Step in time. The 2016 season for Sydney Dance Company begins with CounterMove – a double bill featuring the return of Cacti - a piece by Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman - and the world premiere of Lux Tenebris, from SDC artistic director Rafael Bonachela. Here, RUSSH chats to Bonachela ahead of tonight's season opening about collaboration, inspiration, and finding light in the dark.
CounterMove includes the world premiere of Lux Tenebris, your latest choreographed work. What can audiences expect from this piece?
Lux Tenebris is driven by a really strong electronic soundscape from Sydney composer Nick Wales. It sets the mood for the choreography, which is quite is strong and physical, requiring a high level of immersion by the dancers. The lighting of this piece is also very important – Lux Tenebris is a Latin term meaning 'light in darkness'. The mood of the piece changes as the environment transitions from blinding light to total darkness, or sits and explores those liminal spaces in between.
How important is collaboration with other artists?
I am really inspired by working with other artists, it feeds my own creativity and drives me to be the very best that I can be. For the Company, which is 16 dancers from all different backgrounds, these collaborations are essential, especially the opportunity for them to work with our guest choreographers, who stretch their abilities and expand their experience in so many ways.
You have been Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company for the past seven years. Have you noticed any changes in audience attitudes toward contemporary dance?
I do believe that audiences for contemporary dance are growing, which is a good indication that more and more people are feeling that the art form is of interest to them. Sydney Dance Company puts a lot of effort into making our work accessible for audiences. We have a really fantastic education program, which is introducing young people around the country to contemporary dance ... In this way we are hoping to nurture a future generation of contemporary dance lovers.
What do you have in store for the rest of 2016?
We have a really exciting year ahead, with lots of touring. After the Sydney season of CounterMove we’ll be heading to Switzerland and Germany in April, performing our triple bill program Interplay at the renowned STEPS Dance Festival. Following that the Company will return to tour CounterMove to Canberra and Melbourne, whilst I stay in Europe to work with the Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company, who will be presenting Lux Tenebris in Europe in September. In October we’re presenting a double bill that I’m really excited about, called Untamed. This show will have a new work from me, alongside a work by choreographer Gabrielle Nankivell called Wildebeest.
CounterMove will run at Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay from February 26 until March 12.
WORDS Victoria Pearson
PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Greig