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Deepa Mani & Sheena Chundee

'TOUCH' (2022), by Deepa Mani and Sheena Chundee. Photo by Warren Knower, Volare Photo.
6pm, Wed 4–Sat 7 October 2023
Sylvia Staehli Theatre
60 mins

Full Price: $25
Concession: $20
Members/Locals: $15
MobTix: $15


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Cross the seas of culture, community, and connection with Chandralaya and Rebel Stepz Arts through ‘TOUCH’.

‘TOUCH’ demonstrates the power of merging cultures and the beauty and peace that can be achieved through respect, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Exploring the world through the eyes of two South Asian dancers, the audience will be taken on a unique journey that aims to melt away the barriers of division.

The two artists hail from similar cultural backgrounds, but the difference in their chosen art forms is bold. Through Ballet and Bharathanatyam, ‘TOUCH’ is hoping to dance upon a plain that still feels off-limits. The juxtaposition of both forms is both gentle and grand – and the story will unfold to tell its tale.

This project received Cash for Equity through the Fringe Fund, as part of the Ralph Mclean Microgrants program.

Touch is most persuasive when the two forms are brought together and performed side by side, with their differences and surprising affinities displayed.” – ★★★ The Age 6/10/2023

Created & Performed by:
Deepa Mani – Chandralaya
Sheena Chundee – Rebel Stepz Arts

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Deepa P Mani

A South Asian Performing and Teaching Artist primarily trained in the Classical Indian (Bharathanatyam) and modern Contemporary art form(s). My practice includes full dance recitals, dance dramas, and experimental and collaborative creations with other art mediums. I believe passionately in the power of traditional dance to connect people with their heritage, sense of self, and inner creativity. Drawing from my cultural (South Asian) background, my art practice includes a great passion for storytelling weaving music, and movement to convey deep meaningful messages that are much needed in today’s modern times.

Sheena Chundee

A South Asian/Mauritian and African background Ballet Artist/ Choreographer who creates educational, and artistic community events and performances in keeping with organisational needs and goals. This includes developing works for global dance & corporate companies as well as community-based groups. Diversity is at the forefront of my projects, so I am often found collaborating with culturally diverse communities.

Jasmine Lim

A ballet and contemporary dancer who has worked and trained in Perth, Melbourne and Singapore. She began her training in Brunei Darussalam. In 2016, she had the opportunity to join Singapore Ballet’s pre-professional program under the directorship of Janek Schergen. Jasmine performed with the company in the Nutcracker 2016 and 2017 and in Ballet Under the Stars 2018. Jasmine then moved to Melbourne in 2019 to further her dance training at the National Theater Ballet School. In 2020, her video performance Ritual.prproj was chosen to be put forward to the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The same year, she was awarded with the Most Outstanding Individual Performance award from the school. In 2021, Jasmine toured with DanceBourne Arts in their annual season where she got to work with choreographers Luanne Hyson, Laura Manicone , Gareth Belling and Kathleen Skipp. Most recently Jasmine has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) at WA Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, learning diligently from the acclaimed faculty. During this time, she had the honour of performing in the first premier of Pina Bausch’s Tannhäuser Bacchanal outside of Germany. Jasmine is looking forward to contributing to the exploration and creation of thoughtful, inspiring dance art.

Rohan Dasika

A double bassist with a diverse musical life in Australia and abroad. In 2022, he was appointed a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra double bass section, having previously served as a contract Assistant Principal in the same orchestra. He has also worked on contract as Assistant Principal in the Frankfurter Opern-und-Museumsorchester, while an association with leading classical accordionist James Crabb has brought engagements at many of Australia’s chamber music festivals. Passionate about the music of his time, Rohan is a regular guest with ELISION, and has performed with the orchestras of the Lucerne Festival Academy and Lucerne Festival Alumni.

Rohan is a graduate of the Australian National University School of Music, Australian National Academy of Music, and has made study trips to Philadelphia and Vienna, courtesy of an Australia Council ArtStart grant. In 2017, he relocated to Frankfurt to take a position in the Paul Hindemith Orchesterakademie of the Frankfurter Opern-und-Museumsorchester, while also studying at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt, supported by an Australian Music Foundation Award.

After being awarded the Freedman Classical Fellowship in 2019, Rohan began taking his first steps towards bringing the South Indian side of his heritage into his music. He has since performed alongside members of Melbourne’s Carnatic music community in the Sangam Festival, and presented a concert at Monash University as part of the 2022 Indian Performing Arts Convention.

Bhairavi Raman

Bhairavi Raman is a skilled Indian-Australian violinist. Extensively trained in both Western Classical andCarnatic music, she blends concepts and techniques from both styles when she plays. She holds an A.Mus.Ain violin awarded by theAMEB, and has pursued advanced training in Carnatic Music in India for the past 15years.Her gurus are Sri Murali Kumar (Aus.), Sri Gopinath Iyer (Aus.) and Sri S Varadarajan (India).She has been performing for music and dance productions for over a decade, with over 400 performancesto her name, including at prestigious venues like the Madras Music Academy and the Melbourne RecitalCentre. Collaboration is at the heart of Bhairavi’s creative work-she has produced acclaimed projects inclose partnership with local and international artists across disciplines including poetry, spoken word,movement, dance and theatre. She has also completed arts leadership programs with the Australian Art Orchestra and Footscray Community Arts Centre.

Nanthesh Sivarajah-Mridangam

Nanthesh Sivarajah is a multidisciplinary artist based in Melbourne, Australia. He is passionate aboutcombining his broad artistic skillset to produce unique works. He is a percussionist, trained in both SouthIndian Classical (Carnatic) and Western forms, and proficient in several instruments including theMridangam, Kanjira, Ghatam, Morsing, Drumkit and several other percussion instruments.He has twodecades of performance experience across Australia and abroad, and has played with seasoned artistes atsome of South India’s oldest and most prestigious venues.

Presented as part of Melbourne Fringe 2023.

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