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Sydney Swans & Bangarra Dance Theatre

Media Release: July 27, 2009 in Dance, Indigenous |

Sydney Swans logoThe Sydney Swans and Bangarra Dance Theatre become “cousins” in an innovative new partnership arrangement The Cousins Program.

It is believed that this is the first ever partnership of this kind between a leading sports organisation and a leading arts company.

This unique association, the first to be developed within Bangarra’s Cousins Program, will allow both organisations to share valuable knowledge in a diverse range of areas, including marketing and sponsorship, community programs, along with performer and player development programs.

The Swans and Bangarra have much in common. said Bangarra General Manager Andrew Booth. Both organisations operate in extremely competitive environments, we both showcase the efforts of highly talented and highly trained individuals who work as teams and present spectacular performances.

The Sydney Swans are also extremely successful in marketing and corporate sponsorship having built up an extensive, and loyal supporter base, certainly there is much we can learn from the Swans in this regard. There is already a good relationship between the two organisations with some friendships between players and dancers, the Swans also have many indigenous players and both organisations have indigenous leaders.

We are also both committed to our communities with many community programs in place and there are great opportunities of working together, certainly everyone at Bangarra are very excited about the prospect of working with the Swans.

Kelvin Templeton, CEO of the QBE Sydney Swans was equally enthusiastic about the new relationship. There are many common areas between a dance group and a sporting club and from the Swans point of view we are delighted, and honoured, to formalise this association with the Bangarra Dance Theatre as their first ‘cousin’. Both organisations are dealing with young impressionable people who are often operating under considerable pressure, particularly leading up to performances.

Also in the case of both footballers and dancers their performing lives are usually over in their late 20s or early 30s, and transition back to normal life can be difficult, this is one area in particular we can work together. This coming together with the Bangarra Dance Theatre as their first ‘cousin’ is a most exciting opportunity for the Swans and I am sure we will all benefit greatly in the future.

Bangarra is one of Australia’s most electrifying dance companies. Founded in 1989 in Sydney, the company draws on Australia’s indigenous dance traditions going back at least 40,000 years and melds this rich past with contemporary dance styles. The company tours far and wide, from football fields in outback Australia, to the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and New York’s City Center. Bangarra took part in the 1996 Atlanta flag hand-over ceremony, choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director, Stephen Page.

Bangarra was involved in the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2000 Olympic Games, as well as in the opening ceremony, Tubowgule, for the Olympic Arts Festival as well as the World Premiere festival season of Skin at the Sydney Opera House during the Olympic Arts Festival. Page was the director of the indigenous segment for the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games.

The Swans have a rich history in Australian Rules Football stretching back to 1874 when the South Melbourne Football Club was first formed. In 1982 the Sydney Football Club was born when the South Melbourne Swans relocated to the Harbour City. In the 19 years that have passed since the Sydney Swans have grown to become the most popular football team in Australia with more than 1.8 million supporters. Last year more than 21 million Australian’s watched the Sydney Swans on Channel 7.s coverage of AFL, the figure representing a viewing audience more than 25% greater than the nearest AFL team. The Swans also enjoy the highest level of corporate sponsorship in the AFL.