When Bangarra Dance Theatre first performed in Bendigo it was to a packed Ulumbarra Theatre.
The encouraging welcome made them eager to return.
As the company prepared to launch their regional tour of Bennelong, cast members took time out to run workshops with secondary students.
Bangarra dance Ryan Pearson worked with students from Bendigo South East College and Assumption College Kilmore on Wednesday.
"Our community engagement workshops are some of the most important activities the company do," he said.
"A workshop like (Wednesday's) can light a spark within one of those kids that could potentially lead to a career in dance. That’s what happened for me.
"So I love doing those workshops because I think they’re fundamental in terms of the future of this company and for the future of Indigenous dance."
Pearson said he tried to run energetic workshops that keep students enthused.
"I think that helps the kids get more comfortable," he said. "I like talking about the fundamentals of Bangarra’s dance repertoire, and the relationship with the earth and how we dance – in the hope the students take something away from that.
"We never dance just by ourself, we always dance with the land."
Bennelong tells the story of Woollarawarre Bennelong, a senior man of the Eora nation, from the Port Jackson area, who was who became an intermediary between his clan and the colonists.
Governor Arthur Phillip ordered his initial capture in an effort to establish relationships with the Indigenous people.
Bennelong would eventually travel to England with Governor Phillip and was one of the first Aboriginal people to have their life story recorded and documented through the early diaries of the British military.
Rikki Mason, who plays Governor Phillip in the company's production of Bennelong, said it was a story that was important to every Australian.
"Coming from Sydney, it is right in our backyard," he said.
"The iconic landmark of the Syndey Opera House (is) on Bennelong Point, so to know the real story of the meaning of that name and the man behind it is important for every Australian."
Mason was part of Bangarra's original visit to Bendigo in 2017.
"We performed Terrain here about two years ago," he said. "It's nice to revisit places you've been. Bendigo is a beautiful place."
Bangarra Dance Theatre's production of Bennelong is on at Ulumbarra Theatre on Friday, February 15, and Saturday, February 16. Visit www.gotix.com.au for tickets.