A Sydney Dance Company Rehearsal
I was lucky to watch a rehearsal at Sydney Dance Company, one of the world‘s strongest forces in contemporary dance. It was the first run after the summer break, prior to starting their tour to South America.
I immediately noticed the amazing diversity of dancers. One young, tall, lean dancer in particular caught my attention during the warm up, doing such incredible stretches it seemed he had no bones at all.
While usually dance companies seek dancers that fit a particular body shape and size, Sydney Dance Company values individuality. The subsequent diversity made the dancing more exciting and surprising, with every movement chosen to best suit the dancer‘s character.
Both works seen in the rehearsal were choreographed by Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director of the company since 2009, leading the company towards great international success.
Most prominent is his extraordinary musicality, which makes his choreographies so special. The first piece, „FRAME OF MIND“, implemented very dramatic classical music, occassionally shifting to touching, calm solos and duets. I loved the trios in which single dancers escaped their group to join another trio. The movements were fluid and precise, emotional and touching, yet energetic and acrobatic.
Frame of Mind by Rafael Bonachela (Source Website Sydney Dance Company)
Sydney Dance Company’s Frame of Mind is a wildly powerful double bill featuring the smash hit Wildebeest by Australia’s own Gabrielle Nankivell and the multi award-winning Frame of Mind from Rafael Bonachela.
Bonachela’s Frame of Mind features a dramatic contemporary-classical soundtrack by Bryce Dessner (from American hit rock band The National), recorded by San Francisco’s virtuosic Kronos Quartet. Winner of all four categories for the 2015 Helpmann Awards including ‘Best Choreography’, ‘Best Dance Work’, ‘Best Male Dancer’, and ‘Best Female Dancer’ for its critically acclaimed premiere season.
The second piece, „LUX TENEBRIS“ composed by Nick Wales, focused more on the interpretation of electronic beats into dance. The movements were technically challenging and demanding, resulting in some of the most incredible movements I have ever seen. While seemingly humanly impossible, the dancers nevertheless managed to make it look easy and fluid. I totally agree with the quote of Herald Sun – „an ensemble of technically blessed young dynamos“.
Lux Tenebris by Rafael Bonachela (Source Website Sydney Dance Company)
Rafael Bonachela‘s Lux Tenebris is an exploration of light and darkness, with fierce physical movement and deep electronic beats by composer Nick Wales. The work premiered in Sydney at the Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay in February 2016 as part of the double bill CounterMove.
We take a deeper look into the creation of Lux Tenebris through a four part video series featuring insights from choreographer Rafael Bonachela, Composer Nick Wales, and dancers Juliette Barton and David Mack. Click through the links below or above to view the short but exhilarating video explorations.
Near the end, the dancers were totally exhausted and redfaced, after giving it their all throughout the rehearsal. What a treat to be so close and see a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes!
The Sydney Dance Company is coming to Europe in spring where they will perform Lux Tenebris, Full Moon and Wildebeest:
Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris from 11-13 April 2018
Belgrade Dance Festival 3 & 4 April 2018
Slovenia Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana Sat 7 April 2018
19 – 22 April 2018
More about the Sydney Dance Company
All Photos © Pedro Greig