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A major new Asian arts festival featuring more than 350 artists.
By Tom Clift
October 03, 2016
By Tom Clift
October 03, 2016

A brand new performing arts festival is on its way to Melbourne, featuring works by creatives from all across Asia. Running from January to April in 2017, the first ever Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts is a joint venture between various government entities, the Sidney Myer Fund, and a number of the city's leading cultural institutions — including the Arts Centre Melbourne, the NGV and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Suffice it to say, we've got big expectations.

The inaugural Asia TOPA lineup includes 60 events and more than 350 artists, hailing from China, Japan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and beyond. Standout shows include a special performance by the MSO featuring prolific Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman, a pop music pop-up and bar in the Immigration Museum courtyard, and the first ever Australian performance by the National Chinese Ballet of their most iconic work, The Red Detachment of Women.

Many works on the program are the result of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaboration. In One Beautiful Thing, acclaimed local circus company Circa will join forces with acrobats from India to showcase the centuries old gymnastic practice of mallakhamb. Meanwhile, Chunky Move choreographer Anouk van Dijk has teamed up with Singaporean visual artist Ho Tzu Nyen on the immersive new dance work ANTI GRAVITY.

Also on the menu are a number of moving image works. These include a free exhibition at ACMI about the early days of Bollywood, a showcase of four episodes that reimagine urban mythologies and traditional Filipino folklore from Australian-Filipino collective Club Ate, and a special screening of Satan Jawa, the new film from Indonesia's Garin Nugroho, featuring a live score by the MSO and 20 gamelan players.

Image: Balud (Jai Jai), Ex Nilalang (2015). Shot by Gregory Lorenzutti.

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