As the eight dancers and two musicians who perform in Attractor take to the stage, they sit on stools in a semi-circle facing the audience, gathered around a small pile of stringed and reed instruments.

Slowly the dancers start to shrug shoulders, shift spines and sway. Rising from their seats, they fan out across the stage in jerky movements. Then sudden thrashing chords on one of the rather extraordinary looking hand-made stringed instruments launch them into a mesmeric performance that gradually builds to a hypnotic climax with some of the audience on stage with them.

Attractor. Photograph © Gregory Lorenzutti

Attractor premiered at Asia TOPA in Melbourne in February and won two 2017 Helpmann Awards for Best Dance Production and Best Choreography in a Ballet, Dance or Physical Theatre Production. Now it has a short season as part of Brisbane Festival.

Co-directed and co-choreographed by Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek, the work brings together Melbourne’s Lucy Guerin Inc. and Townsville’s Dance North with Indonesian music duo Senyawa, featuring musician Rully Shabara and vocalist Wukir Suryadi.

According to the programme notes, “Senyawa interprets the Javanese tradition of entering trance through dance and music as a...