Alfira O'Sullivan
Alfira O'Sullivan


Artistic Director/dancer

Alfira, born in Perth of Acehnese-Irish descent, is a dance artist who specialises in traditional and contemporary Indonesian dance styles. In 2001, Alfira founded Suara Indonesia Dance Group and her dedication, diligence and talent have granted her several Indonesian Government Scholarships. Her educational repertoire includes studying at the Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Central Java). In Aceh (North Sumatra) she researched and trained under master instructors in Acehnese sitting dances which are rhythmical body percussion dances, accompanied by devotional Islamic melodic songs. She holds a degree in International Studies (UNSW ) and an Honours in Indonesian Studies at Sydney University, completing a thesis on the history and significance of Acehnese body percussion sitting dances.

Alfira performs as a solo artist as well as with her dance troupe at national and international festivals. Notably, her artistic contribution goes beyond pure entertainment. Alfira is a modest humanitarian who has volunteered her time in Palestine, teaching body percussion dances in refugee camps as a method of trauma relief (2010). She has also been to Papua New Guinea in the Goroka highlands to teach workshops in villages (2011). In Aceh, 2006, she monitored trauma-healing programs that taught traditional dance to victims of the 2004 tsunami and 30-year conflict in Aceh.

Preserving and honouring her cultural heritage through dance is a key objective of Alfira's and subsequently her dance group has taught Indonesian dance workshops in hundreds of schools across Australia and New Zealand and Europe.

She has collaborated with a number of Indonesian and Australian contemporary music ensembles and artists including: The Rhythm Hunters, Gong Baby, Garis, Anything But Roy and GengGong, Slamet Gundono, Agung Gunawan, Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal and Wei Zen Ho.

Her own choreographed contemporary pieces include;

  • Rapai - First development work-in-progress at The Arts Platform 2013 Arts and Culture Residency for 6 weeks at Platform 2, Liechardt, Sydney
  • Wajah-Wajah (Faces) 2011 for Coolie Asian-Australian Festival at Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney
  • Duduk (Sit) 2012 Islamic Women's Festival Casula Powerhouse, Sydney and 2010 UNSW Metamorphosis Symposium, Sydney
  • Tanah Ibu (Mother Earth) 2007, 4a Asian Arts Gallery, Sydney
  • Broeh (Rubbish) 2006 Yogya International Arts Fest, Yogyakarta
  • Buah Kemanusiaan (This Fruit of Mankind) 2006 Gang Fest, Sydney

Fiddler on the Roof is a dance film shot, edited and directed by Fatima Mawas performed and choreographed by Alfira and music by Becka Wolfe.