The Damansara International Arts Festival 2019 (DIAF), which runs from July 2-14, packs a diverse programme featuring dance, physical theatre, music shows and a spontaneous theatre piece involving audience participation.

The festival will take place at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) in Petaling Jaya.

This year’s festival’s theme is “Convergence 3” and it will include local and international artists from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Netherland, Vietnam, Luxembourg, Columbia, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

“This (festival) theme signifies the coming together of the various forms of arts. It’s about embracing diversity and creating a vibrant space for local talent,” says Bernard Goh, festival director and DPAC’s artistic director.

Festival-goers can also join the international performers and directors in workshop sessions during the festival.

If moving and grooving is your thing, check out the various dance workshops happening on July 6 and 7 for a fee of RM60. Or sign-up for the physical theatre workshop on July 20 and 21 (RM60) which aims to facilitate different approaches to direction and choreography in theatre, dance and physical theatre.

Here are some of the highlights of the festival:

Sublime Musical Journey
July 2 and 3
Chinese singer Chew Paul Wah, accompanied by the jazz group WVC Malaysian Jazz Ensemble, takes the spotlight. This show tells her rich life story of the past three decades, from the time she released her first album in 1990 and becoming the first Chinese female singer-songwriter in the local music scene. Later on, she focused on vocal coaching, songwriting and album producing.Chew’s early music memories and all the nostalgia – poignant and beautiful – attached to her career will double up as material for this musical concert.

DPAC

Spanish dancers/choreographers Carmen Fumero and Miguel Zomas will appear in Eran Casi Las Dos, a show which is part of the B.OOM! International Dance Showcase. Photo: Handout

B.OOM! International Dance Showcase
July 5-7
Taiwanese choreographer Po-Cheng Tsai curates a showcase of six dance performances, featuring his own work and five other international works. The dance works will explore themes and cultures of their country of origin.  The international performers include Miguel Ballabriga Alfonso (Spain), Liliana Patricia Barros Ferraz Conde (Portugal), Ngoc Tu Hoang (Vietnam) and Yuan Hao Chang (Taiwan). This series is presented by Taiwanese company B.Dance and organised by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia.

Blank
July 5-7
If you like things unpredictable, then Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour’s Blank is just the thing. This show stars a different actor every night. Nassim’s Blank, presented in collaboration with The Instant Cafe Theatre Company, is a series without a director, a set or even rehearsals. At the start of the show the performer is given Nassim’s script. They have never seen – let alone rehearsed it. Some words in that script are left blank for the actor and the audience to fill in. The actor and a member of the audience becomes the characters, deciding what they want to tell us of their life and so a new story is created collaboratively and immediately in the theatre every night. It stars Ghafir Akbar (July 5, 8pm), Sharifah Amani (July 6, 8pm), while Beyond Borders and refugee theatre company Parastoo Parastoo have been invited to present Afgan actress Farzana Hussaini (July 6, 3pm) and Syrian poet/performer Mwaffaq Alhajjar (July 7, 3pm). The final performer is newcomer actor/director Arief Hamizan (July 7, 8pm).

Vibra El Folclor Colombiano
July 11
Colombian singer and composer Concha Bernal presents a fusion of traditional Colombian and Caribbean folklore in this Latin-inspired music performance. Bernal’s stagings are always filled with spontaneity, joy and rich identity. A true artist, Bernal mixes rhythms and sounds. Don’t be surprised to see drums, the caller, a bagpipe, and other tropical instruments on stage.

The Strangers
July 13 and 14
Argentinian director Leandro Kees and dramaturg Julia Hesse present a cross-country theatre and dance performance that explores questions of identity, trust and belonging. The show aims to encourage the audience to broaden their own horizons and to think about what we all have in common. Performing The Strangers are Sang-hun Lee (South Korea), Ying Yun Chen (Taiwan), James Kan (Malaysia) and Kanako Ihara (Japan). This show is supported by The Goethe-Institut Malaysia and The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur.


The Damansara International Arts Festival 2019 is on at DPAC, Empire Damansara, Damansara Perdana in Petaling Jaya in Selangor from July 2-14. More info: www.dpac.com.my. Call: 03-4065 0001.