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Burrbgaja Yalirra 2 - a dynamic trilogy of cultural adaption and survival premieres in April

Joseph Guenzler -

Famed contemporary multi-arts organisation Carriageworks have announced the world premiere of brand new dance trilogy Burrbgaja Yalirra 2, by Australia's leading Indigenous intercultural dance company Marrugeku.

On show from the 21-29th of April, Burrbgaja Yalirra 2 features short works that trace histories of migration, relocation, cultural adaption and survival, and draws on the power of ancestral presence to remember the future.

Marrugeku's Co-artistic directors Rachael Swain and Dalisa Pigram by Michael Jalaru

Marrugeku's Co-Artistic Directors Rachael Swain and Dalisa Pigram curated the works conceived for Burrbgaja Yalirra 2.

The results reflect a multi-year program of intensive dance laboratories, aiming to build capacity in the next generation of leading change makers in community and culturally informed contemporary dance.

Marrugeku Co-artistic Director Rachael Swain said that "we are thrilled to be sharing each unique intercultural collaboration that make up Burrbgaja Yalirra 2".

"The works reflect the power and possibilities of dance to share new ways to belong in a changing world," she said.

"In dialogue with their communities and investigations between memories, movements and images the dancers have woven stories of relocation, cultural adaption and survival."

Bhenji Ra and Melanie Lane (Supplied by Carriageworks)

The commissioned works for Burrbgaja Yalirra 2 are:

No New Gods - A piece by performance artist Behnji Ra co-created with Javanese-Australian choreographer Melanie Lane.

Set in the moments before, during and after a lunar eclipse, Ra looks to channel colonial histories, epic narratives, and flora and fauna of the Philippine archipelago.

In uncanny constellations of the mythic and the mundane, Ra summons the Bakunawa who swallowed the moon, a serpent-like dragon believed in Philippine mythology to be the cause of eclipses, earthquakes, rains and wind.

Ra's voice echoes through time in a dystopian truth telling that warns of catastrophe invoked by failing to hear the wisdom of aunties, the agitation of tiny animals and messages contained within ancient stories.

Ses Boro and Stan Nalo by Leila Bouchet

Bloodlines - A clash of cultural and contemporary dance detailing the maritime histories of the Melanesian diaspora by Broome-based Aboriginal (Kunjen) and Torres Strait Islander (Erub/Meriam) dancer Ses Bero and Kanak/Ni Vanuatuan/Papua New Guinean hip hop dancer Stan Nalo.

The slavery and forced transportation of South Sea Islanders to eastern Australia that began in the early 1800s is counteracted by this intercultural and intra-Melanesian exchange facilitated by Ghenoa Gela and Miranda Wheen.

Through choreography that reveals the power of what is shared, what remains and what is different and distinct between the dancers' cultural experiences.

Zunnur Zhafirah and Emmanuel James Brown (Supplied by Carriageworks)

Nyuju - Embodies the need to connect to country in the central Kimberley, as told through the senior Wangkatjungka artist Nyuju Stumpy Brown's paintings.

Beautifully reflected in Sohan Ariel Hayes' animations, the immersive solo piece is performed by her great-grandson and proud Bunuba/Walmajarri/Gooniyandi dancer and actor Emmanuel James Brown, and co-choreographed by Dalisa Pigram, with Associate Choreographer Zunnur Zhafirah.

The masterfully curated trilogy was designed by Kanak French installation artist Nicolas Molé with music by Filipina Australian composer Corin Ileto, allowing for intangible knowledges visible and audible to evoke new ways to belong in a changing world.

"Carriageworks is proud to commission this innovative new work by resident company Marrugeku that brings together artists and choreographers working at the forefront of contemporary dance, and leading new approaches in intercultural collaboration," said Acting Carriageworks CEO Jonty Claypole.

Book your tickets here.

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