Taking inspiration from the poetry of Forough Farrakhzad, Conquest of the Garden is an interdisciplinary and experimental new dance work by Melbourne-based Choreographer Nebahat Erpolat, that will be presented at Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre this August.
A feminist poet whose work in 1950’s Iran was seen as highly transgressive as a result of its criticism of the position of women in Iranian society, Farrokhzad’s poetry presents urgent questions about women’s roles in our society and centers women’s subjective voices as architects of their own lived experience.
The melding of artistic forms through poetry, dance and sound enable experimentation with own voices, and a powerful reclamation of female identity to explore the multiplicities and complexities of Middle Eastern women’s identity.
Nebahat Erpolat, Hellen Sky, Sahra Davoodi and Victoria Chiu perform in this intercultural and intergenerational work, exploring the central ideas from Farrakhzad’s poem, subscribing these onto the moving body, uncovering the transgressive power of poetry and dance to underpin connection across cultures.
The choreography explores ideas of loss and belonging. Echoing the poems, there is an emotional intensity as the viewer is taken on a journey through the fusion of dance, sound and poetry in an evocative way.
“I think of my dance works as unfinished paintings of fragments, objects, writings, drawings, photographs, and other creations,” said Erpolat.
In the process, Erpolat is sharing her personal lived experiences as an Australian-Kurdish-Turkish dance maker. The audience, Erpolat adds, is invited to bring their own interpretations to the work.
The staging of the work has been highly anticipated since cancellations and is testament to the strength of the dance artists’ vision, despite the challenges of the past few years.
Conquest of the Garden
Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre, 189 High Street, Northcote
Performances: 18 – 20 August 2022
Information and Bookings: www.arts.darebin.vic.gov.au
Image: Conquest of the Garden – photo by Gregory Lorenzutti