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Here we present some of our people who have been trailblazers in their lifetimes. This section contains images of deceased people; the use of these images has been approved by the artist's families and trustees.

1968 - 2002

Russel Page

Born 1968 in Queensland, descended from the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe. Russell trained at NAISDA College before touring with Australia's One Extra Dance Company in Othello. In 1991 he joined Bangarra Dance Theatre dancing leads in Praying Mantis Dreaming, Ninni, Ochres and Fish.

As a solo artist he was in demand to create and perform thematic pieces for art exhibition openings and other special events, including the 1997 Venice Biennale. He choreographed for, and performed with, the bands, Jump Back Jack, Jacky Orzasky and Drum Nutz. He also choreographed for Bruce Bereford’s film Paradise Road.

His film and TV credits as a performer included the Australian feature film Kick, the contemporary opera Black River, Poison for ABC TV, Tracey Moffatt's film Bedevil, Christine Anu's Wanem Time and the film musical Billie’s Holiday.

In 1999 he spent a year dancing with Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide, performing new works by Garry Stewart, Bill Pengelly, Natalie Weir, Bernadette Walong, Rosetta Cook and Alfred Taahi.

Russell danced and choreographed with Bangarra, appeared in the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Tubowgule, the opening ceremony of the Olympic Arts Festival, Skin and received rave reviews for his performance in Corroboree.

He was nominated for the Award for Best Actor for the Tudawali Awards in 2002. Russell was also awarded the prestigous Helpman Award for best male dancer in Walkabout 2003.

Russell had an intuitive style which enabled him to embrace traditional Indigenous forms of dance. He is remembered by many communities for his excellence in this regard. His skills were based on a respectful relationship developed with communities over many years.

In 2003 'Earthdancer' was staged in his honour at the Sydney Theatre Company. This event raised funds to reflect Rusell's wish for the development of young people in dance. As a result, the annual Russell Page Fellowship is awarded to a young dancer.

Russell was, without doubt, the leading dancer of his generation.

Biographical information and photograph courtesy Bangarra Dance Theatre. Photographer James Houston.

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