Image: Joshua Staines

Preparing Ground

Marilyn Miller, Jasmin Sheppard & Katina Olsen

From the specific practices of ceremony to the methodical everyday routine, to the psychological preparedness for change and social movement; Preparing Ground is our preparation – of self, ground, mind, environment.

Within a quickly changing physical environment Preparing Ground examines how we can look back to our ancestors to move forward for future generations, to make ‘land’ / ground / home / self, fruitful again.

Within a political climate that feels unchanged since colonisation, Preparing Ground is rooted in survival… Is the circle truly broken, or are we in a state of ‘in between’?


This work draws on 3 different generations of First Nations women: Marilyn Miller, Jasmin Sheppard, Katina Olsen. These 3 women carrying the blood of 6 clans: Kuku Yalanji, Waanyi, Tagalaka, Kurtijar, Wakka Wakka, Kombumerri. All Murris reigning from the land now known as Queensland, using the knowledge of their forebears for their own foresight.

Marilyn Miller is of Kukuyalanji / Waanyi heritage. Marilyn toured with Aboriginal islander Dance Theatre-the Company and Bangarra, has a business degree, and is a leader in arts management. Preparing Ground will draw on her rich career with like-skilled First Nations female dancers.

Jasmin Sheppard, a Tagalak woman, joined Bangarra Dance Theatre in 2007, dancing in numerous senior artist roles. Choreographic works include: MACQ (Bangarra) 2013, No Remittance (Legs on the Wall) 2017, Choice-Cut (Yirramboi Festival, FFDNorth Festival, Toronto) 2019. Jasmin premiers her full-length work in 2020 at Campbelltown Arts Centre.

Katina Olsen, a proud Wakka Wakka and Kombumerri woman, interrogates contemporary dance and Indigenous cultural dance and story. Katina choreographed Yalu Dad and namu nunar for Festival 2018, and Mother’s Cry for Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed 2018. Her full-length solo work namu nunar will be presented in 2020.

“Jasmin Sheppard’s Macq….a powerful piece of dance theatre with a message.” – Sydney Morning Herald

“The work is filled with graphic choreography and stark symbolism…..It is a confronting but important piece to both watch and hear.” – ABC

“…Katina Olsen’s ‘Mother’s Cry’, a work driven by sensual feminine power and the highlight of the program… imagines a future in which a feminine energy brings the world back into balance… The world Olsen establishes is one entirely absent of the male gaze, and the sensuality of the movement is imbued with power and agency.” – TimeOut

“Indigenous choreographer Katina Olsen’s work, Mother’s Cry, is electrifying throughout… Olsen is definitely a choreographer to watch.” – Audrey Journal

Katina Olsen
Co-Director / Co-Choreographer
+61 418 779 487