OCHRE CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY DRAMATURG PHIL THOMSON AND DIRECTOR MARK HOWETTE TALK US THROUGH THEIR NEW WORK.
So where did it all begin Mark? Kwongkan(Sand) is a new work that began its journey in Bunbury two years ago. This innovative collaboration between Australian Indigenous and Indian classical dancers began its life as Kaya [Hello] which was developed during our professional residency at BREC and after the premiere in Bunbury, we continued to develop the work via epic trips to the desert, the goldfields, the city and to India.
Phil can you explain to us what the work Kaya was all about? Kaya examined the thrills and spills of cross-cultural relationships, and how to say hello to strangers. Kwongkan evokes the future from an ancient’s perspective… how do traditional people see the oncoming threats to their planet and culture. In desperation four individuals (two Australian, two Indian) evoke their gods to find answers to the intractable problems of our times… climate change, mass migration, globalisation, disrespect of women, fear of others.
And what can audiences look forward to with the new work? Kwongkan displays many dance cultures Nyoongar and Northern, Indian classical and traditional, mixed with amazing aerial work, stunts, film and original live music to tell a contemporary story.
It uses god-transformation techniques studied in India. The work promises to be spiritual, alarming, beautiful, unearthly and very real. The company consists of two Indigenous dancers, including local man Ian Wilkes, who has been working with Djitty Djitty school students in Bunbury when not touring and the brilliant Indian performers Isha Sharvani, Ratheesh Rajendram and Tao Issaro.
Mark as a local man are you excited about returning to the South West? We are reversing the journey this time, and really excited to invite the South West community back to BREC to see the final fruits of this extraordinary, remote and regional development journey before our major presentations at the Perth Festival and Australia Fest in India in the new year.
So whilst you’re based in Bunbury what will Ochre be up to? We’ll be artist’s in residence at BREC in Bunbury and we’ll enjoy getting out into the community to provide a variety of workshops, covering various dance techniques, music, yoga, acting and production skills to the local community.
Where can we see your performances? Ochre Contemporary Dance Company will perform Kwongkan (Sand) at BREC Thursday 18th and Friday 19th October. Tickets are available online bunburyentertainment.com or by calling BREC Box Office 1300 661 272 and anyone interested in joining one of our workshops can contact BREC’s Community Engagement Team on 08 9792 3111.