When deciding what work from its acclaimed history to stage to mark its 30th anniversary, Bangarra Dance Theatre chose three.
The artistic director of the Indigenous dance company, Stephen Page, said Bangarra was scraping the surface of its own history in much the same way it scraped the surface of its culture.
"It's a big program, and that's what's great about Bangarra, we're not art for art's sake," Mr Page said.
"We draw on our heritage, and we're only scraping the surface of our 65,000 year history of culture."
Coming to the Canberra Theatre, the company's latest show, 30 Years of Sixty-Five Thousand, will showcase three performances drawn from Bangarra's history, including the first work choreographed by an international, non-Indigenous choreographer.
The first work, Unaipon, will re-stage the dance performance first performed in 2004, based on the life story of the man on the $50 note, David Unaipon.
Mr Page commissioned the work 15 years ago, and said the new staging was an opportunity to revisit it with a new generation of dancers.
"I thought it was a good representation of us reclaiming our history from our perspective," he said.
"From a biographical point of view, it's about celebrating this man, who still today, many don't know about."
Stamping Ground will be a premiere for Bangarra and will showcase the ballet of acclaimed Dutch choreographer Jiri Kylian.
Then-artistic director for the Nederlands Dans Theater, Kylian attended Indigenous dances and corroborees in Australia during the 1980s, creating a ballet based off their movements.
Mr Page said the work had come full circle, being performed by an Indigenous dance company 33 years after it was last staged in Australia.
"It had quite a ballet and classical dance approach to the way these movements are taught as well," he said.
"When Bangarra took it on, we wanted to go deeper and wanted [the dancers] to bring some of themselves to the pieces and bring the experienced connection to their land through."
The final piece as part of Bangarr's anniversary celebrations is to make fire, which draws on Indigenous songs and stories from across Australia.
Mr Page said the approach to Bangarra's latest show celebrating its history was vastly different compared with its 20th anniversary.
"In 2009 we did an almost Bangarra variety show and did excerpts of all our works," he said.
"With this one, we wanted to have strong pieces that shows the spirit of character of the company."
The four performances in Canberra are part of a national tour that will run until October.
Mr Page said the performance celebrating Bangarra's history was a chance for the dancers to showcase their culture.
"They get out and perform and be empowered, and they get to work in a profession where they're able to be connected to heritage," he said.
- 30 Years of Sixty-Five Thousand, Canberra Theatre, July 18-20. Tickets: canberratheatrecentre.com.au