ITEM is a feminist exploration of what it means to be a woman through the lens of Bollywood Dance. The cast of four dancers will use projection and performance to explore social messages that get reinforced through media. ITEM interrogates who gets to tell the stories; what stories are being told; and how these stories impact society. Based, in part, from the lived experience of its team of artists, ITEM proposes that these stories may be ready for a thoughtful update.
Bollywood Dance is at the core of the show, its commercial shine and glean creates both a tension and a release. This new work will challenge and embrace all of what Bollywood is and could be, peeling back the shiny façade to explore the messaging that exists beneath the surface. It is simultaneously a love letter, and a cease-and-desist letter, to Bollywood.
Andrea Lam (Drea) is the artistic director and founder of Dance Masala, one of the largest Australian Bollywood Dance Companies. She studied Visual Art, focusing on video, and performance art. She is trained in Bollywood, Hip Hop, Bhangra, and many other Indian and non-Indian forms. As a dance artist, she creates modern Indian fusion and uses this art form to tell stories. She has choreographed large-scale projects for QAGOMA APT9; QPAC’s Out of the Box & Feet First Festivals; Woodford Folk Festival; and Queensland Symphony Orchestra; as well as for film industry names such as Neha Kakkar. Her output of work has a deeply personal sensibility, exploring cultural identity as a mixed-race woman of Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Portuguese, and Spanish descent who came to Australia in the same year as Pauline’s Hanson’s first inaugural speech. Her work is autobiographical and honest, centring around belonging.
Aakrithi Kumar was born in Fiji, brought up and raised in New Zealand, and is now based in Brisbane. Aakrithi began as a self-trained dancer. She was a company member of Khottey Sikkey dance group in Auckland, and has been a Dance Masala company member since 2019. She is trained in Bollywood and has explored folk, hip hop, contemporary & jazz under this umbrella. She has also begun her training in Kathak in 2020.
Mugdha Khatavkar is a Dance Artist born in Goa, shifting to Australia to pursue studies and a career in IT. A passionate dancer, Mugdha has been trained in Indian Classical dance forms such as Bharatnatyam & Mohiniyattam; as well as contemporary/commercial styles of Bollywood, Contemporary and Jazz; and Hip Hop. She loves the folk dances of India and has trained in Bhangra, Garba & Lavni. She is a Dance Masala company member, and teacher.
Ashwin Singh is a Malaysian-Born Punjabi who moved to Australia as a child. She is a dancer who trains in both commercial (Bollywood) and folk dance styles of India. She is a Dance Masala Company member.
POLYTOXIC is an Australian collective led by two intersectional feminist performance-makers at the top of their game: Lisa Fa’alafi (Hot Brown Honey) & Leah Shelton (Bitch On Heat, Terror Australis). Together as Polytoxic, they create hyper-visual, pop-inspired performance work built upon foundations of diversity, collaboration and intersectionality. As independent makers, Lisa and Leah have become leading proponents of work that skirts the boundaries of cabaret, theatre and art-as-protest.
Since 2000, Polytoxic’s work has been presented in traditional huts, indie theatre seasons, dusty big-tops and festivals including PS122’s COIL Festival New York, Harbourfront Centre Canada, WanSmolbag Vanuatu, Sydney Opera House, Bleach Festival, Enlighten, and Australia’s major festivals.
This project has been supported by Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance through The Makers Program – a commissioning project assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland; the Regional Arts Development Fund which is a partnership between the Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland; and proudly supported by HOTA Home of the Arts.