A feast of dance for Perth

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Henry Alexander adn Benjamin Warbis in Michael Clarke's 'To a simple, rock’n’roll ... song'.
Henry Alexander adn Benjamin Warbis in Michael Clarke's 'To a simple, rock’n’roll ... song'. Photo: HUGO GLENDINNING

The artistic director of the Perth Festival, Wendy Martin, is a declared dance lover, and her extensive line-up of dance events at the 2018 are testament to her passion.

One of the highlights is the Australian premiere of Vessel, by in-demand choreographer Damien Jalet. The Belgian choreographer is no stranger to Australian dancers and dance lovers, particularly through his popular Babel, a collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which premiered at the Sydney Festival in 2012. Vessel is a collaboration with Japanese sculptor Kohei Nawa, whose extraordinary foam sculptures formed the initial inspiration for this work. Set on a stage flooded with water, seven dancers test the limits of gravity and liquid in a work that fuses sculpture and dance and confuses the perception of the body. With a score by composer Ryuchi Sakamoto and Marikho Nara, Vessel was hailed a masterpiece at its Japanese premiere in January and has its first international outing in Perth before a European tour. (Look out for our forthcoming interview with Damien Jalet!! Coming soon!)

Michael Clark is also no stranger to Australian dance lovers. Forever dubbed “the wild-child of British dance” since emerging in the 1980s as a groundbreaking, punk-inspired prodigy at London’s Royal Ballet School, he has remained at the forefront of innovation in dance. To the Perth Festival he is bringing to a simple, rock’n’roll ... song, a potent dance and music cocktail set to a stunning soundtrack by Erik Satie, Patti Smith and David Bowie. 

Australian dance luminaries Lucy Guerin, Gideon Obarzanek and Dancenorth will present Attractor, a trance-dance odyssey that invites audience members on stage to share a ritual of ecstatic abandonment. For this work they collaborate with the Javanese music group Senyawa, which reinterprets the Javanese tradition of entering trance through dance and music as a powerful secular present-day form. They combine hand-made electrified stringed instruments with opera style and heavy metal voice.

And from Taiwan’s award-winning U-Theatre comes Beyond Time, a glorious mix of martial arts, dance, thundering taiko drums, music and multi-media. Created from a 50-day walking meditation across Taiwan, this Australian exclusive is being billed as "a timeless journey into the awe-inspiring moments in life".

Perth Festival runs from Feb 9 to March 4. For more info, go here.

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