Sea of dance at Rainbow festival
Organisers of an inaugural MAP Rainbow festival in the southern Mallee are applying the finishing touches to preparations for Saturday’s event.
The unique event is part of the Oasis Rainbow Small Town Transformations Project and coincides with a visit to Rainbow by 17 dancers and musicians from the remote mountain village of Pelem in East Java.
More than 40 national and international artists, dancers and theatrical performers will turn Rainbow’s usually quiet Federal Street into a sea of dance, sound and street theatre as they ‘pop up’ for 15-minute to one-hour performances throughout the Saturday afternoon.
Wimmera Wotjobaluk dancers and southern Mallee artist Belinda Eckermann will also join the visiting artists.
Oasis creative director and Rainbow resident Dianne Dickson said eight different sites along Federal Street would become temporary stages for an eclectic mix of performances.
“Our amazing artists really have been drawn from all over the world and include people from Ecuador, Hong Kong, East Java, Malaysia, Ireland, Philippines, Japan and of course the Wotjobaluk dancers,” she said.
“Among the long list of performers is a geologist from Melbourne University whose day job involves firing gamma rays at rocks.
“While she talks about Rainbow’s geo data, her performance partner will be recording and drawing her.
“We will also take the concept of noises in the kitchen to a new place with Sonic Electric, a performance that explores variations in sound behaviour of experimental noise from kitchen tools.
“Another performance, Rainbow’s Breath, will use balloons to consider the air that connects people and place and the worlds of rainbows.
“Holly Huon presents Dancing my Skeleton while other performers will touch on memories, how we view the world, loss, beauty and the cycles of life.”
Ms Dickson said the festival would be a fitting finale to nearly a week of cross-cultural activities with the 17 visiting musicians and dancers from the Sampang Agung Centre for Preforming Arts in East Java.
Ms Dickson was touched by similarities between Pelem and Rainbow when she spent time in the village several years ago.
“I observed their connection to the landscape, family life and community engagement,” she said.
She said MAP festivals were also about creation, collaboration, experimentation and exchange between artists.
“Rainbow is part of a family of MAP festivals in Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, The Netherlands and Australia which provide a stage for artists to take their work to audiences from all walks of life,” she said.
“I am really looking forward to our event in Rainbow and hope that through the arts, it moves us a little closer to transforming our understanding of others and ourselves.”
The festival will officially open at 1pm before activity moves to eight sites along and around Federal Street.
Street activities will continue until 6pm when the East Javanese and Wotjobaluk dancers perform together in the grounds of Oasis Rainbow.
This will be followed by projections of the southern Mallee landscape and sounds, old footage and images and those created by local students using three projector bikes.