Kwongkan (Sand) collaboration for climate change at Perth Festival

Isha Sharvani (Daksha Sheth Dance Company) and Ian Wilkes (Ochre Contemporary Dance Company). Picture:  Marie Nirme d490620
Isha Sharvani (Daksha Sheth Dance Company) and Ian Wilkes (Ochre Contemporary Dance Company). Picture: Marie Nirme d490620

SOME of Isha Sharvani’s earliest childhood memories are being in and around theatres while her Indian mum Daksha Sheth (dancer) and WA father Dev Issaro (designer) worked.

Sharvani also remembered being left behind a lot, so at the age of 13 decided to take dancing more seriously and began home schooling so she could travel with them.

Bollywood came calling when she was 18, which kept Sharvani busy for a few years before she realised her dance ability was suffering and she did not feel connected to herself anymore.

“I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be and that’s how I realised my calling was dance,” she said.

“I left Bollywood and people thought I was crazy but everyone has the right to choose their own path, whatever that may be.”

The 34-year-old is a lead dancer in her mother’s Daksha Sheth Dance Company and despite visiting Perth while growing up to stay with her grandmother, it was not until 2015 that she decided to spend more time here.

She and her three-and-a-half-year-old son now split their year between Mt Lawley and India.

India’s Daksha Sheth Dance Company has collaborated with the indigenous Australian performers of Subiaco’s Ochre Contemporary Dance Company for Perth Festival production Kwongkan (Sand) with Dev Issaro doing lights/set and brother Tao Issaro on music.

Isha Sharvani (Daksha Sheth Dance Company) and Ian Wilkes (Ochre Contemporary Dance Company). Picture: Marie Nirme d490620

“We did a show with Ochre in 2016 called Kaya, which had a really good run at Dolphin Theatre and during that process we realised that traditional Nyoongar dancing and Indian tribal folk traditions have so much in common,” she said.

“Then some of Ochre came to India for six weeks where we discovered even more commonality in the ancient, but wanted to find something (for a new show) to say about now.

“Right now there is no topic that screams to me more than climate change.

“The narrative shows how people of all cultures existed and looked after Mother Earth and in just 200 years we’ve managed to take things to such a crazy level.

“It shows the rise of the ancient and then moves into the present time and how we need to stand up as citizens, humans, together, and look after ourselves.

“It’s a call to wake up, shake up and get involved in saving our home.”

Kwongkan, meaning ‘sand’ in Nyoongar language, includes traditional Indian and Nyoongar dance, contemporary and aerial dance, live music and video projections.

“It’s not a candy floss show,” Sharvani said.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Kwongkan (Sand)

Where: Fremantle Arts Centre

When: February 16 to 20

Tickets: www.perthfestival.com.au