Dance and physical theatre are at the heart of her first programme as PIAF Director.

Wendy Martin knows dance and you need look no further than her impressive resumé to understand how. Formerly the Head of Theatre and Dance at the Sydney Opera House, Martin was most recently in charge of curating the dance offering at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre. Unsurprisingly, for her inaugural programme as Director of the Perth International Arts Festival, she has chosen to headline with some of the world’s most radical dance-theatre makers.

“It’s the kind of work that I love,” Martin explains. “Work that is indefinable, but also unforgettable. When you’ve been as fortunate as I have, to have been exposed to the work of the world’s great choreographers, you realise that in the hands of these artists, the language of the body is just as articulate as words.”

Take, for example, Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Apocrifu(above), which is a nexus between physical expression and spiritual belief. Cherkaoui’s lyrical, emotionally-supercharged movement is both assertive and deeply spiritual.

Aditi Mangaldas, on the other hand, is a virtuoso of classical Indian dance form Kathak, which combines percussive, rhythmic...