Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards)

Marrugeku Dancing with Stangers Eric Avery - photo by Michael Torres Jalaru PhotographyInternationally acclaimed contemporary dance-theatre company Marrugeku presents the world premiere of Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards) at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) from 7 June 2018.

From the creators of Gudirr GudirrCut the Sky and Burning Daylight, Burrbgaja Yalirra is an evocative triple bill of new solo works. Marrugeku are based across the Yawuru buru in Broome and the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation in Sydney. The triple bill is curated by Marrugeku Co-Artistic Directors Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain.

Through a series of collaborations with Marrugeku Associate Artists Edwin Lee Mulligan, Eric Avery and Miranda Wheen and a team of interdisciplinary artists, Burrbgaja Yalirra presents a deeply poetic and vivid engagement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures across dance, music and storytelling.

Ngarlimbah (You are as much a part of me as I am of you) is a spoken word, dance and animated video work conceived by Walmajarri/Nyikina painter and poet, Edwin Lee Mulligan and created in collaboration with award-winning new media artist Sohan Ariel Hayes (Cannibal Story, Boorna Waanginy (The Trees Speak), Home). Ngarlimbah expresses the interconnected nature of human, spirit and environmental realms.

Dancer/musician Eric Avery collaborates with Belgian choreographer Koen Augustijnen (director of the award-winning Gudirr Gudirr) to create Dancing with Strangers. Avery belongs to the Yuin, Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan and Gumbangirri peoples of NSW and is a custodian of songs and dances from his father’s line. He explores the first colonial contact period, including early (and missed) opportunities for exchange in language, dance and sharing knowledge.

Miranda Wheen creates Miranda with Marrugeku’s associate choreographer Serge Aimé Coulibaly (Burkina Faso/Belgium). Taking a starting point of her namesake, Miranda from Picnic at Hanging Rock, Miranda explores the awkward, destabilising and often painful process for Australians of settler descent as they grapple with their own identity and sense of belonging when experiencing an encounter with First Nations Australian histories and cultural practices.

Speaking of the work, Marrugeku Co-Artistic Director Dalisa Pigram said “exploring the challenges of what it means to learn from one another and our experience and understanding of ‘country’, Burrbgaja Yalirra sees some of our finest collaborating artists give voice and embodiment to the complexities and possibilities of seeing and feeling from another perspective. Marrugeku looks forward to sharing these three solo performances with our audiences.”

PICA Director Amy Barrett-Lennard said “PICA is thrilled to be premiering Burrbgaja Yalirra – a landmark triple bill of new works by Marrugeku that has been co-commissioned by PICA with Carriageworks. Commissioning is a significant feat, and to partner with these two leading Australian organisations – who are recognised at the forefront of contemporary performance – is evidence of PICA’s recent performance program expansion.”

“We are excited to realise a project of scale and ambition through our additional financial support. This is a powerful, uniting work that explores the intricacies of Australia at this moment and will no doubt leave audiences deeply moved.”

Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards)
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) – Perth Cultural Centre, 51 James Street, Northbridge
Season: 7 – 16 June 2018
Information and Bookings: www.pica.org.au

Image: Eric Avery in Dancing with Strangers – photo by Michael Torres / Jalaru Photography