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Contemporary dance and Indigenous culture intertwine in a powerful performance
As Mother Nature’s fate hangs by a thread, we find ourselves scrambling for a lifeline. Though sometimes tangled, does the connection to our ancestry reveal a way forward?
mi:wi (pronunciation: mee-wee) refers to the invisible ties we have to our past and future, people and country. In this dance theatre work, choreographer and performer Taree Sansbury thoughtfully re-connects three Indigenous women through the practice of Ngarrindjeri weaving.
Looking back and moving forward with growing sense of urgency, mi:wi speaks to the impacts of climate change while emphasising future lineages’ passage in continuing cultural knowledge. With one eye on the future and the other on the past, Sansbury interweaves time and bodies in an attempt to reveal the messenger bird’s warning cry in the present.
A note from Choreographer Taree Sansbury:
In the early 2000s there was a considerably prolonged drought in South Australia that significantly diminished the rushes used for Ngarrindjeri weaving. My nana told me this story and it stuck with me. What if these plants couldn’t survive another five years? My whole cultural history tied to our care for our country. It made perfect sense.
mi:wi is inspired by my maternal grandmother Phyllis Williams and my Ngarrindjeri culture. My nana is a Ngarrindjeri weaver and a language teacher we worked together a lot for this project, and in a way this is where the real work of mi:wi happened. Learning from our elders and ancestors and using that knowledge to redefine and add to tomorrow. This in its essence is the basis of mi:wi.
The word ‘mi:wi’ translates to stomach, inner spirit. Old medicine people could meditate on their ‘mi:wi’ to gain future visions and any impending danger. The urgency I feel for the future of my country and people highlights the need to look to our past and remember.
“mi:wi proves that you don’t need a big performance to fill a big space, you only need a big idea.” David Collins, Arts Review
“mi:wi is a weaving together of past and present not just as an expression of identity but as a means of survival into the future.” Michael Brindley, Stage Whispers
This work is a part of Karul Projects’ double bill of Taree Sansbury’s mi:wi and Thomas E.S. Kelly’s CO_EX_EN.
Cultural Consultant Phyllis Williams (Ngarrindjeri elder)
Choreography Taree Sansbury
Performers Katina Olsen, Keia Mcgrady, Taree Sansbury
Sound Design Alyx Dennison
Lighting Design Cheryn Frost
Costume Design Peta Strachan
Mentor Vicki Van Hout
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mi:wi was originally commissioned by NEXT WAVE Festival with support from Australia Council for the Arts, Darebin Arts' Speakeasy, Create NSW and Kurruru Culture and Arts Hub.
Presented by QPAC
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This work is a part of Karul Projects’ double bill with Thomas E.S. Kelly’s CO_EX_EN.
This riveting new First Nations contemporary dance creation by Thomas E.S. Kelly explores a sacred site where the physical and spiritual meet. Using wit, humour and a choreographic style that is all his own, Kelly ignites a conversation about our past, present and future.
Purchase tickets to both mi:wi and CO_EX_EN and receive both tickets for $50*!BOOK PACKAGE