artists profiles

E1 - Evocation of a Lost Boy


E1-Evocation of a Lost Boy is a contemporary ritual dance performance. It is inspired by a section of the Noh play Atsumori, interpreted into a poetic evocation of a lost boy.
A thirty-five minute performance which takes the audience on a transformative journey through traditional temple ritual practices in a contemporary aural/kinaesthetic realm.
The aesthetics of ancient Malaysian shamanistic trance practice, Butoh and physical theatre combine with contemporary acoustic and electro-acoustic composition. A world is created which resonates with the sound of the dancer's body and voice, within a sonic score of samples, prepared piano, wind and Javanese vocal style. The elements of sculpture and projection create a form of cartography, literal and electronic conduits which transform movement notions of the body.
The aesthetic realm and the devotional space is a contemporary construct.
Conceptually, E1-Evocation of a Lost Boy is a multi-modal piece, making particular use of a variety of media to shape a dance. The virtual temple is created with the collaboration of a video artist, a sculptor, two musicians/composers and a vocalist. The audience is drawn into a contemporary ritual dance in the installed "temple" created by each performance modality.
The dance is a transitional space that is simultaneously 'internal' and 'external' to the subject and her/his soulful essence. The creation and treatment of such an 'inner sanctum' takes the audience spectacularly 'up and out' as well as 'deeply within'.
The work incorporates a sculptural installation by Naomi Ota and a soundscape/instrumental performance by Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey. The resulting composition will be a network of landscape of acoustic arenas that fluctuates dynamically to the traditional, live and performative environment. Ria Soemardjo narrates in vocal poetry the emotional-spiritual journey of the dance.

Tony Yap - dance
Ria Soemardjo - vocalist
Madeleine Flynn - composer, musician
Tim Humphrey - composer, musician
Naomi Ota - visual artist
Sarah Rubidge (UK) - digital imagery

performance history

Oct E1 Biwako Bienalle, Osaka Japan.
June E1 Asian Arts Market, Singapore
Aug E1 Lombok Arts Festival, Indonesia. and Geoks Festival, Singapadu, Bali.
July E1 as part of Accented Bodies, Brisbane Arts Festival, Queensland, Australia
May E1 Telegraph Station, Alice Springs, Central Australia
Jan E1 Shanghai Music Consevatory, China.
Sept E1 BB05 Festival, Dancehouse, Melbourne.
Nov E1 pilot project commission by Victorian Arts Centre - George Adams Gallery, melbourne
Jan E1 Rechabite Hall, Melbourne.

More ...


Buddha Body Series - 1 Melangkori - 2 Rasa - 3 Sayang


The triptych Buddha Body 1-3 will be comprised of three separate aspects that are the centrepiece for the concept of a virtual temple at the third stage. The first part, Melangori (Melancholy) will developed in March/April 2009 and a showing will presented at Dancehouse, Melbourne, 17 April.

> Buddha Body 1 - Melangkori;
> Buddha Body 2 & 3 - Rasa Sayang

Buddha Body Series will draw on issues of trance, migration and identity as well as the language of ‘emptiness’ and ‘fulfilment’ in spirituality. It will be a transposition of a language out of its original religious context and put it into a contemporary dance and theatrical context; creating a poem of what still reigns true and mythic in a complex era of metanarratives.

Ground work has been done for the investigation to capture the grammar of the shamanistic practices in Malaysia, Indonesia & Vietnam. Through reflection and rehearsal, the artistic team will create a new choreography, music compositions, visual installations and Video digital work to culmulate into a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural production; adding discourse to and diversify theatrical-dance languages employed in Australia. We shall not look to simply imitate or even translate these practices.


How could you even begin to understand?


How could you even begin to understand? is highly original and rivoting performance work began in Australia in 1996 and is an on-going "devotional work" between Tony Yap and Yumi Umiumare. It is constantly evolving with every version. Over ten years they have performed versions 1 to 29 in gallery, church, landscape and performance spaces.

Yumi and Tony’s work is acclaimed for their unique style – a hybrid of different influences especially from Butoh, phycho-physical theatre and Malaysian shamanistic trance practice. They then began to investigate the principles of yin-yang more completely; asa sensibility in performance, as an expression of Asian identity, as a principle that underlines harmony, and as a possibility for spiritual transformation.

They have discovered a common association with the philosophical principle of Yin and Yang, oppositional elements that are found in all manner of Asian experience and their performance experience. While this philosophy is well known to the extent that it might be a cliche of Asian culture, there is great creativity and depth to be found in reclaiming and revaluing such an essential concept through performance.

performance history

45 Downstairs as part of ImproLab, Melbourne, (Version 36-38)

Sydney Opera House as part of ImproLab, Sydney, (Version 34-35)

BB04 Dancehouse, Melbourne, (Version 30-33)

Actors Studio, Kuala Lumpur (Version 26-29)
Images of Asia Festival, Copenhagen as part of 24hr Performance.
Melbourne International Arts Festival as part of incompatibility

Mass Gallery, Melbourne: 5 –Collaboration with Hisako Tsuzukuand Anthony Pelchen. (Version14-18) Judith Wright Centre: Kultour: Australia Dance Week, Brisbane(Version19, 20)
JADE2002 – Beyond Butoh at Park Tower Hall, Tokyo (Version 21)
Performance Space, Kultour, in Carnivale Sydney (Version 22-25)

North Melbourne Town Hall, with Calligrapher Hisako Tsuzuku(Version8)

Dancehouse, Melbourne: Mixed Metaphor (Version 9-12)
Melbourne City Square/ Footscray Mall: Melbourne International Art Festival -Rice Paddie. (Version13)

Horsham Regional art Gallery: Horsham Arts Festival (Version7)

ANTISTATIC99, Sydney (Version 2)Horsham Regional Art Gallery (Version3)
Lower Melbourne Town Hall: launch of Construction (Version 4)
St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Richmond, Melbourne, Melbourne Fringe Festival, with installation by Anthony Pelchen (Version 5, 6)

Festival Colline Torinese, Italy as part of Amleto

Experimenta '96, Melbourne: Performance with sound installation by Lim Tzay Chuen (Version1)


E1 - Reviews

  • “... Tony is now engaging richly with a living expression of the connection between spirit and body. In this bewildered new century it is timely to be exploring spirituality and personal response to a range of externals; and also important to be reminding us all of the ritual origins of theatre. ... this is a remarkable achievement as it is always artistically controlled by Tony's refined aesthetic, yet it is also at once genuine impulse work. To see the freedom he finds within these structures is the closest I have come in Australia to seeing a Noh Master at work.”
    - Aubrey Mellor, head of NIDA, Sydney

    "We certainly felt that the most successful “body as a site” was the integrity of inner landscape revealed by Tony Yap. Great to see him performing, he’s such a developed and mature performer, a fine and deeply interesting artist to watch, and to experience his performance…"
    – Suzon Fuks & James Cunningham (Directors) Igneous

    "...large scale installations, Ether (E1)... foregrounded more strongly the use of sound and sound/body interactions. Framed by 10km of cascading red rope on the outdoor Terraces, Ether (E1), directed and performed by Tony Yap, extended “traditional temple rituals and practices into contemporary aural-kinaesthetic realms.” Composers and musicians Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey deftly reworked vocals collected via public “memory sound booth” in Brisbane and Melbourne to engage the audience in a collective ritual of sound as it resonated and reverberated with Yap’s trance-like body, swirled within the terrace auditorium and took flight into the night sky."
    – Mary Ann Hunter, RealTimes

    "With Tony Yap's ether (E1), we moved back into a more grounded, yet spiritual realm. On a lawn at the bottom of a small amphitheatre, surrounded by a "virtual temple" made of closely spaced lengths of rope (by Naomi Ota), Yap performed an intricate, very absorbing piece based on Malaysian trance dance. Two musicians, Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, and singer Ria Soemardjo, provided a haunting soundscape. ether (E1) was my favourite of all the installations, with its integration of site, music and dance."
    – Ruth Ridgway (2006), Dance Australia


How could you even begin to understand? - Reviews


“... It was a most remarkable moment in the new evolution of Butoh history.” – “CUT IN” Magazine, Tokyo

“Yumi’s background visibly remains butoh and its multifarious manifestations of a body at once chaotic, fluid, sensitive and radically restrained, while Tonydraws more on other traditions of the ecstatic body – the closest to a shamanistic trance most of us are likely to see ... another masterful work from two of Melbourne’s most arresting performers.”Jonathan Marshall - Inpress

“a taut and totally engrossing ... rivetting in it’s spontaneity and expressiveness, this work was a gem.” David Croft-The Melbourne Times

“In a stunningly compelling performance, they shift from one meditative state to another, the dynamics changing from quiet composure to frenzied ecstasy.”
– Hillary Crampton - The Age

Email: tonyyap@netspace.net.au > Ph: +61 412 019 876
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