Open Letter From Co-Artistic Directors Of Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards) In WA

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Edwin Mulligan, 'Dancing With Strangers' Edwin Mulligan, 'Dancing With Strangers' Image © Michael Torres, Jalaru Photography

From the creators of 'Gudirr Gudirr', 'Cut The Sky' and 'Burning Daylight', 'Burrbgaja Yalirra' ('Dancing Forwards') is an evocative triple bill of new solo works.


It has been curated by Marrugeku's Artistic Directors Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain. Each of the three works is an invitation to experience intercultural change.

Here, Dalisa and Rachael pen an open letter to reveal more about the triple bill which plays at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

“'Burrbgaja Yalirra' translates to 'Dancing Forwards' in Yawuru. For us this is a way to think of and support the next generation of artists working in culturally-informed contemporary dance. We have invited Edwin Lee Mulligan, Eric Avery and Miranda Wheen, as part of a wider group of ten participants in our three-year 'Burrbgaja Yalirra' programme, to conceive a work and we have partnered each of them with an outstanding artist as a collaborator to realise their vision: Sohan Ariel Hayes with Walmajarri/Nyikina, poet and painter Edwin Lee Mulligan for 'Ngarlimbah', Belgian choreographer Koen Augustijnen with Yuin/Ngiyampaa,/Wangaaypuwan/Gumbangirri dancer and musician Eric Avery for 'Dancing With Strangers' and choreographer Serge Aimé Coulibaly from Burkina Faso with dancer of settler descent Miranda Wheen for 'Miranda'.

We see intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration as ways to stimulate new creative and cultural pathways to contemporary dance, enabling new aesthetics to emerge which you can witness in this triple bill. Each of the three works explore different aspects of the challenges of reciprocity, between the human and the spirit world, within histories of contact and in sites of non-encounter.

MichaelTorres JalaruPhotog1
Miranda Wheen, 'Miranda' - Image © Michael Torres, Jalaru Photography

In Marrugeku’s work collaboration is the cause and effect not just the means to the end. Exploring the challenges of what it means to learn from one another and our experience and understanding of Country, 'Burrbgaja Yalirra – Three Short Works' sees some of our finest collaborating artists give voice and embodiment to the complexities and possibilities of seeing and feeling from another perspective.

Rehearsals here in Broome with an international and local team have been inspiring, bringing life to the arts in a remote region. It’s important to us to build these local global connections and to build audiences for culturally informed contemporary dance.

We hope Perth audiences will feel this connection to different locations in Australia and also that the intercultural process reveals what’s possible when we tell stories together. Sometimes telling stories together is one of the hardest but also the simplest things that we can do. 'Burrbgaja Yalirra'/'Dancing Forwards', for the future.

Audiences are invited to join the artistic team for a pre-show pre-show panel talk on 9 June at 5pm or for a post-show Q&A on Thursday 14 June – all inclusive of their ticket.

– Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain”


'Burrbgaja Yalirra' ('Dancing Forwards') plays PICA Performance Space from 7-16 June.

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