Participation by the Contact Dance Company in the Brouhaha International festival in Liverpool last month has led to an invitation to the company to perform at the Euromed 2003 international dance festival in October.

The Euromed festival is being held in Portugal, offering Contact Dance Company another opportunity to perform with other international artistes in high-profile theatres.

It is premiering two new works, TV OD, choreographed by Welsh dance education specialist Douglas Comley, and Tempest, by the company's artistic director, Francesa Abela Tranter.

CDC has also invited the 'folk group with a difference', Etnika, to join it in the Portugal festival and continue to export local talent and culture through contemporary dance and music.

Considering that the company is not full-time, it has always left a lasting, good impression of Malta and has always been invited to perform in other countries, Ms Abela Tranter said.

"People are interested in our work and impressed with the dancers, who are willing to collaborate, learn and blend in."

Ms Abela Tranter, who is now on the Manoel Theatre committee, said she intends to raise the profile of all forms of dance and "give hope to dancers".

Meanwhile, the ball is rolling and a network has already been created, she said.

Since it was founded in 1999, CDC has performed overseas 10 times, and other invitations, to Sarajevo and Russia among others, are pouring in. Their participation is a matter of funding, she said.

Speaking about the Brouhaha experience - the three-week-long Merseyside international street festival - Ms Abela Tranter said her ultimate aim was to organise a similar event in Malta, which had the right climate and space.

Around 17 countries participated in Brouhaha, with performers from as far afield as Columbia, Uruguay and Jamaica, South Africa and other European states.

The festival brought together a variety of performers and different forms of art and dance, from flamenco to samba, South African to Maltese dancers, Moroccan musicians, mime and acting.

Local cuisine, including pastizzi, qassatat and gbejniet, was also savoured at the festival, introducing another aspect of Maltese culture.

Ms Abela Tranter was pleased that Malta was present at such a unique cultural exchange, which she wished all youths could experience.

"It was a 10-day experience of learning through movement and collaboration under one roof, proving that through the performing arts the world can connect," she said.

Apart from performing alone in Concert Square, CDC participated in The World in One City - a 90-minute performance at the Liverpool Playhouse, which was the result of a series of workshops by Rui Junior. It featured 160 dancers and musicians, including the Maltese contingent, who joined forces with Greece and South Africa to put up an "amazing show" in six days.

A member of CDC, Giselle Calleja, has also been chosen to join Toca Rufar, a group of percussionists on Portuguese drums, to train for a show that could become a world tour.

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