Massive showcase of theatre and dance

Contemporary dance festival Dance Massive is back this month to celebrate a decade of showcasing some of the world's most provocative choreography. Over 50 events, viewers can experience theatre, dance, art and discussion that tackles confronting and exciting themes. Highlights include:

Common Ground by Chunky Move artistic director Anouk van Dijk evokes the birth of ballet to turn the stage into a choreographic game of chess.

Mar 13-17, Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank

Same but Different disproves the notion that all Indigenous dance is the same by showcasing four First Nation female artists who tell stories through dance, albeit in different ways.

Mar 13-23, Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne

First Dance brings together storytellers and performers to combine movement and writing to conjure up varied memories of that first, fateful dance.

Mar 18, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

The Tennis Piece world premiere is Atlanta Eke's approach to tackling anxieties of technology by combining dance and installation to take the audience to a pivotal event in the French Revolution.

Mar 19-21, Collingwood Town Hall, 140 Hoddle Street, Collingwood

Biladurang is an award-winning confessional solo described as the perfect "theatre-dance one-night stand" by Joel Bray.

Mar 19-24, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne

Sydney festival 2019: two of the hottest tickets make the audience part of the show

You wouldn’t dare look bored during Joel Bray’s Biladurang or Geoff Sobelle’s Home.

Joel Bray in Biladurang at the QT during the Sydney festival. Photograph: Victor Frankowski

Joel Bray in Biladurang at the QT during the Sydney festival. Photograph: Victor Frankowski

The QT Sydney is known as the place to go to get laid – at least if you have the money.

I’ve gone back to a guy’s room, and I’m already in a hotel robe getting a hand massage from him. He’s asking me about my family – where are they from? It seems unbelievable but this guy actually seems interested in the fact that I come from Warrnambool.

He’s fresh from the bath, suds still on his face, but at least he’s put on some clothes – it was a bit much seeing him dance around the suite naked. Just as I’m starting to relax, he’s moving on: does anyone else want a massage?

I look around. Any takers? There are 22 of us in robes in the suite, drinking champagne, eating Kit Kats from the minibar. Some people are sitting on ottomans, others on couches. There are people lying on the bed.

Joel Bray is a dancer and choreographer whose small-scale Sydney festival show, Biladurang, is being performed in a hotel room at the QT for 10 nights of the Sydney festival. Scattered around the room are the remnants of big nights: a G-string, harness and condom wrappers. Bray’s been on a casual sex bender – or, at least, his eponymous character has – and when we meet him in his suite he’s burned out and in pain.

He goes and takes a bath (there’s a live feed from the bathroom to the TV in the lounge, where we are sitting) and lets out an almighty primal scream.

‘He lets out an almighty primal scream’: Joel Bray in Biladurang. Photograph: Pippa Samaya

‘He lets out an almighty primal scream’: Joel Bray in Biladurang. Photograph: Pippa Samaya

When he emerges he dances for us covered in suds. Later he brings us into his bedroom, invites us on to his bed and tells us stories of growing up queer and Indigenous in Australia. Then he pairs us up and has us waltzing with each other.

The play is not for everyone, but with a maximum of 22 audience members per performance it’s one of the hottest tickets of the festival.