When choreographer Frances Rings unveiled Terrain in 2012, it was her first full-length work for Bangarra Dance Theatre. Hailed by audiences and critics alike, it won two Helpmann Awards before travelling around the country in 2016–17. Although Rings had previously created shorter pieces for Bangarra, the premiere of Terrain was very much a seminal moment. Ten years on, the work has lost none of its freshness.

Terrain Bangarra

Chantelle Lee Lockhart, Lillian Banks and Courtney Radford, Terrain, Bangarra Dance Theatre, 2022. Photo © Daniel Boud

Lighting designer Karen Norris welcomes us with a blinding flash that exposes a white box stage – the long-held signifier of innovation and transformation in the theatre. It doubles as the gleaming salt pan of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. This setting frames a series of backcloths by set designer Jacob Nash. They fly in and out with each of the nine vignettes that constitute Terrain, depicting various aspects of Country, culture and practice. One of these is titled Scar and deals with the environmental damage caused by human activity. It plays out against one...