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Russell Page

1968 – 2002

Russell Page (1968-2002), choreographer, dancer and actor, was from the Nunukl (Noonuccal) people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh people of south-east Queensland. The youngest of twelve children, he grew up in the working class Brisbane suburb of Mt Gravatt . He was a skilled rugby league player, chosen to play for the Queensland Zone side, but at the age of 16 he chose instead to follow his brother to study at the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association's Dance College in Sydney. Overcoming his initial rebellion at the discipline of dance, he quickly became 'pure spirit' in performance, equally breathtaking as an earth-bound or aerial dancer. With brothers Stephen, an artistic director, and David, a composer, he was a founder of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, and was its principal artist from 1991, although he occasionally took time to dance with other companies, including The Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide and the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre in Sydney. Page was also a seasoned television and film performer, appearing in the feature film Kick, the contemporary opera Black River, ABC TV's Poison, Tracy Moffatt's film Bedevil and Christine Anu's Wanem Time. He represented Australia at the 1997 Venice Biennale and appeared in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. The Bangarra production Walkabout received typically ecstatic reviews from critics, with Page's solo singled out for special praise. He died in July 2002, leaving his family, his three children, and Australian art, dance and Aboriginal communities mourning an irreplaceable loss.

Updated 2018