Amrita Hepi, Dancer

Amrita Hepi is a Bundjulung and Ngapuhi dancer and choreographer who is changing the way we think and move. Her work is special in the way it shifts perceptions of space and movement, weaving together her rich culture and her contemporary training. And god damn it's a beautiful thing to watch!

What do you do?

I’m a Dancer and Choreographer who works in an interdisciplinary nature.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

What is it that you’re gonna make it mean?

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

* Realising that dance is viable and committing to it.

* Building up pop culture classes in nightclubs and finding a way of teaching that doesn’t shade people out.

* Making a full length dance work for NextWave Festival, and learning what the process of that was.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I’ve directed four dance films that are being released into the world at the end of May in collaboration with ASOS, I just finished a really beautiful project at Yirramboi festival called "a call to dance", I’m heading to Dark Mofo to perform, have a group show at ACE in Adelaide and a project in collaboration with Honey Long and Prue stent as part of Underbelly Arts. I also just landed a job with my dream dance company Marrugeku!

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

Watching Vicki van Hout’s Long Grass at Sydney festival and also mer mer mer by Jo Llyod and Nicola Gunn - both of these works reminded me of the possibilities in dance/theatre and were kind of like an ‘ah ha’ moment in terms of thinking about making dance in and out of Australia. Seeing Beyonce’s Formation tour in Paris was a bit of a spiritual out of body creative experience in terms of spectacle and fandom.

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change? 

Maybe this isn't in my field but in relation to my field - that there is no one way to dance or make dance. Dance, like race, feminism and gender are all on a broad and beautiful spectrum - but they require rigour, conversation, relinquishing and listening.

Also recognition of transmissions ~ we all take inspiration from places but how are we honouring it?

What is your dream project?

Each project is dreamy - otherwise I wouldn't be working on it! (I’ve done lots of shit/undreamy stuff so now I just focus on the dreamy/good/nourishing). I guess working with a large ensemble of voices/bodies has been something I have been dreaming about lately. And also integrating more tech into things.......hmmm.

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

Question anyone who says ‘EVERYONE THINKS ETC’. Who is everyone?

You are not successful because of your minority position, you are successful in spite of it.

Tell it like it is. In critical communication lies the power (and clarity for all!).

What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

Amrita, would you like this business class upgrade for your next flight on us for free?

The answer would be yes BTW.

How can we find our more about your work?

@amrita_moves // www.amritahepi.com

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

Rihanna, Bhenji Ra, Angela TiaTia, Lucy Guerin, Jahra Rager, Prue Stent & Honey Long.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

Absolutely!! And yes I've always had this and think I would have always sought this out - I come from a long line of matriarchy on both sides of my family and have always been surrounded by women. It fuels me.

What places are important to you?

Sydney is important to me because it’s been a home that has fostered the best in me, and I know it like the back of my hand which is comforting - it has also been a place that has tested my resilience (and my god damn patience) as an artist.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

Listening to Solange, Kelsey Lu, Sevdalizia and Death Grips, reading The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven, watching shows at Yirramboi Festival.

What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I quite enjoy watching UFC to steal their partnering judo moves.