Featured image- Janessa Duffy in Sydney Dance Company’s ‘2 One Another’.
This is a brief return season of the multi award winning 2 ONE ANOTHER, choreographed by Rafael Bonachela and performed by Sydney Dance Company, first seen in 2012. It has since toured both nationally and internationally. The work has been very slightly tweaked and changed since its 2012 premiere.
2 ONE ANOTHER is a complex analysis of human interaction, examining the myriad actions and reactions, relationships and intimate and public gestures, connections and disconnections that make up the daily life of a human being. The wonderful dancers are superb both in the precisely controlled ensemble work and the flowing quartets, trios and pas de deux that flow from this.
There are at times very complicated almost geometric or architectural patterns and blocks of movement. Tiny everyday movements are taken and developed.
Bonachela’s choreography, with his preference for the symmetrical and linear, is fluid, very athletic and demanding with long, stretched lines and some striking, unusual lifts. It includes edgy walks, explosive, feline leaps and rolling floorwork.
The many highlights include a dazzling solo for Charmene Yap and a luscious , tender duet for Juliette Barton and Bernhard Knauer.
The work is at times coolly detached, at others intimate, mesmerising, glittering and lyrical. In some sections it is as if the barefoot dancers perform captivating sculptural calligraphy in space, swirling in ecstatic movement.
The sleek dancers are in fine form. Torsos bend and twist in unison, arms and legs entwine at unusual heights and striking angles. Solos and duets scintillate . In the looming, ominous ensemble sections however they appear emphatically solid and automated.
In one section Bonachela favours the use of a deep Graham plie and there is also a use of high demi pointe at times. Attempting to explore the philosophy of human relationships, theirs is a human, controlled, physical and bodily reaction to emotional impulses; the final results of a combined poet’s expression and choreographer’s vision.
The dancers are always coolly neutral, almost as if robotic alien beings, no emotion on their faces, yet 2 ONE ANOTHER is full of tender, intimate physicality and in some sections bursts of emotive ideas.
Tony Assness (set and costumes) and Benjamin Cisterne’s (lighting) marvellous designs, feature the use of a giant soft LED screen and range from cold, blinding sharply electronic vertical lights to magical, lyrical swirling and twirling trails of stars: the pixel-like lights assume various different shapes and intensities of light and colour.
There is also an ominous yet warming glowing red light at one point towards the end with washes of colour.The background also appeared to be of various textures at certain points looking like fabric or paper.
For most of the show the dancers are clad in body hugging layered, semi transparent, blue-grey futuristic leotards, uniquely designed for each performer, with some of the men topless, then in bold ,flowing red for the last part. (I agree with my colleagues who didn’t like the distracting luminous yellow emphasis on the zip at the back for the bluey-grey costumes).
Nick Wales’ throbbing, booming, thumping, pulsating musical soundtrack with a pounding low bass at times uneasily blends Renaissance and Baroque influences (sometimes soaringly lyrical) with a style of electronic /contemporary music, cello ensemble, and also features the spoken word of poetry by Samuel Webster, sometimes whispered, sometimes almost shouted.
This was a powerful, mesmerising and hypnotic performance.
Running time just over an hour without interval.
Sydney Dance Company in 2 ONE ANOTHER is playing the Roslyn Packer Theatre until the 14th October