Experimental and expressive, the Sydney Dance Company’s modus operandi is contemporary at its core, if not somewhat futuristic. Under the artistic direction of Rafael Bonachela, there’s never a tutu or dance shoe in sight; instead, there are costumes made by leading designers Dion Lee and Toni Maticevski, and music from Sarah Blasko and Katie Noonan. Barefoot, the dancers demonstrate pure athleticism to execute Bonachela’s signature style of choreography: moves that intertwine and melt together and then jolt apart with fervour and electricity. Elements of theatre also weave their way in – don’t be surprised by spoken word, a broken Fourth Wall, or audience participation. Electronic music and unexpected lighting design are also often featured.
Each season’s program features new work by Bonachela alongside that of another choreographer. For 2020 Season One, Bonachela has collaborated with Bryce Dessner of the American rock band The National to present Impermanence. If this collaboration weren’t impressive enough, Dessner’s composition will be played live on stage by the Australian String Quartet, the performers of which will all play 18th century Guadagnini stringed instruments. Bonachela has described the collaboration as: “It’s been a dream to work with Bryce Dessner, an amazing contemporary classical composer whose work has been heard in Oscar nominated films… I’m excited for everyone to experience it. There is nothing more powerful than dance performed to live music.”
In addition to Impermanence, Season One will also include a performance of E2 7SD. This duet, choreographed by Bonachela, won the prestigious Place Prize in 2004 and originally garnered him international recognition. This is the first time it will be performed by the Sydney Dance Company and the first time it will be seen in Australia.
Thirdly, Season One will feature a performance of N.N.N.N. by iconically non-conformist William Forsythe, a highly-regarded piece that only five other dance companies in the world have been permitted to perform. Forsythe is often referred to as the godfather of contemporary dance, making his work a fitting pair to Bonachela’s choreographic style. Performed entirely without music, N.N.N.N. is partly absurd; the noises from the performers’ bodies – their huffs and slaps – become just as evocative as the movements. Bonachela explained “Our relationship with Forsythe began in 2015 after we were the first company in Australia to be granted the right to perform his seminal work Quintett. The trust Forsythe showed in Sydney Dance Company has grown since then and we are delighted to continue our relationship with this extraordinary choreographer in 2020.”
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