Melbourne is currently playing host to Asia TOPA, a three-month-long festival of arts from the Asia-Pacific region, and among the 30 new works on the program are some curious and sometimes definition-defying dance offerings and collaborations.
As just a sample:
At Arts Centre Melbourne, Lucy Guerin Inc collaborates with Ensemble Tikoro, a heavy metal choir who come direct from the underground music scene in Bandung, for their first appearance outside Indonesia. Referencing the ensemble's sounds, the work is called Metal.
At Dancehouse, Japan's legendary Akira Kasai, heralded as the “Nijinsky of butoh”, will present his tour-de-force solo Pollen Revolution. Kasai morphs from kabuki performer to street dancer to solitary actor while his movement shifts between classical Japanese, hip-hop and the soulful otherworlds of butoh.
China and India meet in Samsara. Created and performed Aakash Odedra (UK/India) and Hu Shenyuan (China), this is inspired by the historical events recounted in the 16th century Chinese classic Journey to the West, and features the live music of London-based Nicki Wells.
Australian choreographer Lina Limosani and UK Bharatanatyam artist Seeta Patel come together in Not Today’s Yesterday, which won Best Dance at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe as well as a 2018 Peace Foundation Award.
In What Happened in Shanghai Australian choreographer Victoria Chui draws on her family roots in Shanghai to interrogate how the contemporary body can illuminate different attitudes towards family, and why families make the often difficult decision to move their home across borders.
The program also includes a Chunky Move Choreolab with Contact Gonzo, a hard-to-describe contact/improvisational group from Japan.
But wait, there’s more! Asia TOPA runs from January to March. For the full program, visit www.asiatopa.com.au
Pictured: Pollen Revolution. Photo: Daido Hiroyasu.