Shimmy into the Immigration Museum this summer as we celebrate dance

By Our Reporter
Amrita Hepi; Photo: Jacqui Manning

A special season of dance-inspired events from 2 December 2019 to 29 February 2020

This summer the Immigration Museum’s galleries, courtyard, and Long Room become dance-floors for spontaneous movement, choreographed action and works-in-progress.

Showcasing diverse talents, communities, and genres, the ‘Summer of Dance’ season will feature a series of participatory dance experiences, residencies and performances, in spaces both intimate and expansive.

‘Summer of Dance sees the Immigration Museum working in collaborative partnership with a range of inspiring local and international artists, producers, festivals and organisations. Together we’ll be choreographing a whole season of fun and memorable moments for people to connect and unite through dance,’ said Rohini Kappdath, general manager of the Immigration Museum.

Welcoming dancers of all-persuasions, the season will kick-off with Let’s Dance (December 8) an all-inclusive dance party full of workshops, demonstrations, and performances with amazing local dance schools, culturally diverse community groups and inspiring dancers.

Pacific Essence supplied by Amao Leota Lu; Photo: Bo Pousima Afeaki Inukihaangana

Award-winning First Nations choreographer and dancer, Amrita Hepi will take over the Long Room with Amrita Hepi: In Residence: a program of film, performance and installation that sees placemaking in action. The residency will commence with Dance Reel (2 December-29 February), as gorgeous large-scale moving images of Amrita and collaborators are projected onto its 19th-century walls and columns. In collaboration with Sibling Architecture and in consultation with other dance communities, Amrita will create a dance floor that will act as a choreographic score for a salon of performances. The dance floor will be activated through a series of performances, launching with the Opening Afternoon (18 January) and closing with Leaps + Beats (29 February).

Pacific Essence: Tales of a Migrant Plantation (23 January) will see Melbourne-based Samoan fa’afafine / trans advocate of colour activist, speaker, performer and storyteller Amao Leota Lu and LGBTIQA+ collaborators from the local Pacific diaspora weaving Rainbow narratives through performance, dance and a talanoa panel discussions. This event is part of the Queer Unsettled program in partnership with Midsumma Festival.

Let’s Dance; Photo: Rainier Ridao

As the sunshine casts its glorious glow over the Immigration Museum’s courtyard, it will play host to four vibrant Summer Courtyard Series events. Rainbow Effect (31 January) will see singer, producer and multi-disciplinary artist Rainbow Chan presenting her glitchy pop-infused electronica and dance floor beats (also as part of Midsumma Festival).

Looking for something a bit different to do on Valentine’s Day? Invite your special someone or come solo to Latin Valentine (14 February) for an evening of smooth moves, music and mucho more inspired by Mexico’s El Día del Amor y la Amistad (The Day of Love and Friendship) in collaboration with MexVic.

Leaps & Beats; Photo: Marcela Laskoski

The series will continue with Play On presents: Park Jiha (Korea) + Moopie (21 February) as part of AsiaTOPA. Ground-breaking Korean multi-instrumentalist and composer Park Jiha will share her captivating sounds in Australia for the first time, with local cult favourite DJ Moopie animating the dance floor.

The final event in the Summer Courtyard Series is Leaps + Beats (29 February), a party making the most of the extra night of the year featuring local dance luminaries Deep Soulful Sweats and Amrita Hepi and collaborators closing the dance floor.

Latin Valentine; Photo: Ardian Lumi

Shimmying alongside the dance programming, Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Marks presents exhibitions Documenting the Body: Curated by Stanislava Pinchuk and Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World. The curtains will fall on these exhibitions on 2 February, but not before a showcase of haikus at Haiku Hangout (1 February) with enthusiasts from the Australian Haiku Society.

Melburnians are encouraged to quickstep in the Immigration Museum’s direction, as it becomes an expressive, polyphonic and energising space for all.

Event details
  • Summer of Dance
  • 2 December 2019 – 29 February 2020
  • Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
  • For the full program visit the Immigration Museum website.


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