Natano Fa’anana began learning his crafts of dance, physical theatre and circus at a time when “a Samoan aerial circus performer was as common as a Samoan prima ballerina.”
His training with Brisbane-based collective Polytoxic not only developed his skills but encouraged him to experiment with merging cultural themes with modern theatre.
This fusion of art and culture continues to run through Natano’s work and that of Casus, the circus company he co-founded in 2012.
“Speaking from a contemporary circus lens, Brisbane has a formidable circus community that supports and cares for one another,” he says.
“We create work that purposely and unapologetically differs from other states and countries.
“Brisbane now boasts some of Australia’s most progressive works led by artists of colour and it leads the way in culturally diverse circus and theatre on the international stage.”
Natano has performed extensively overseas while also working prolifically at home, participating in Brisbane Festival with Polytoxic, Briefs Factory, Casus Circus, Flipside Circus and as an independent director.
“Everything from a roving character throwing netballs wearing a pleated skirt, to dancing with a lampshade in Casus’s Driftwood, to directing a multi Matilda Award-winning show about young people living with life-limiting conditions,” he says of his 12-year career.
“Brisbane Festival will continue to present itself to me multiple canvases of opportunity so I can go to town with my metaphorical paint and brush.”
Natano says Brisbane Festival’s strength lay in how it used art to activate conversation and change.
“It is a haven for many Brisbane artists to showcase their talent and in turn, allow Brisbane audiences to reciprocate their home team pride.
“Like many gatherings of people with art at its heart, Brisbane Festival is a petri-dish of creativity, spawning moments never to be seen again, incubated by some of the world’s most creative and innovative minds.”