high school in Australia, she received the Australian Students’ Prize of Excellence. She then completed her C.Mus.A (AMEB) in piano performance and her BA (Dance) at QUT. Yolande has been a guest lecturer and choreographer at QUT and UNSW. In 2005, Yolande received the QUT Outstanding Alumni Award for the Creative Industries.
A Bangarra dancer from 1999-2015, her career highlights are vast and varied, including dancing on Country and forging deep friendships with the Pitjantjatjara and Yolngu people, as well as sharing the dance floor with peers from the Australian Ballet with Rites, Amalgamate and Waramuk. In 2008, Yolande contributed to the development of the role of Lady Jane Franklin in Bangarra’s Mathinna. Yolande was honoured to receive the Deadly Award for Best Dancer in 2010. In 2015, she played ‘Earth Spirit’ in Stephen Page’s feature film, Spear. This was a performance highlight for Yolande as she was pregnant with her son during the filming. Imprint was the first work she created for Bangarra as a part of Dance Clan 3 - Corroboree Festival 2013. In 2018, Yolande co-choreographed the critically acclaimed work Dark Emu. Inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s book of the same name, it became the most successful production in the history of Bangarra. In 2019, Yolande was excited to choreograph NowHere in collaboration with Caitlin Comerford for Stompin'.
Enjoying a long and extensive career in the performing arts, Yolande has collaborated with some of Australia’s creative leaders including Stephen Page, David Page (dec.), Frances Rings and Steve Francis (contributing vocals/piano to numerous Bangarra productions), Wesley Enoch (Associate Director/Choreographer, I Am Eora, Sydney Festival, 2012), Meryl Tankard (Dance Artist, Kaidan, Sydney Festival, 2007), Nadia Tass (Actor/Singer in lead role as Susan Pevensie in the Australian Musical The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, 2003) and David Leha (back-up vocals for Radical Son, 2017-2019).
Yolande is passionate about passing knowledge on to the next generation. On return from maternity leave, Yolande was excited to have the opportunity to coordinate and curate the development of Bangarra's digital platform Knowledge Ground. Yolande has also been instrumental in developing and delivering the company's Winhanga'rra (hear, think, listen) Teacher's Workshops.
As a 21st Century, Indigenous woman, Yolande aims to continue learning about our rich First Nations' cultural history, and inspiring the next generation of storytellers. She is excited to be working again with Wesley Enoch as Associate Director on the production Black Cockatoo for Sydney Festival 2020.