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Against a shimmering terain of shadow and sand, a ritual inspired by ancient Java, is danced and sung of mountains, ghostly rivers and the resilience of colour-shifting opals.

****"It is a gem of a dance work, elusive in style and influences, one dissolving into the next."
Jill Sykes, Sydney Morning Herald (June 24 2013)

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Direction and choreography - Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal
Dance performance - Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal
Music composition and performance - Ria Soemardjo
Textile and costume design - Ria Soemardjo
Lighting and projection - Paula van Beek
Set design - Paula van Beek
Sound design consultant Kelly Ryall

"The sheer virtuosity shared in this space is powerfully moving and life-enhancing."
Flloyd Kennedy, Critical Mass (June 6th, 2013)

Opal Vapour Opal Vapour

Opal Vapour elegantly integrates dance choreography with live music, voice, shadows and imagery into an exquisitely memorable and very intimate live experience. Inspired by the power of Javanese Wayang Kulit theatre (shadow puppet ritual cleansing ceremony) the work draws from the symbolism and dramatic structure of this rich and dynamic interdisciplinary art-form.

‘A solo dancer moves fluidly between powerful physical states in a shifting landscape of sand atop a Perspex light box. A musician shifts the space with her pure voice and evocative instrumentals, tending to the ritual cloths and nets. Lighting from above and below emphasises striking images with haunting shadows. A live feed camera captures the dancer’s sinous performance from a bird’s eye perspective and a projector beams sublime images onto a cloth screen.’

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The stage becomes a spiritual gathering point where voice and dance is intrinsically linked – one earth bound, seeking transcendence; one ethereal, seeking connection.

"Hauntingly beautiful, visceral layers within restraint have shaped this work into one of the best dance and hybrid works I have seen in years." Stephanie Kabanyana, October (2012)

Opal Vapour Opal Vapour

Water conservation is key imagery through the work. Water is critical to life. The most receptive of all natural elements, water has the strength to move earth, extinguish fire and weaken metal to rust. As the last remnants of water drained from prehistoric Australia, colourful opal stones were created. Fossilised reptiles, insects, mammals, birds and human ancestors are found buried alongside these ancient and resolute opals.

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Opal Vapour is a sophisticated exploration of the performer’s cultural aesthetics and philosophical connections with their Australian mother's and Javanese father's heritage.

****"This is a celebration of heritage begun with the chime of a bell and hallowed by the melancholy song and movement meeting as one - women of the earth, the sea and the sky in perfect harmony.” Jordan Beth Vincent, The Age (October 5, 2012)

The premier season at the Malthouse Theatre won Best Dance Award at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe Festival, short-listed for Best Music Composition for Dance in the 2012 Green Room Awards and shortlisted for an 2013 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance.
2013 Memorable Performances Whether Little or Large - Sydney Morning Herald
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Performance Space, Sydney
Powerhouse, Brisbane
Street Theatre, Canberra
Contemporary Art Centre, Cairns
Mackay Entertainment Centre
Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart
Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth
Vitalstatistix, Adelaide
Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne
Arts Centre, Melbourne

Toured by Performing Lines for Mobile States with the support of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria.

Opal Vapour was originally presented with Malthouse Theatre as part of Helium with support from the Australia Council, Arts Victoria, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, Kultour, Glasshouse Arts and Entertainment Centre, Salamanca Arts Centre and Indonesia Contemporary Art Network.

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Video preview of Opal Vapour performance - 2012 Malthouse season


Inpress Review


This is a multi-disciplinary workshop, which is modeled on the collaborative and deeply personal process undertaken by the three Opal Vapour artists together. The artists have refined their collaborative approach through a series of intensive creative residencies in diverse locations in Australia and also in Indonesia. Participants will examine inheritance, (dis)connection to place of origin, and personal universal story-telling; and together will experiment with resonant voice, dance improvisation and textiles shadow play. The workshop is suitable for emerging and professional artists across disciplines, including dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, visual artists, designers and performance-makers.
A unique and intimate professional development experience.

The Opal Vapour Intercultural Ritual workshop encompasses three strands of performance expermentation:


  • Exploring the resonant body using principles of the Alexander Technique and Bones for Life to invite connection and ease with in our authentic voice, senses, memory and imagination.
  • Tuning into subtleties in voice - timbre, texture, spaces between and around notes - drawing from classical Indian and Javanese vocal traditions.


  • Introducing traditional Indonesian dance principles from the islands of Java and Bali to consider movement in space, time, effort, shape and flow.
  • Dancing transformation using basic sitting, standing & walking exercises whilst focusing on images of water movement, Kiryuho mobius spirals and the universal tree of life symbol.


  • Discovering connection to place (Ancestry & Heritage) with imagination and improvisation.
  • Making 'translations' across artforms – inviting a dancer to write or a musician to move.
  • Enacting simple tasks that help transform one idea through many art forms.

Opal Vapour photography: Paula van Beek, Ponch Hawkes and Heidrun Lohr

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