A year-long festival celebrating our State’s fantastic public spaces as part of the NSW Government’s COVID Safe Summer program opens today with the release of a spectacular film series from the Sydney Dance Company and a live performance in The Rocks.
The film series, featuring new, never-before-seen dance suites performed in cherished public spaces across NSW, kicks off a year-long program of virtual and physical events exploring and reimagining our civic places.
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.
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’sWildebeest, 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’sAnima. 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.
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:-
Ecstatic cheers for this blink and you miss it return season of THE LAND OF YES, THE LAND OF NO at the Parramatta Riverside Theatre.
A plotless, abstract work, the idea behind the production is, according to Bonachela’s program notes, exploring the use of signs and how we navigate in our world. The work was originally developed in 2009 for Bonachela’s London Company and here has been expanded and reworked for a cast of ten.