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Meet Amrita Hepi

Dance activist and choreographer, Amrita Hepi's work sits between pop culture and contemporary dance with a focus on intersectionality. She's exhibited and performed nationally and internationally, alongside hosting a radio show about independent dance. For her project, Amrita will be choreographing four solos with people who she considers to embody incredibly political practices. Taking inspiration from the struggles and victories of the artists she's collaborating with, each solo will be filmed in and around Sydney. One to watch out for? Definitely. Here's everything you need to know...

Amrita Hepi, Australian dance activist and choreographer | ASOS Supports Talent

Tell us about yourself…

My name's Amrita Hepi. I’m from Sydney, Australia, and I’m a dancer.

What's your passion project?

My project is choreographing four solos with four people whom I consider to have incredibly political practices and who physically embody everything that they’re involved in. We’re going to film each one in different locations around Sydney.

Why is your passion project important to you?

I think Australia, Asia and the Pacific, is in a time where we need to remember and think about our own agency as a place. It's sometimes looked at as the end of the world, and we have to remember that we don't always have to look out. We can make things and make people look in.

How would you describe what you do?

I'm a dancer and I'm very interested in bodies of all shapes and sizes. In my practice, when referring to choreography, it’s not steps – it’s the organisation of time and space and, a lot of the time, cultural memory and physical habits tend to permeate through that.

Amrita Hepi | ASOS Supports Talent

When did you start dancing?

When I was about three – I used to put my mum’s records on and just thrash about in the lounge room to jazzmatazz. Choreography for me was always kind of there, but it's just the structuring of different steps to form the stories taking place.

What does working with ASOS mean for your passion project?

It's been amazing so far working because there's been so much transparency. This brand really represents such a diverse range of youth and young people, and I think they're really championing that. When you're a young person, you're always looking for yourself, and looking at their models and in the magazine, it's a different perspective for young people to actually see themselves.

What's your greatest achievement so far?

Being able to do what I do every single day and it’s not a side thing, it's everything. I'm dreaming of so many things and they get bigger and bigger all the time. I want to continue to work and dance and to really explore that in the multitude of ways it can be done. I want to be able to physically do it, but when I’m not physically doing it, I’m usually writing about it, I’m thinking about it, I’m notating it, I’m looking at how other bodies move in space. Movement permeates through everything, so I want to continue to explore that to the nth degree. Also it would be pretty nice to choreograph for Akram Khan's company or have something on the West End, maybe...

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What inspires you?

Resilience and being able to understand that things aren't as fixed as you think they are. They’re fluid and they take you in a multitude of different ways. Also, I think the idea of victory is inspiring to me. There is so much to struggle over, but if you don’t hold victory in your mind somewhere, then once the struggle's done, what are you going to do next? Because if that’s not there, then the struggle is really a distraction and then it's taking over your whole goal.

Is there anyone in your life that inspires you?

Everybody that I’m working with as part of my project inspires me so much. That's why I've asked each one of them to be in it. They're so vibrant, they’re really pushing boundaries in places that are forgotten about. There are people like [feminist author] bell hooks and [American activist] Angela Davis who inspire me – all those black feminist women – and obviously the women in my family. I come from a long line of matriarchs, so it’s nice to see that I am the best of the best of my people manifested, and the best of the best of the women in my family recursing through.
Amrita Hepi | ASOS Supports Talent

What advice would you give to young creatives who want to follow their passion?

Stop thinking that when people say 'everyone thinks this' – that it's the be all and end all. Remember that the world is big, and it's bigger than the small town that you might be in now. It's bigger than that one place that you think defines you. Place is important because you grew from it, but remember that you can go bigger than that. Remember that the world is out there as well. Someone said to me yesterday that while it might not always feel like it, try to remember that people are rooting for you. They want you to succeed, so do it for yourself and do it for those who are watching you, cos they are watching you.

Where's the best place you've ever danced?

The Sydney Opera House! I danced inside, but I also choreographed a piece that was projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House for the whole of Vivid festival. I remember being with my mum and my family and we caught the ferry, and we were in Sydney harbour watching my body projected onto the sails. It was surreal!