Two Maltese dance and music companies are performing at the Euromed Festival in Seixal, Portugal, organised by the commission of the European Communities.

The international exchange is the fruit of Contact Dance Company's performance at the International Brouhaha Festival in Liverpool in July.

Director Rui Romao de Melo Araujo of the Euromed Festival in Portugal was impressed with Malta's collaboration in the workshops, which led to the final international performance, with 140 artists and a complete work performed by Contact Dance Company in Liverpool's Concert Square.

Contact Dance Company leaves for Portugal on Friday, taking up Tempest, a work in progress to the sounds of John Cage and Seefeel. It is directed by Francesca Abela Tranter in collaboration with dancers Sandra Mifsud, Nicola Critien, Rachel Axisa, Audra Micallef and Giselle Calleja, who has been invited to stay on in Portugal to join the dance and percussion company, WOK, with its international cast. The project, part of Culture 2000, could turn into a world tour.

"CDC's repertoire ranges between fast, bizarre, intricate, lyrical and physically brutal," Ms Abela Tranter said.

In constant evolution, the company is celebrating its fifth anniversary and continues to "strive to keep to the cutting edge of international dance".

Renzo Spiteri's The Katambu Sound Factory is accompanying CDC. Performing their own works, Katambu is a percussion ensemble that uses recycled, industrial materials as essential instruments - from oil drums to beer cans, metal grids, aluminium sheets and wooden sticks.

The energetic group plays compositions by Spiteri himself, who is not only concerned with urban sounds, but also draws influence and inspiration from African music, Japanese Taiko drumming and South American rhythms.

Workshops and exchanges are being held in Seixal, with a series of performances from participating countries, which include Spain, Portugal, Tunis, the UK, Greece and Malta.

Contact Dance Company in Tempest, choreography by Francesca Abela Tranter. Photograph by Mark Avellino/ProjectMalta 2003.

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