Media Release:


Shape Shifting Explored in Men's Rea

Cairns, 20th June, 2016 – The changing of physical beings and the mythology of shape shifting will be explored in Raghav Handa’s latest work – Mens Rea: The Shifters Intent – showing at the Centre of Contemporary Arts this Friday and Saturday, June 24-25.

Set against the background of the Indian epic, Ramayana, Mens Rea: The Shifters Intent moves between three of its principal characters Jatayu, Sita and Ravana, exploring the shift in their intent as the trigger point of their physical and emotional transformation.

Handa said the inspiration for the work was born right here in North Queensland after visiting Indigenous elders in the remote communities of Laura and Yarrabah with mentor and Cairns-based professional dancer Marilyn Miller.

“In Australian Aboriginal ceremonies, dancers apply ochre and wear the feathers or skin of their animal guardians, while adopting the grace and form of the animal they have become.”

The story unfolds with Jatayu (a demi-god vulture) attempting to rescue Sita (the wife of the god, Rama) but is captured and mutilated by Ravana (a shape-shifting demon).

“In the past I have been pretty blasé about my Indian heritage, but in the last three years I have really begun to embrace the traditional movement and how stories from my childhood and background can come into my contemporary dancing,” he said.

“Mens Rea: The Shifters Intent showcases amazing work by motion capture technology, and I hope I have created something really unique using this.

“Audiences will travel from a narrative, to a character, before moving into a 3D set element complete with special glasses. There is a journey in the show and there is something in it for everyone,” he added.

Mens rea: The Shifter’s Intent will perform at the Centre of Contemporary on Friday, June 24 and Satuday, June 25 at 6pm. Tickets are $19 for adults and $15 for concession.  For more information or to book visit


For more information, images or interviews contact:
Tanya Snelling, Strategic PR
P 0417 202 663


Raghav started his career in 2004 in Marilyn Miller’s Quinkan in Sydney and the Adelaide Fringe. He then performed in Raymond Blanco’s Intentcity at the Sydney Opera House. In subsequent years, he has worked on Vicki van Hout’s Wirad’journi, My Right Foot Your Right Foot and Briwyant.

In 2012, Raghav choreographed a solo work KumKum, which premiered at PACT in Sydney. In 2013, he performed in Slow dances for fast times by Martin del Amo and Double Entendre, a duet with Sue Healey and the Australia Ensemble at UNSW. He also performed in Sue Healey’s dance installation, On View, at the Manly Art Gallery.