Russell Page dancer reportedly dies, The acclaimed dancer, choreographer and one of a trinity of talented Aboriginal brothers died at the age of 34 in 2002 after taking his own life.
— JocelynMackenzieRoss (@JocelMR) July 6, 2021
The Australian art world mourns him as news broke that the talented dancer, one of the creative forces behind Bangarra Dance Theatre, and much-lauded for his intense physicality and grace, had passed away in Sydney.
Page’s last public performance of his long career was in a short Sydney season of Bangarra’s latest work, Walkabout, choreographed by his brother and the company’s artistic director, Stephen.
According to SMH ONLINE, The Page family, including the dancer’s 11 siblings, were too distressed to comment yesterday. A private funeral is planned in Brisbane, where Walkabout was to tour next.
The Queensland-born dancer so talented a rugby league player in his early days that brother Stephen once said he had had the potential to be the “Aboriginal Allan Langer” was the youngest of the three Page brothers, including musician David, making up the creative core of Bangarra.
He was the first to join, in 1991, performing the lead roles in keynote productions such as Corroborree and Praying Mantis Dreaming. He also performed for a short time with Adelaide’s Australian Dance Theatre.
He began his creative life at the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association College, training there before touring with Australia’s One Extra Dance Company.
He performed in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games, Tubowgule and the opening
ceremony of the Olympic Arts Festival, Skin.
Page also notched up television and film credits in productions such as the feature film Kick, Tracey Moffatt’s film Bedevil and Christine Anu’s Wanem Time.
He was nominated for the best actor award in the Tulliwali Awards this year.
The dancer took his life in Cronulla on Sunday.
The Herald’s dance critic, Jill Sykes, said the dancer’s death was a devastating loss.
“As a performer, he was unique – one of Australia’s best and most interesting dancers. And not just in the context of Bangarra. He was light and quick with an intensity that came from within, transforming mere movement into action that was rich in meaning and cultural references to past and present,” she said.
Page is survived by his parents, siblings and three young children.
Who Was Russel Page?
Russell Page (1968–2002), choreographer, dancer and actor, was a man of the Nunukl (Noonuccal) people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh people of south-east Queensland. Page and his eleven siblings grew up in Mount Gravatt, Brisbane.
He was a brilliant rugby league player, but shifted his focus to dancing, training at the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association College before touring with the One Extra Dance Company.
Co-founder and principal artist of the Bangarra Dance Theatre from 1991, he represented Australia at the 1997 Venice Biennale and appeared in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
Among his screen and television appearances was a role in Bedevil, directed by Tracey Moffatt. His last stage performance was in the Bangarra production Walkabout, directed by his brother, Stephen.
Russell took his own life at the age of 34, plunging his own large family and the broader Australian arts community into mourning. (Another brother, David, who was Bangarra’s music director, died in 2016.) Stephen Page remains the artistic director of Bangarra.