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Migration at core of ŻfinMalta’s opening performance for EU Presidency

Bahr explores influx, encounters and hope

Photos: Niels Plotard Work

Photos: Niels Plotard Work

Migrants’ influx, their encounters and dreams of hope will be brought to life in Bahr, an original production by the ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble that will raise the curtain on Malta’s EU Presidency tomorrow, January 11.

The work explores all the forms of migration, a topic that will be at the forefront of Malta’s agenda during the six-month presidency after the crisis of the past year threatened to destabilise the European Union.

Bahr — the ancient Arabic word for sea — symbolises mobility and identity; it is a body of work layered with multiple cultures, stories and memories,” ŻfinMalta’s artistic director Mavin Khoo said.

For Khoo, an internationally recognised artist who was born in Malaysia, migration has been a constant in his research, but the specific remit for Bahr has pushed him to seek another layer of the diaspora.

"As an immigrant myself, migration has always been a topic of interest, but this time I was forced to dig deeper and uncover different layers; it’s where I encountered the message of hope that determines each migrant’s journey.

"Hope places a huge responsibility on all of us — whether governments or individuals — to determine whether the story has a happy or tragic ending," Khoo added.

Devised into three sections, Bahr explores influx, encounters and hope and echoes the sense of loss, identity and regeneration bound to the human aspect of migration, displacement and relocation. It pushes the audience to delve into the complex notion of unified encounters.

This dance production, which will premiere tomorrow at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, is about the very human experience at the core of migration, which is so close to the heart of the 2017 Maltese EU Presidency.

The 40-minute dance also brings together for the first time ŻfinMalta and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of conductor Brian Schembri, to interpret Albert Garzia’s original music score composed for the occasion.

ŻfinMalta has also roped in internationally acclaimed lighting designer Fabiana Piccioli, who has worked at La Scala and the Royal Opera House, to ensure each work is a success. Dramaturg Denise Mulholland is also working closely with the dance ensemble.

As part of its mission to reach out to society through dance, a repeat performance of Bahr will be open to the public on Saturday at 8pm and Khoo is hoping migrants themselves will come to watch the show. He is encouraging NGOs involved with migrants and third-country nationals to contact ŻfinMalta on [email protected] for more information.

Tickets for the repeat performance are available from the website of the Mediterranean Conference Centre www.mcc.com.mt or ZfinMalta’s Facebook page.

 

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