Tony Yap <em>Animal/God</em> 2021–23 (still); filmed live performance. Courtesy of the artist<br/>
© Tony Ya

Tony Yap
(b. 1956, Melaka, Malaysia. Lives and works in Naarm/Melbourne)

Tony Yap is an accomplished dancer and multidisciplinary artist who explores and creates an individual dance-theatre language informed by psychophysical research, Asian shamanistic trance dance, butoh and ‘psycho-vocal’ experimentations.

Animal/God, 2021–23, was made in response to the death of Yap’s friend and collaborator, the Italian composer and musician Ezio Bosso. Soon after learning of Bosso’s death, Yap filmed an impromptu dance at the Abbotsford Convent in the natural light of a nearby window. Playing Bosso’s piece Unconditioned: Following a Bird (2021) on a speaker, Yap dances a tribute to his friend, a testament to their shared practice of entering into a state of trance during a performance. Describing this experience, the artist said: ‘In my state of trance I had a glimpse of a lost being following the guide of a little bird in its flight out of darkness at his last moments of life. I too followed that bird in this dance to Animal/God.’

Yap has been a distinct figure in inter-cultural discourse in Australia. He received Asialink residential grants in 2005 and 2008, as well as a Dance Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, and is the founding Creative Director of Melaka Arts and Performance Festival – MAP Fest. Yap brings a non-Western perspective to the development of contemporary dance and performance practice that is grounded in Asian philosophies, sensibilities and forms.

Animal/God appeared in Community Hall on 14–20 Aug 2023.

Film credits
Animal / God (2021-2023), single channel video, HD, 6 minutes 13 seconds
© Tony Yap