Malta’s national dance company ŻfinMalta dance their way to London’s top theatre

Over the next three weeks, ŻfinMalta will be performing four works to paying audiences in theatres across the UK

23 January 2017, 8:07am
ŻfinMalta artistic director Mavin Khoo in Kick the Bucket. Photo: Joe Smith
ŻfinMalta artistic director Mavin Khoo in Kick the Bucket. Photo: Joe Smith
Malta’s national dance company, ŻfinMalta, flies to the UK tomorrow for its big debut; a prestigious opportunity secured less than three years since its formation.

The sore muscles and blistered feet have paid off as it is quite a rare feat for such a young company to be engaged by top venues in the UK to perform against a fee so soon after being set up.

“This is quite unusual and I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure we deliver and meet the expectations. This is our first real test and the critics’ reviews will count for a lot,” ŻfinMalta artistic director Mavin Khoo said.

Set up in September 2014 as “the people’s dance company”, the company has been working hard to generate global interest and the perseverance is delivering results.

Over the next three weeks, ŻfinMalta will be performing four works to paying audiences in theatres across the UK – from Liverpool to Birmingham and Swansea – ending the tour at London’s Sadler’s Wells theatre; the world’s top venue dedicated to international dance.

Designed to take the audience on a journey of discovery, passion and intricate choreography, the performances have been seamlessly brought together by Khoo; Iván Pérez, former Nederlands Dans Theater dancer and ŻfinMalta associate choreographer; and Jose Agudo, ŻfinMalta associate artist. 

The Maltese and international cast of outstanding dancers will be performing Home, Selah, Kick the Bucket, and Stabat Mater.

Khoo explained that these so-called “one-night stand performances” demanded great stamina and focus from the dancers, but everyone has been rehearsing intensely to deliver this thought-provoking programme.

Having been based in the UK before establishing himself in Malta seven years ago, this is a particularly nostalgic moment for Khoo to be taking the company he helped nurture “back home”.

“I’m nervous in a healthy way, both on a personal level and as artistic director, as I know what the benchmark is in the UK. We have a lot to live up to, but I’m confident in what the company and the dancers have to offer,” Khoo said.

The UK tour is being supported by the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Malta, and Arts Council Malta; and sponsored by Intercontinental Malta, Korzo Theater and Sadler’s Wells.