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A woman in an Indian saree dancing to the sound of a Japanese drum

Chi Udaka

18 – 21 October 2023

Chi Udaka is a kaleidoscope of sound and vision with taiko drums, shakuhachi flute, cello, classical Indian vocals and dance. Inspired by the forces of nature, Chi (earth) and Udaka (water) merge in joyful celebration in this collaboration between two Australian companies Taikoz and Lingalayam.

An energetic collaboration of Indian dance and percussion

The deep earthiness of taiko drumming (Chi - earth) and the flowing elegance of Indian classical dance (Udaka - water) fuse in this energetic live experience. At turns delicate and dramatic, it unites the taiko drums of Taikoz, the shakuhachi flute from Riley Lee, cello and classical Indian vocals with Lingalayam’s contrasting Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi dance styles.

This dynamic percussion and dance performance is a collaboration between two well-established Australian companies Taikoz and Lingalayam. The vocabulary of both companies is steeped in history and tradition and they come together in an eruption of colour, rhythm, dance and music.

As part of our 50th Birthday Festival, Chi Udaka is a collaborative and joyful celebration of art forms coming together.

Sydney Opera House presents a collaboration with Percussion Australia and Lingalayam

NSW Government

This program is proudly supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW’s Blockbusters Funding initiative

Watch the trailer

The gunshot barrage of taiko drumming melds gloriously with the sinuously melodic action of classical Indian dance…

Sydney Morning Herald

About the Companies

Percussion Australia Taikoz

Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee formed Taikoz in 1997. Over the past 26 years Taikoz has developed an original repertoire of works that has seen them perform on the stages of Australia's finest concert halls and in prestigious venues worldwide, including in Japan, France, America, Taiwan and New Zealand. In 2016, Taikoz toured India with Lingalayam, receiving rave reviews for “Chi Udaka”.

From projects as varied as “Pericles” with Bell Shakespeare to Lachlan Skipworth’s “The Breath Of Thunder” with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Taikoz is no stranger to diverse, challenging collaborations. Not only have they worked with taiko greats Eitetsu Hayashi, Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Shogo Yoshii and Chieko Kojima, and ensembles as distinct as Ensemble Offspring and SICKO, but distinguished composers Gerard Brophy, Timothy Constable, Sandy Evans and Andrea Molino have all composed large-scale works for the ensemble, including concerto works with the Dresdner Sinfoniker, Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras.


Lingalayam is an Australian arts organisation, whose focus is the nurturing and strengthening of the appreciation and knowledge of Indian culture, through artworks of traditional genesis, presented in the context of our contemporary society’s cultural tapestry. The Dance Company was established in 1996 as a permanent base for the graduates of the Academy (founded in 1986) whose aim was to become proficient and professional in this ancient art form.

Strongly emotive and visually compelling, Lingalayam’s creative body of work incorporates dance, live music, text and design, and is created and performed by artists of world-class standing. The Lingalayam repertoire draws from the ancient dance forms of Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi, and is directed by legendary guru–dancer, choreographer, teacher and musician- Anandavalli. As a central focus, the work of Anandavalli and the artists of Lingalayam, express the unique role of women and dance in ancient India. These feminine themes are explored through vibrant Indian mythology, to unveil both the universal and specific strengths of women. This is named and celebrated as Shakthi and is a vital basis for the content of many of Lingalayam’s creative works.

Over the past decade, Lingalayam has been fortunate to collaborate with artists of international repute. These experiences have challenged and enhanced the artistic practice within the company while expanding their horizons. As a result of the influences of the collaborative partnerships undertaken, today Lingalayam’s choreographic vocabulary far transcends the boundaries of its original performative paradigms, and presents contemporary work founded on its classical origins.

Cast and Crew

Conception and Direction
Anandavalli and Ian Cleworth


Stage Concept and Design
Bart Groen

Taikoz Choreography
Anton Lock and Thomas Royce-Hampton

Lee McIver

Bartek Reszelski & Lee McIver

Lighting Design
Roderick van Gelder

Thomas Royce-Hampton

Ian Cleworth
John Cleworth
Riley Lee
John Napier
Aruna Parthiban

Other information

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