Tag Archives: Sydney Dance Company



Cass Mortimer Eipper and Nelson Earl in Bell Jar. Photo: Pedro Greig

NEW BREED: Sydney Dance Company

Quite a mixed bill in this latest presentation by Sydney Dance , the fourth presentation of NEW BREED – something for everyone yet challenging and provoking .

First up was Bell Jar choreographed and performed by Cass Mortimer Eipper and Nelson Earl . Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s work in some ways it is about confronting one’s inner demons. It was very macho yet intimate , strong and sweaty, very powerful and thrillingly performed with hints of violence hidden below the surface. The two were topless and in dark trousers In some ways it was as if they were two halves of a whole and Earl was trying to escape perhaps.

It was slithery, fast and furious with sinuous arms and a martial arts feel at times. Other sections featured the use of angular elbows, or sculptural silhouette .  The music by Marco Cher-Gibard at times crashed and roared.  There was an emotionally powerful ending with Earl perhaps dying in Mortimer-Eipeer’s arms.

Next came Petros TreklisThe Art of Letting Go .” 7 dancers portraying one man and his mind”.It opened with a fantastic solo for Sam Young-Wright looming out of the darkness. The seven wore grey outfits. In some ways it is perhaps reminiscent of Murphy’s ‘Purgatory ‘ .  Choreographically the work featured fluid, slinky movement , exciting ensemble work , runs , some striking , dangerous lifts … isolation movements are included , as well as stylized repeated small movements .There is an atmosphere of love and loss . It concludes with more tumultuous slinky , ensemble work.

Tyrone Earl Lrae Robinson’s strange [bio]Curious was first after interval , which he informs us in the program notes is attempting to question the relationship we have with the natural world. I found it coolly clinical yet simultaneously stylised and extremely sensual.

It opens with Chloe Leong like a goddess in the bath , in a heavily stylized and textured leotard , who entices with a slinky , sensual solo ( echoes perhaps of Murphy’s Some Rooms ? ) . Nelson Earl appears and there are slithery pas de deux . The set is of plants mostly in display cases but some on a table and there is much symbolic use of the plants – sniffing , tasting etc . Their tryst is interrupted by Davide Di Giovanni in a black floral mask – a reference perhaps to the serpent and garden of Eden ?

Melanie Lane’s WOOF with its pulsating music by Clark , flickering lights and sculptural lines explores various intellectual and physical ideas , with fine ensemble work by all . While WOOF is perhaps a little long Lane reveals enormous potential. It strives to express ‘ the fantasy of a post-human collective spirit ‘ and has a cast of twelve. Aleisa Jelbart’s delicate ghostly white costumes become dirty by the end because of the blackened hands of the dancers .

There are allusions to Baroque paintings and Bangarra perhaps , with allusions to other past pop dance and art ‘schools’ which gradually develops into a pastiche of contemporary and includes lots of fast , fiddly footwork . Choreographically it also included lots of runs , fast furious jumps and lots of walks and sections on high demi pointe. At times the ensemble writhed sculpturally, at others they split into smaller groups of trios or quartets . Absorbing .

Sydney Dance NEW BREED runs at Carriageworks 30 November – 9 December 2017


Hypnotic and mesmerising, Sydney Dance Company performers in ‘2 One Another’.

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. Continue reading RAFAEL BONACHELA’S ‘2 ONE ANOTHER’ RETURNS TO THE ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE


Swift as wind. Supple as water. Grounded as surely as the summit of a mountain nimbly flits through fleeting clouds, and stays irrefutably present.

The spry air is charged, set alight by the fiery lightning that strikes from dancer to dancer and shoots through the audience.

The space between dancers is at once brimming with intercourse and fully, delectably pregnant: opening a boundless wellspring of infinite flow and limitless directions in which to move.          Continue reading SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY’S ‘ORB’ @ THE ROS PACKER THEATRE


This magnificent double bill will leave you breathless and stunned with awe at the superb performances. The brilliant Sydney Dance dancers excel themselves and are in top form.

Opening the program was Gabrielle Nankivell’s Wildebeest,  first seen in 2014 as part of New Breed.

Nankivell is based in South Australia. Darkly hypnotic and haunting, Wildebeest seeks to explore the hidden ‘beast’ of the dancers. The dancers reveal various aspects of the beast – at times they are like Ents in the forest , or a startled feral creature. Sometimes they all run herd-like.

A lone beast is fragmented and altered each time it makes contact with a nearby group. Nankivell’s choreography is very demanding and athletic. It is also very detailed with assorted avian and creature-like details. They fly, they strut, they explore their surroundings and nervously sniff the air …Some of the slick ensemble choreography is machine like, or like clogs interlocking, as the dancers trace the evolution from animal to human to machine/robot and even beyond.

Bernhard Knauer has a compelling opening solo looming out of the darkness – is he a just born creature finding his feet? – at times he is like a controlled puppet, other times he is explosively exploring space.

Cass Mortimer Eipper intently prowled and sinuously coiled and stretched like a large cat and Charmene Yap also had a tantalizing solo. There is a terrific duo from Holly Doyle and Todd Sutherland . And Janessa Dufty has an intense , gripping Shaman like closing solo.

Luke Smiles’ electronic soundscape is extremely powerful, pulsating and humming. The unisex costumes by Fiona Holley of shorts and tops were in various autumn shades and dark colours.
The second work was Bonachela’s Anima. Dazzling abstract dance, Bonachela’s work attempts to explore the boundary between form and spirit, expressed through the way the dancers utilize their extraordinary elevation and almost fly. Bonachela’s choreography is at times extremely demanding and athletic.

London based, Bulgarian born Dobrinka Tabakova’s elegant ,passionate and haunting score ( Insight for Strings trio , written 2002) was in parts driving and relentless, in other sections heartbreakingly elegiac and lyrical (hints of Tavener’s Protecting Veil). Aleisa Jelbart’s costumes looked like light sleepwear, and a couple of the men were topless. There was no set as such, rather breathtaking lighting and visuals by Clemens Habicht and Benjamin Cisterne whose lighting design glows and luminously transforms the dancers, drenching them in colour – including blinding whites, searing reds and zippy turquoises.

Slinky sculptural pas de-deux blend to astonishing trios with unusual lifts. Bonachela’s choreography demands soft feline jumps combined with long, stretched line as the dancers dart and leap. A highlight would have to be the extended tender and intimate pas de deux for Cass Mortimer Eipper and Petros Treklis with its aspects of male competition and tension, attempts to reach out and withdraw, elegantly detailed hands and an idiosyncratic use of elbows expressing physical longing and desire. Juliette Barton and Sam Young Wright followed this with another mesmerizing duo and the ensemble returned for a leaping finale.

The Sydney Dance Company’s production of UNTAMED is playing at the Roslyn Packer theatre until October 29. Running time 1 hr 45 minutes including one interval.



Inset pic- Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela. Featured pic- Alexander Ekman. Production photography by Peter Greig.
Inset pic- Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela. Featured pic- Alexander Ekman. Production photography by Peter Greig.

It’s just over three weeks until the first previews of Sydney Dance Company’s CounterMove, from Thursday February 26 at Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay.

The Sydney Dance Company is inviting the public to attend a sneak peek/preview of the production at the Company’s first FREE Work in Progress event for the year to be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday February 24 on the Roslyn Packer Theatre stage.

This exclusive event held during the final days of preparation for the season provides a unique glimpse of the behind the scenes action in the making of CounterMove. Continue reading SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY PRESENTS ITS FIRST FREE WORKS IN PROGRESS EVENT @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE


The current season of NEW BREED by THE Sydney Dance Company showcases the choreographic talents of four choreographers whose thematic ideas and experience are quite mixed in a powerful, dramatic programme.

DERIVED. Choreography by Bernard Knauer. Dancers Charmene Yap and Daniel Roberts. Pic Peter Greig
DERIVED. Choreography by Bernard Knauer. Dancers Charmene Yap and Daniel Roberts. Pic Peter Greig

The opening work Derived by Bernhard Knauer, to music by his father Jurgen Knauer, is a short but startlingly punchy work, riveting and mesmerizing. The dancers are in subtly textured blue costumes. Short futuristic solos (Holly Doyle’s opening one is tremendous) in squares of light are expanded to duos and trios – wonderful sculptural fluidity and enfolding.

Knauer’s choreography is magnificent, slinky, angular and intense. There is a pulsating trio at one point. Angular, circular arm movements are favoured with a feeling of vertical fluidity. Continue reading SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY PRESENTS NEW BREED @ CARRIAGEWORKS

2014 Sydney Arts Guide Stage & Screen Awards

Bell Shakespeare's WINTERS TALE  2014 winner - Best stage production
Bell Shakespeare’s WINTERS TALE  2014 winner – Best stage production


Sydney Arts Guide is a key part of stage and film culture, and exists to celebrate the art of performance, in theatres and cinemas.

2014 was a year of amazing diversity, and our twenty accredited specialist reviewers, were all spoiled for choice in the quality of the live theatre performances to be experienced in the City of Sydney, and the suburbs of Sydney.

As the old adage goes, “live theatre is not dead theatre, as there is a different performance to be experienced every night”. Our team of professional reviewers, have each nominated their personal preferences for both theatre and cinema. A small number of movies were nominated out of the hundreds of cinema films that were seen during the last twelve months.

At the end of another outstanding year for the arts in Sydney, on Wednesday 31st December 2014, Sydney Arts Guide announced its 2014 awards in these Stage and Screen categories:-

Continue reading 2014 Sydney Arts Guide Stage & Screen Awards