Melbourne hosts an eclectic showcase of South Asian Performing Arts this November

A 3-day festival, bringing together globally renowned, award winning artists from India in performance with Australian artists of diverse backgrounds committed to the Indian arts will take place in Melbourne from the 21-23 November. Curated by Dr. Priya Srinivasan, Uthra Vijay and Hari Sivanesan, Sangam will feature over 6 events at Bunjil Place, Narre Warren and Dancehouse, Carlton. Framing the experimental in conversation with the classical, this festival intervenes on a number of levels in the Melbourne arts scene by bringing together intergenerational (3 generations), LGBTQIA+, and diverse artists to create greater access and opportunities in urban platforms.

An Indian term meaning “meeting” Sangam refers to the coming together of rivers. The festival will host a gathering of thoughts, ideas, performance and dialogue, emulating assemblies that occurred in South India, thousands of years ago. Each event is named after a river in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Fiji, and Melbourne. Reviving an international assembly to dialogue and experiment with South Asian art forms is a move towards creating shared platforms for governance, co-creation of artistic work, and new forms of artistic expressions between artists from India and South Asian diaspora communities based in Melbourne. 

Sangam is supported by Creative Victoria in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria, Bunjil Place and Dancehouse.

The programs featured include:

GANGA CROSSINGS 21 Nov, 7-9.30pm, @ Bunjil Place $25/$20Sangam, in partnership with Melbourne Hindustani Classical Society presents a triple bill evening of dance and music by artistes international and local. Featuring the legendary violinist Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi (India) with renowned mrdangam player Sridhar Chari (mrdangam), the eclectic David Balaban (sitar) with the electrifying Aman Kalyan (tabla) and talented Melbourne-based dancers, showcasing pieces developed in workshops with globally renowned dancer Priyadarshini Govind (India).

BIRRARUNG DADA-DESI 22 Nov, 7-9.30pm, @Dancehouse $10
Birrarung: Dada-Desi features 16 emerging and established Melbourne artists under-30 hosted by award-winning writer, comic and performance-maker Vidya Rajan, DADADESI showcases the classical, the experimental and the inspired, including stand-up comedy, vocal and dance performances, music ensembles and literary readings. Co-curated by Nithya Iyer and Vidya Rajan in collaboration with the Sangam festival

MAHAWELI ENTANGLEMENTS  23 Nov, 3-4.30pm, @Dancehouse $25/$20
Mahaweli Entanglements  is a triple bill with a music workshop outcome of Melbourne artists from 12 leading music schools led by  Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi; a featured dance / music feminist collaboration of a controversial banned text by senior artists from Melbourne and India, including  Uthra Vijay, Priya Srinivasan, Priyadarsini Govind  and  Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi; and a music performance presented by  Gamaka, an organisation with a focus on young and emerging classical talent in Melbourne.

REWA UNSEEN 23 Nov, 7.30-9pm, @Dancehouse $25/$20
Rewa Unseen is a double bill featuring two artists from Bangalore and Melbourne who use queering to question religious identity, sexuality, power, haunting and labour in their classical dance forms on an experimental platform. “Aaj Ke Naam” and “Alakkala” are offered as a world premier for Sangam.

PERAI GATHERINGS  23 Nov, 11am-6pm @Dancehouse $10
Saturday features panels, films and workshops throughout the day including films by  Sapna Chandu    and  Nithya Iyer    in conversation with  Manisha Anjali,  Ching Ching Ho, Siying Zhou and Andy Butler. Bringing together short films, writers, and discussions about funding pathways, intercultural engagements, what does it mean to experiment?

S3 (Sthree) 22 Nov, 330-530pm, @Dancehouse  (PRIVATE SHOWING BY INVITATION ONLY)
A private showing and discussion of residency development of intercultural feminist production S3 (Sthree) with Priyadarsini Govind, Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Priya Srinivasan, Uthra Vijay in collaboration with Dramaturg Ching Ching Ho, Visual artist Siying Zhou, Dramaturg Philipa Rothfield and a very special community of women ranging in age from 25-70 from Keerthana Ladies Choir.

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