Jasmin Sheppard Residency

Image courtesy of the artist

Monday 7 – Sunday 20 January, 2019

Dancer and choreographer, Jasmin Sheppard, will be in residency at C-A-C for two weeks developing a new work.

How do we find our connection to country when we have lost our family?

How do we sift through our own history and intergenerational trauma to connect to culture?

If we have lost our family or country, does DNA give us our birthright to identity?

Based on the poetry of acclaimed Kokatha/Yankunytjatjara writer Ali Cobby Eckermann, When Walawaru Soars, is a dance and orchestral work-in-progress investigating the link between the loss of one’s mother through the Stolen Generations, the loss of country (our mother) and fragmented identity.

When Walawaru Soars is choreographed by Jasmin Sheppard, composed by Benjamin Ward and performed by Kaine Sultan Babij.

Artist Biography

Jasmin Sheppard is a contemporary dancer and choreographer of a multicultural background. She is A Tagalak and Kurtjar woman from the Gulf of Carpenteria in North Queensland, and also has Chinese and Irish on her Father’s side,and has Irish, Hungarian and Czech heritage from her mother’s side. Her choreography comments on social issues and historical events, highlighting the voice of Indigenous and other minorities.

She began her contemporary dance career in around 2006, working with choreographers such a Vicki Van Hout and Jason Pitt. She was an understudy for Vicki Van Hout’s work Wiradjurni, 2006, and was one of two Indigenous dancers who worked with Jason Pitt on his investigatory work into the skin head movement, and racism in Australia. An excerpt of this work in process was performed at the 2006 Australian Dance Awards.

In 2006 Jasmin choreographed and performed in ‘The Migrant Project’ with Curious Works (now Co-Curious) an interdisciplinary arts company that works with Western Sydney artists from migrant and multi cultural back grounds. This series of projects was a commentary on the experience of young people growing up in an urban setting, integrating cultural heritage in an Australian society.

In 2007 Jasmin joined Bangarra Dance Theatre, and was given my first feature role with the company in Elma Kris’ work ‘Emeret Lu’. The performance was described by critics as “almost mystical in its ambiguity.” ( Australian Stage, 5th August, 2007)

In 2012 she was nominated for an Australian Dance award for outstanding performance by a female dancer for the company’s production of ‘Belong’.

In 2014 Jasmin performed the title role in Bangarra’s ‘Patyegarang’. Her interpretation of the role was described as “powerfully engaging” and a “fluent physical dexterity and thoughtful depth of interpretation” (Sydney Morning Herald, 13th June, 2014).

In 2013 Jasmin  premiered her first choreographic work for Bangarra; ’MACQ’. In 2016 it went on to tour nationally, and in 2017, Internationally to Germany. ‘MACQ’ has been described as “surreal and highly evocative”. (The Australian, June 20, 2016)

In 2016 Jasmin began to dedicate more time to her independent practice, and choreographed and performed in a full length solo work titled “When Walawaru Soars”, a collaborative work with composer Ben Ward (Sydney Symphony Orchestra). She gained permission to use the poems of acclaimed poet Ali Cobby Eckemann to explore the connection between the stolen generation and our disconnection to country.

In 2017 she collaborated on a live performance including dance with music artist Briggs, and was later invited to create a work for Legs On The Wall’s Parachute Festival, in which she choreographed and performed in her work ‘No Remittance’, an installation work with aerial movement and dance film. This was a commentary on the stolen wages of Aboriginal workers in the early 1900’s.