Opal Vapour is a new mesmerising Australian theatre work that seamlessly integrates dynamic contemporary dance with haunting live voice and instrumentals, light elements, shadow play and live-feed camera projection to explore deep connections between human origins and nature, ceremonial cleansing for purification, rites of passage and embodiment in performance.
Conceived and directed by choreographer/dancer Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal in collaboration with animateur/light designer Paula van Beek and composer/musician Ria Soemardjo.
Jade and Ria are both Australian born, and highly respected as innovators in their particular fields of world dance and music. They also share a profound and innate connection with their fathers’ cultural Javanese heritage. Opal Vapour’s creative collaboration process with Jade, Paula and Ria has drawn on the performers Australian/Javanese ancestral connections and inspiration from Wayang Kulit (Javanese shadow puppet theatre) – a rich and dynamically adaptive art form that uses many performance languages to tell time-less epic tales.
In Opal Vapour Jade’s captivating physical transformations are supported by Paula’s sublime lighting landscapes and Ria’s, evocative voice and music. The audience is invited to actively choose how they attend to the transforming physical, sonic and emotional territories of birth, life and death as the performance progressively leaves multi-layered haunting images of ghostly ancestral resonance. Drawing from strong dance, music and theatre traditions this new work uses audio visual technology and contemporary performance practices to challenge Australian cultural stereotypes of Asian / Indonesian culture with a fresh and edgy exploration of embodiment in performance.
‘Held by the complex netting of her own funeral, a woman retrospectively encounters the celebration, risk and exquisite melancholy of life’s journey – flowing from its source on a sacred mountain peak, drifting along a mighty river and ultimately dissolving into an amniotic sea.’
Opal Vaopur website: http://opalvapour.com.au/
Opal Vapour interdisciplinary workshop
As part of the touring schedule, Jade, Paula and Ria are committed to engaging with local artists through teaching interdisciplinary arts workshops. The workshop draws on the Opal Vapour artist’s respective discipline and skills in movement, sound, voice and image making. The workshop is modeled on the collaboration process developed during the Opal Vapour artist’s creative development residencies at Glasshouse Entertainment and Arts Centre Port Macquarie and Salamanca Arts Centre Peacock Theatre Hobart in 2011. The workshops are open to artists of all disciplines.
Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal is a contemporary dance artist, choreographer, creative collaborator and founding member of Australia’s Mirramu Dance Company, specialising in cross-cultural dance works about human relationships within their environments. With a Melbourne University scholarship Jade achieved High Distinction for her Masters of Choreography research at Victorian College of the Arts 2009. Her artistic work has been supported by Australia Council for the Arts, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Performance Space Sydney, Opera House Studio, World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific, Victoria University, Lucy Guerin Inc, Theatre Works, Newport Substation, Arts Centre Melbourne, Multicultural Arts Victoria and Kultour.
Awarded Dux of Sydney’s Newtown High School of the Performing Arts 1995 Jade was granted full scholarship to Miami’s New World School of the Arts and graduated from Florida University with a Bachelor of Dance Honours 1999. In USA she joined Houlihan & Dancers Company and performed with Bebe Miller, Sophie Maslow, Ana Vitoria, Sandra Kaufman, Ronald K Brown and Doug Varone.
Jade attained a Darmasiswa scholarship 2004 and studied Indonesian dance and music at Yogyakarta University of the Arts. At ImpulsTanz Vienna 2006 she was a European Union scholarship recipient and also collaborated with artists from Dasarts, Amsterdam. During 2010 she sustained her European artistic connections with a tour to Kling & Bang, Iceland; Performing Artists Forum, France; and Arlequi, Spain. Jade has also performed with Bernadette Warlong, Jason Pitt, Vivienne Rogis, Amelia McQueen, Martin del Amo, Stephen Page, Jacob Boheme, Nikki Ashby, Taurus Ashley, Margie Mackay, The Body Cartography Project, Gong Tronic, Victorian Opera and Chunky Move. Her solo 6/7 Empty toured nationally in 2011 and Opal Vapour will premier at the Malthouse Theatre in September 2012.
Paula van Beek is an artist dedicated to creating new performance works using collaborative processes. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand (1998), and a Graduate Diploma in Animateuring from Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne (2006). Paula asserts herself as a performance maker, director, dramaturg and lighting designer, specialising in light for dance. She has designed lights for main stage, found spaces and outdoor works as well as tutoring students in how to ‘think in light’.
Paula has a strong, ongoing collaboration with Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal. In 2007 they presented Shadow & Ash, a manipulated space performance installation for Performance Space, Sydney. This work had premiered in the 2006 Melbourne International Arts Festival as part of the VCA/DasArts Navigators project. In 2008 Paula designed the lighting environment for 6/7 Empty and in 2009 they collaborated on the durational performance installation Human Flame Forest for With-the-Lot at Lucy Guerin Studios. Paula has most recently been working at VCA’s School of Performing Arts as a creative collaborator with the Post Graduate and Masters students enabling the realisation of their performance works. http://www.paulavanbeek.com
Ria Soemardjo is a vocalist, musician and composer. Born in Melbourne of Australian/Indonesian descent, Ria draws on her deep respect for the Javanese musical tradition in her song writing and collaborative projects. Her distinctive vocal style and ability to absorb a diverse range of musical influences have led to regular collaborations with other highly respected performers and composers such as Helen Mountfort, Anne Norman, Tim Humphries, Madeline Flynn and Adrian Sheriff. Ria will perform with Ros Warby in ‘the Tower Suites’, which will premiere in February 2012. Past collaborations with dancers also include the Tony Yap Company. She performs original compositions with her trio ‘Fine Blue Thread’ which melds tabla, cello, viola and voice.
Performing highlights include Melbourne Recital Centre, Singapore Performing Arts Showcase and the Biwako Biennale (Japan) 2007 with the Tony Yap Company. Ria has been a featured artist at the Melbourne Festival in 2006 and 2007 and her performances at the Iwaki auditorium have been broadcast on Radio National ‘Music Deli’ shows. Ria’s fascination for exploring voice and the body has led her to train as an Alexander Technique teacher. Currently the only Australian female exponent of the Javanese classical vocal style, she has trained in central Java and performs regularly with gamelan groups around Australia.
By Indonesia Contemporary Art Network (iCAN) | View on Facebook