Sheoak (Lore)

Sheoak from Lore: Cast Sheet 2015

  • Program, Resources

Premiered in June 2015 at the Sydney Opera House

Frances Rings investigates her connection to the land, the depth and the symbolism of the Sheoak tree, and its relation to our kinship system and the passing of knowledge from generation to generation in the production Sheoak.

In these heartfelt dance works, Bangarra explores themes of identity, inequality, climate change, and sustainability with a hopeful and positive outlook for the future.

Duration: 45 MINUTES

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Sheoak is work that embodies many things. Not only is the tree itself symbolic, from providing tools, medicine, food, and shelter, I also wanted it to symbolise our stories – stories of the dancers, of the creatives, of the history of the company, of our people. After 25 years of telling other people’s stories, it’s time to share our contemporary Indigenous experiences.

Land, country, culture will always be an inspiration for me.

Just as the Sheoak tree and many of our fauna and flora are endangered, so too are our Indigenous languages, customs and lore. Sheoak represents the threat to our culture but also the incredible fight we have within us to protect it.

Sheoak also represents the significance of features in our environment like scar trees, sites, waterholes – while today’s use of them might be long past to us, they represent a connection to our ancestors and Elders. Those ties are strong even though we may not live that lifestyle any more and live a contemporary Indigenous life, those things remain relevant and hold a strong place in our identity. They are within us. They give us a sense of strength and spiritual awakening. They ground us and keep us connected to something that transcends our modern life, and bound us to our birthright.

- Frances Rings, 2015

Sheoak's Sections:

Place - The land of the old growth scar trees has fallen. Its keeper mourns its loss. The people must now adapt to a new way of life

  • Scar Tree
  • Keeper
  • Men's Rib

Body - The seeds begin searching for new grounds. A new generation faces the challenges of community life. Restrictions to cultural practices creat a cycle of dysfunction

  • Seed
  • Swinging Tree
  • Synthetic Seed

Spirit - The birth of a spirit as it embarks on its journey. Its arrival brings hope for change and renewal

  • Sheoak Spirit
  • Birth Right
  • Ancestors Call

Sheoak premiered in 2015 as part of the double bill Lore, which included Sheoak and I.B.I.S.