Wildebeest & Valley

Photo Heidren Lohr

Exciting Double Bill Premiere at Riverside

by Choreographer Omer Backley-Astrachan

PLUS! … Win a Double Pass to this show on Friday 16 Feb at 8pm by sending in your name and number to win@dancelife.com.au by 9 Feb.


From 15 – 17 February, FORM Dance Projects and Riverside Theatres will present two exciting works, Wildebeest and Valley, by Israeli choreographer Omer Backley-Astrachan.
A world premiere, Wildebeest examines the artifice of social and gender behaviour through a distillation of human interactions. The piece has been choreographed to an original score by sound composer Kieran Warner-Hunt, and will be performed by Chimene Steele-Prior, Naomi Hibberd, Allie Graham, Mason Peronchik and Sharon Backley-Astrachan.
Backley-Astrachan said, “Although my works always come from a very personal place, I feel that Wildebeest gave me room to explore my place within the social construct. Through a process of distillation, I am trying to peel off layers of conventions to reveal some truths about feminism and western thinking, and experience those distillations without judgment.”
Following Wildebeest will be the Australian premiere of Valley. Dark and enchanting, Valley is set on a frozen and desolate Arctic island where a small society of four co-exist. Through Backley-Astrachan’s exquisite choreography, Valley explores solitude, vulnerability and sensuality.

Photo Heidren Lohr

Originally created as a solo performance in 2016, Valley has developed into an ensemble piece featuring Backley-Astrachan, Sharon Backley-Astrachan, Allie Graham and Matthew Mizyed. The work premiered at the 2017 Summer Dance Festival in Tel Aviv.
Regarding Valley, Backley-Astrachan said, “It seems to me that at some point in the process, Valley started breathing, living and thinking on its own. It is now withholding secrets from us that we so eagerly discover every time we perform.”
Originally from Israel, Backley-Astrachan has worked extensively overseas with numerous choreographers and dance companies. Since moving to Sydney in 2014, Omer has been dedicating himself to his artistic practice, making dance works with local professionals and working with young artists through elite professional dance training programs. In 2018 Omer was appointed Course Coordinator of Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year. Backley-Astrachan was a resident artist with various arts organisations such as Bundanon Trust, BrandX (Sydney) and Catapult Dance (Newcastle). His works were invited to copious venues and festivals both in Australia and overseas such as Sydney Fringe Festival, Perth Fringe Festival, Summer Dance Festival (Tel Aviv) and more. Valley is his first invitation to a FORM/Riverside Theatres Dance Bites season.
Based in New South Wales, Backley-Astrachan’s works have been invited to venues and festivals across Australia and overseas. Additionally, he has worked with choreographers including Dean Walsh, Kay Armstrong and Joshua Thomson, as well as international artists such as Nick Cave and Marina Abramovic.


Double Bill: Wildebeest & Valley
presented by FORM Dance Projects and Riverside Theatres
Riverside Theatres – Corner of Church and Market Streets, Parramatta
Thursday 15th –  Saturday 17 February @ 8pm; Friday 16th February @ 2:30pm
90 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)
Bookings: (02) 8839 3399 or www.riversideparramatta.com.au