Dark Emu

Inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s award-winning book, Dark Emu explores the vital life force of flora and fauna in a series of dance stories, redefining the post-colonial myth of the ‘hunter-gatherer’.



Bruce Pascoe’s award-winning book provides an historical account of the sophisticated farming, fishing and land management practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the continent prior to colonisation, exploding the hunter-gatherer myth which has been perpetuated to support the colonial lie of terra nullius.

Dark Emu chronicles what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have always known, that their reciprocal and interconnected relationship with the environment is both sustainable and sacred.

This production features the First Nations languages Djiringanj and Dhurga from the Yuin language group (Southern New South Wales).

Sections of Dark Emu

Dark Spirit of the Sky - Looking into the void
Ceremony of Seed - Working with the cycle of life
Forged by Fire - Fertilised by ash
Bogong Moth Harvest - Oiling and feasting
Crushed by Ignorance - The calamity of disregard
Escape Through Dust - A resilient lone spirit prevails, moving onwards
Bowls of Mourning
- Tears mix with the earth in caps of clay
Trampled by Indifference
- A scourge of hooves, of flies and disease
Rebirth Ritual
- Carefully we are restored
Rocks of Knowledge
- Weaving traps with stone and skill
Whales of Fortune - The pinnacle of reciprocity, trust is shared with the cetaceans
Smashed by Colonisation - A final, climactic massacre, an uncomprehending destruction
Resilience of Culture - The wonder and power that nurtures earth, sea and sky
Baiame - The spirit of resilience and hope, singing up the land

Duration: 70 minutes

Dark Emu premiered in 2018.





Premiere Season: Australian Tour | 2018