Bangarra has announced that Senior Artist Beau Dean Riley Smith will depart after celebrating 10 extraordinary years with the company.
Riley Smith is an Aboriginal man from the Wiradjuri Nation of Central New South Wales and the Gamilaraay Nation of New South Wales. He auditioned for Bangarra after graduating from NAISDA and joined in 2013.
Riley Smith stunned Australian audiences in the title role of Bennelong (2017), for which he went on to win a Helpmann Award, an Australian Dance Award and a Green Room Award nomination. His iconic embodiment of Bennelong brought spirit to the conflicted life of the Wangal man and the cultural heart he carried in his role as mediator.
As a choreographer and cultural man, his work with Daniel Riley in Miyagan in 2016 was a bold heartfelt exploration of Wiradjuri kinship and family ties that reflected the strength and resilience that Riley Smith embodies on stage and off. His passion for his culture has helped foster important relationships with the many cultural families, particularly around Dubbo and Western NSW.
Bangarra Artistic Director Stephen Page said, “Beau is one of those rare artists who innately embodies a distinctive style that connects the physical, spiritual and the narrative of story, whilst along the way always having his feet connected to Country. He is an incredible storyteller of dance and a future dance maker who will be strongly telling truth from his black perspective. His footprint left in the ground of our Bangarra foundation will always be admired and respected.”
Earlier this year, Riley Smith wowed audiences in his musical theatre debut for Queensland Theatre Company’s The Sunshine Club directed by Wesley Enoch. In 2023, he’ll appear in The Visitors with Sydney Theatre Company. Riley Smith’s passion for First Peoples storytelling crosses artistic disciplines to bring to life the distinctive energy and nuanced quality central to cultural and contemporary Indigenous life.
Riley Smith will depart the Bangarra company in early 2023.