Alfira O'Sullivan: Dancing across cultural divides

Alfira O'Sullivan: Dancing across cultural divides

Alfira O'Sullivan: Dancing across cultural divides

Updated 21 January 2014, 10:45 AEDT

Born in Perth of Acehnese and Irish heritage, Alfira O'Sullivan taps into a rich ancient culture when she dances. 

For more than a decade, Alfira O'Sullivan has travelled the world with the company she founded - the Suara Dance Group - tapping into the rich vein of her shared East/West cultures through dance workshops, demonstrations and performances. 

She says dance is a wonderful way to tell the stories of her Acehnese/Indonesian heritage in a modern context and is a unifying bridge across cultural divides. Her dance group is particularly popular in Australian and Indonesia schools, where the sessions are both fun and informative. 

But it was a trip to her native Aceh to study the ancient form of Acehnese sitting-dances that changed her life. In the wake of the tsunami, Alfira found a local NGO (non-Government organisation) teaching dance as trauma therapy for the children, many of whom had lost family, friends and their homes in the 2004 Boxing Day tragedy. 

Among them was a local dancer and teacher who would become her partner - in dance and in life. 

Today, Alfira and Murtala are dancing to the same cross-cultural beat, sharing the joy and positive messages of their work together.  

We meet them both in their Sydney studio. 

 

Speaker/Producer: Tracee Hutchison