The Damansara International Arts Festival 2018 (DIAF 2018), formerly known as the DPac Arts Festival, is going big this year with an eclectic line-up of homegrown and international acts. The spirit of collaboration and diversity is at the heart of this festival.

Whether it is an intensely dark and energetic dance performance by an all-male Korean cast, an adventurous jazz trip with Malaysian and Japanese musicians or shadow puppetry by a British performer, there is bound to be something that catches your eye at DIAF.

The festival runs at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre in Petaling Jaya from July 3-15.

This fifth instalment, themed DIAF 2018 Convergence 2, brings together artistes not just from Malaysia, but also from Britain, China, France, Greece, Japan, Korea, Mozambique, the Philippines and the US. The first week will focus on theatre, music and puppetry, while the second week will zoom in on dance.

Holding true to its mission that the arts should be easily accessible to all, ticket prices are kept within the RM45-RM68 range, with special prices for D-Card members, students and children.

Visit www.dpac.com.my for tickets and more information on the festival.

Here is a look at the festival highlights:

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The WVC jazz ensemble (from left), featuring pianist Tay Cher Siang, bassist AJ, saxophonist Julian Chan and drummer KJ Wong, is set to take on the On! Raku! shows, with a trio of Japanese jazz musicians. Photo: Wong Horng Yih

On! Raku! (July 3-4)

It you need jazz music, you have come to the right place. WVC Jazz Ensemble, led by pianist Tay Cher Siang, will be a crowd favourite with its classy versions of Malaya-era tunes and a stash of originals. This KL-based group deserves more big stage exposure, especially after its recent Borneo Jazz Fest appearance. Things can only get more interesting at the On! Raku! shows as WVC Jazz Ensemble is set to stretch its setlist with Japanese jazz guitarist Isao Miyoshi, acclaimed percussionist Tomohiro Yahiro, and renowned singer and musician Yurie Nejime on board. Two evenings of adventurous-minded jazz collaborations are on the cards here.

Pulse (July 5-8)

Catch Jo Kukathas and Alfred Loh alongside other Malaysian actors in Pulse, a new theatre piece directed by renowned Spanish-born director Carlos Garcia Estevez of Manifesto Poetico. His work and own productions are strongly connected to popular tradition, dramaturgy of comedy and sociology. This Pulse piece was created by Estevez exclusively for DIAF 2018. In using the body, the space and the “language of the streets”, the production will explore the myriads of human emotions. Back in 2013, Estevez helmed the Kakiseni Arts Exchange 2013 programme themed Nama Kamu Atas Perahu.

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British hand-dramatist Drew Colby will use his hands to bring life to objects, tangible and not, in his storytelling fantasy.

Puppet Festival (July 7-8)

Here’s where you can expect some delightful puppet theatre programming, with a wayang kulit show (Adab Berguru), Po Te Hi Chinese puppet theatre (Monkey King vs Red Boy) and Drew Colby’s My Shadow And Me show on the must-watch list. Penang puppet troupe Ming Yok Feng presents Monkey King vs Red Boy in a spectacular revisitation of myths and legends using traditional Chinese puppets, while Adab Berguru, a performance from Kelantanese puppeteers, weaves a tale from traditional folk stories. For My Shadow And Me, Colby knows his hands better than anyone else – at least when it come to shadowgraphy, the art of performing a story using hand shadows. With over three decades of experience under his belt, you know you are in good hands for this fantastical journey of drama, music and magic.

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Noise, choreographed/performed by Judith Sanchez Ruiz (US) and Edivaldo Ernesto (Mozambique), explores concepts of time, power, co-dependency and compromises.

East Point West International Dance Showcase (July 11)

Contemporary dance is always a fixture at DPac. This showcase series, presented by HK-based Unity Space, adds a side of Zen to the equation. It blurs the lines between performing/visual arts and spirituality. This is where dance, painting, film, healing, yoga and chi gong as well as martial arts can be part of the artistic experience. Unity Space’s founder Vangelis Legakis choreographs Ephemeral Shades with dancers Chen Mei (China) and Jasper Narvaez (Philippines). Elsewhere, Falling is choreographed and performed by Xin Xie (China) and Noise is choreographed and performed by Judith Sanchez Ruiz (US) and Edivaldo Ernesto ​(Mozambique).

Darkness Poomba (July 13-17)

Renowned choreographer Kim Jae Duk with his Modern Table Dance Company will need no introduction in the K-music circles. Its touring show Darkness Poomba, which headlines DIAF 2018, is set to raise the roof. The Malaysian premiere of this exciting dance/rock drama performance sees Kim and his group of dancer/musicians take hold of Korean traditional dance and reinvent it with thrilling live music inspired by ancient Korean song (“poomba”). Modern Table’s powerful performance style is about reshaping the past to explore the future.