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Asia TOPA returns!

05 Feb 2020

Asia TOPA returns! Image

Words by Nick Obst

Asia TOPA (Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts) is in full swing and there’s still plenty to see.

The festival, running throughout February and March, will showcase some incredible multi-form artworks from some of the Asia-Pacific’s most talented artists.

Samsara (March 5-7) is a world premiere inspired by the histories, philosophies and cultures of China and India. International dance artists Aakash Odedra and Hu Shenyuan developed the piece, which combines ballet, contemporary dance, Chinese folk dance and classical Indian kathak dance to reframe traditional cultural practice.

“The way we’re collaborating is new and inviting for audiences,” Shenyuan said. “This collaboration is a statement of that and breaking down these barriers.” Samsara will run at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse.

Metal (February 24-27) is another world premiere running at the Playhouse. Co-created by Lucy Guerin and Ensemble Tikoro musical director Robi Rusdiana in Melbourne and Indonesia, Metal combines heavy metal, traditional throat-singing and contemporary Australian dance for a unique experience.

“There’s this intense crazy wild energy from the choir and a more refined, precise, disciplined approach from the dancers,” Guerin said. “These two coming together can add up to something extraordinary.”

The music program for the rest of the festival features a performance from legendary Pakistani spiritual singer Abida Parveen. Parveen specialises in two forms of Sufi poetry – Ghazals and Kafis – and has played a crucial role in the evolution of a traditionally male-dominated art form.

Asia TOPA and SalamFest teamed up to bring Parveen to Melbourne for a rare concert for Western audiences. She will perform at Art Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on February 29.

The Planet – A Lament (February 21-22) is a world premiere from Indonesian film director Garin Nugroho. Commissioned by Asia TOPA, Nugroho’s staged song cycle merges film, live street dancers from Papua, a 16-voice choir from Kupang and renowned Javanese dancer Rianto.

The performance tells a moving story of creation against the backdrop of environmental disaster, featuring both striking visual effects and a relevant message. Nugroho’s work will premiere at the Playhouse.

For the full program visit asiatopa.com.au

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