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Dance (Lens) — Official Selection #2

6 Films From The Dance (Lens) Festival Official Selection

'Wushu:Waitākere, Yin-Chi Lee' (2021). Photo by Claire Esterman.

On Demand (13—31 July): $35.34

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Live screenings of the Dance (Lens) program were held from 13–15 July.

Anthi (2021), by Iqbal Barkat

“Anthi”, Tamil for twilight, evokes a transition – from light into darkness. Staged in the Australian bush, veteran Bharatnatyam dancer/choreographer, Anandavalli, performs to “Mukthi Alikkum”, a Tamil song on social justice.

“Mukthi Alikkum”, was written in the 19th century by South Indian composer, Gopalakrishna Barathi and is from his masterpiece, Nandanar Charitram, the opera on the life of Nandanar, one of the only Dalit saints in Hinduism.

The song extends beyond its invective against oppression and violence perpetrated against Dalits, as it also rebukes pride and ignorance, the fundamental limitations of humanity. “Anthi”, connects ancient South-Asian dance and music forms to a contemporary Australian bush setting where a cataclysm far greater than the Covid-19 pandemic is evident.

Directed: Iqbal Barkat
Featuring: Mukthi Alikkum, from Nandanar Charitram, by Gopalakrishna Bharathi
Sung: Arjunan Puveendran
Written & Produced: Iqbal Barkat

Supported by Create NSW; Australia Council for the Arts

Wushu, Waitākere (2021), by Claire Esterman


Yin-Chi Lee is a Taiwanese movement artist living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Yin- Chi’s movement practice is informed by her Han-Chinese ancestry through the practice of Wushu. The movement of Wushu, resembles the idea of a displaced home from Aotearoa, New Zealand. “As a Taiwanese mover, the practice of Wushu can sometimes entwine with the complexity of nationalism and geopolitical tension between China and Taiwan today”. – Yin-Chi Lee


The film was shot at Waitākere, a place with a history of colonisation and displacement of Te Kawerau ā Maki people. As filmmakers, we acknowledge the traditional, cultural, spiritual and historical association of Te Kawerau ā Maki with this land and express our deep gratitude for the ability to film this project at Whatipu and Te Henga.

Movement: Yin-Chi Lee
Music: Oliver Jones
Costuming: Louise Payne and Elisa Dela fuente
Direction/filming: Claire Esterman
Film Processing and Digitisation: Ian Powell at Reversal Cine

Waggle Dance – a multi-anthropoid video assemblage (2023), by Sarah Aiken

This work takes its rhythms, textures and tangles from insect logic. Allowing the body to be melded, composted and consumed by bug life, the work considers scale and survival as the dancer attempts to lose vertebrate status and be more bug-like.

Using geophagous (soil eating) earthworms as a device to consider proximity, simultaneity, overlap and the blurring of borders the work creates conglomerate forms. Working with technology, materiality and the moving body to find assemblages part-human part-worm, consuming earth and being consumed by it, decomposing the self and composting the refuse.

Bodies lose their edges, overlap, coexist, slip between forms and readings, a slippery ecology of parts assembled and reassembled – finding patterns of unintentional coordination and multi-species, multiform, multi-temporal collaboration.

The collaging, cuts and rough joins expose the mechanisms and temporary relationships between parts, acknowledging yearnings for connection, longing and belonging and a constant state of being together yet apart, transforming and reforming, creating monstrous wholes, creating kin.

This project was commissioned by Aphids for Contentious Buffet and its creation was supported by an Australia Council residency at HIAP Finland

Atmospheres (2023), by Jude Walton

Atmospheres is part one of a larger project exploring bodies and aliveness within the complex interrelationships and entanglements of the natural world. Taking inspiration from Jane Bennett’s ‘radical conception of materialism and matter’ it is an experiment in how to shift our attention from a human-centred position to one of equals. Through nurturing sensitivity to our own bodies we open our attention to the natural world. The film invites us to listen and notice different temporal patterns of various atmospheres and weather events, finding ways to abstract and process sensory information from the environment.

Supported by City of Melbourne

Salt’ (2023), by Peter Fraser

salt’ is a shared improvisation in place by means of body, camera and movement.

A dancer brings his body and senses to meet the elements, speeds, textures and scales of place: A videographer carries her camera as an extension of her whole body, not just her eye, as she weaves an improvised response to the dancer and the place: A sound artist responds to the silent video, bringing aural textures, dynamics and flow to the materiality, space and energetics of the filmed dance.

salt’ was filmed at Lake Crosbie and Lake Hardy, Victoria, on Country whose custodians are The First Peoples of Millewa-Mallee who identify primarily as Ngintait and Latji Latji. These vast, isolated salt lakes continually shift between transparent and pink water; dry salt crusts, hard and jagged as broken car-window glass – split by large zigzag slashes running into the distance; and grey gelato slosh.

The air is thin, clear and totally silent – except where it brushes against an ear, jacket or microphone.

This project received support from Arts Mildura

In my mother’s house (2021), by Anna White

In my mother’s house is an experimental and poetic exploration of a mother daughter relationship in dance. A daughter returns to her mother’s 1960s’ era apartment in bay side Melbourne during lockdown 2021. They hang out and dance together. The protagonists are mother EVA and daughter ANNA who share a love for dance and movement. The film explores, pedestrian movement, contact, duet and solo dance.

Colour is an important aspect of the film. The apartment is furnished in bright primary colours. Eva and Anna dress accordingly in coordinated outfits.

The film documents the passage of light and shadow in the apartment.

Shadows also play a role as the pair walk by the beach at sunset, and their bodies appear to merge as they dance against a wall outside. The final scene is a contemplative moment as both are in repose, lying in opposite directions Eva, on the couch, wiggles her toes and Anna appears lost in thought on the floor.

Director: Anna White
Featuring: Eva White & Anna White
Soundtrack: Dirty Three, Caroline No, Springtime & Xylouris White

This project was supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants

Dance (Lens) 2023 is supported by the Besen Family Foundation

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