Beyond the Walls - dancers embody powerful stories from incarcerated youth

Celebrated Australian arts company Phunktional will bring their extraordinary dance work, Beyond the Walls, to the Sydney Opera House for one show only on December 12, 2019. This inspiring program of original dance works was choreographed by young people incarcerated in youth justice centres directing the professional dancers. Phunktional Founder and Artistic Director Gerard Veltre said the company is thrilled to be able to share this immensely powerful, uplifting and inspiring work with new audiences at the Sydney Opera House. “This is a unique opportunity to see work created by incarcerated youth, to support their journey of healing and to celebrate their achievements by sharing their stories ‘beyond the walls’,’’ he explained. Early in 2019, Beyond the Wall visited two NSW youth justice centres – Frank Baxter and Reiby Youth Justice Centre, twice a week for six weeks. They worked with the young people aged 11 to 19, encouraging them to share their experiences and stories in the form of dance and directing the dancers. Together they found a collective voice for their individual experiences. The Sydney Opera House performance will feature Australia’s best B Girl, Demi Serono (So You Think You Can Dance, Blaze); recognised aboriginal dancer, Glen Thomas; Torres Strait Islander model and dancer, Hans Ahwang; B Boy Anastasios Repousis and Aroha Pehi with live music by DJ Wasabi. Phunktional is passionate about providing equal opportunities for diverse communities and using the arts as a vehicle for creative expression to inspire change and to confront social issues of concern. “At Phunktional we are passionate about creating art that enables a greater diversity of human perspectives and experiences to be heard here in Australia and internationally. Working with young people, and in this case with young people in youth detention, provides them with the skills and support required to experience positive things in their life and affect real change" concludes Veltre. Public performances earlier this year, including a sold out performance at Redfern Community Centre, were acclaimed by audiences. "The talent, dedication and creativity in portraying the voices and truth of the young people was truly fantastic. WELL DONE!" Redfern Community Centre Patron following the sold-out show

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