Niki Shi is an interdisciplinary performing artist who brings together traditional formats with an innovative and highly contemporary vision. Her aim is to present the body as a site of celebration, cultural connection and inspired exploration.
Niki has been a dance practitioner for most of her life. Having studied ballet from childhood, along with contemporary dance, jazz and street tap, she has continued to pursue a range of stylistic influences. Her current work draws on her ongoing studies in a constellation of danceforms, primarily European and Middle Eastern, along with the transcultural fusions derived from these. It is also informed by popular 20th-century theatrical formats such as the variety show and the circus, adapted closely to contemporary festival culture. She aims to integrate these influences thoughtfully, with awareness of their historical and contemporary context.
Much of her work extends from her interest in iconography, symbols and visual language. She is passionate about words, language and poetics, and works professionally as a writer. The female body as a positive, creative subject is another central feature of her thematic palette. This is further reflected in her sometime burlesque persona, Vanity Vogue. Niki uses this character to explore ribald physical comedy and the taboo of erotic vulgarity.
Niki graduated with a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from the University of Sydney in 2013. Modes of thinking derived from these studies underpin her approach to artmaking, as do embodied practices such as yoga. In 2017, her interest in the role of movement in health and wellbeing led her to become certified as a Pilates instructor.
She has performed widely as a dancer and vocalist with music and performance outfit Ungus Ungus Ungus since 2014, and is an affiliate of Bandhaus. Niki enjoys making graphic art; you can see some in her online store.