Kwongkan journeys from ancient cultures, through the present and into a future where the next generation struggles to save the planet and themselves. This international co-production is visually and sonically startling with passionately powerful physical performances at its core.
Indigenous Australian performers from Perth’s Ochre Contemporary Dance Company and India’s Daksha Sheth Dance Company combine traditional and contemporary dance theatre with live music, son et lumière, and aerial acrobatics.
Kwongkan means “sand” in Nyoongar language referencing the cultural significance of this indestructible element in both Indigenous and Indian dance ceremonies; and what most of us are doing about addressing the tsunami of climate catastrophes engulfing our planet – putting our heads in the sand.
Created and directed by Mark Howett over three years of travel to sacred lands in desert Australia and tropical India with the ensemble; including principal Nyoongar dancer and actor Ian Wilkes, renowned dancer and Bollywood actress Isha Sharvani and musician and composer Tao Issaro, this world premiere is a profound and dazzling mix of beauty and terror, hope and fear.
Arrive early to experience the pre-performance rituals, warm-ups, set preparation, costuming and body painting and perhaps to play a role in the unfolding narrative.
Chairs and picnic blankets are welcome, and food and drinks will be available for purchase.
A Perth Festival Co-Commission
Presented in association with Fremantle Arts Centre
Images: Mat McHugh
Duration: 80 minutes
Pre-show experience from 5pm
Warnings: Coarse Language, Smoke or Haze Effects, Open Flames, Strobe Lighting, Loud Sounds
Sun 17 Feb 8.50pm
Created and directed by Mark Howett
Performed and choreographed by Ian Wilkes, Isha Sharvani, Phil Thomson, Nadia Martich, Tao Issaro, Kate Harmann and Mark Howett
Design Dev Issao
Composer and Associate Director Tao Issaro
Costumes Mand Marky
Dramaturg: Phil Thomson – Video Design Michael Carmody
Videography Mark Howett and Tao Issaro
Ochre Contemporary Dance Company has triumphed over the last three years, and is now regarded as one of Australia’s leading physical theatre companies with five-star reviews for Kaya (2016), Good Little Soldier (2017) and 3.3 (2018). Having made work about cultural interaction, post-traumatic stress and indigenous incarceration the company is now embracing the most pressing issue of our times, the tipping point into climatic catastrophe.
Daksha Sheth Dance Company is one of India’s leading dance companies, having toured internationally for 25 years. They performed Shiva Shakti at Perth Festival 2013 (‘Takes one’s breath away.’-The West Australian). Daksha’s children, renowned dancer and Bollywood actress Isha Sharvani and musician, composer Tao Issaro are key creators and performers in Kwongkan.
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