Meet the NEW BREED

New Breed

Sydney Dance Company

Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed, co-presented by Carriageworks and Sydney Dance Company – with the generous support of The Balnaves Foundation, will provide emerging Australian choreographers Sophia Ndaba (NSW Central Coast), Jenni Large (Hobart), Luke Hayward (Sydney) and Charmene Yap (Sydney) with the opportunity to work with Australia’s leading contemporary dance company on a newly commissioned dance piece.  New Breed runs from 30 Nov – 17 Dec at Carriageworks.

Learn more about SDC’s New Breed artists and their works below:









About Sophia Ndaba and her New Breed work:

  • “My name is Sophia Ndaba. I am born and raised on Gadigal land and I’m half Zulu half Australian. I spent most of my years in Sydney growing up before moving to Perth where I went to Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts for three years. I moved over to Berlin on my own at a young age and I’ve been a resident of Berlin for many years, exploring my dance career in all its different avenues in Europe.”
  • “My choreographic style is influenced by so many different things in my life – I really have been influenced by hip hop plus spending so many years in the contemporary world and really drawing from that vocabulary. But when it comes to specific concepts and specific drives to make work, I like to look at what universally resonates. So, what is common in our human experience and what can I draw out that speaks to everybody?”
  • “I find that contemporary work can be so varied but I’ve always been really passionate about making work that speaks to everybody that might not necessarily mean literally the stories that we play out on stage and that the communication between bodies is literal but we can feel it. It’s a felt experience. We all have a body. We all have emotions and we all have an ability to observe and pick up on things.”
  • “My New Breed work explores the idea of a split and the liminal space created between sides. I’m interested in images of separation – the long sheets of material in my set design by Aleisa Jelbart acts as a separator and part of the spiritual journey back to oneness. In this work I aim to explore this theme through the bodies of 6 incredibly unique performers who will dance their way back to togetherness.”
  • “I moved to the Central Coast from Berlin to be with my family during lockdown. It’s a really important time to be back in Sydney for me. I spent so many years overseas in Berlin and being part of New Breed really feels like I’m being reembraced by Sydney and by my hometown and it just feels really special.”









About Jenni Large and her New Breed work:

  • “My name is Jenni Large. I’m currently based in Lutruwita, Tasmania. I’m a performer, choreographer, rehearsal director, and teacher. I studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and have worked independently and with various companies around Australia.”
  • “Some of the central themes around my work at the moment are the female experience and the female body and particularly in relationship to the impacts of capitalism and consumerism on the female experience.”
  • “I have been sourcing inspiration from vampire culture. It has led me down a path that includes the work of Mary Shelley (Author of Frankenstein and the ‘mother of horror’) and the film adaptations of Dracula over the years. I’m drawn to the drama, suspense, tension, grit, desire, sexuality, obsession and grief. For me, vampires represent vital social deviance and are a relatable embodiment of transgression. In literature and popular culture, vampires are often used as a sexual metaphor and depicted as sexually ‘overt’ and ‘deviant’. Throughout history vampires and horror characters have served as vehicles of expression for queer culture and sexual oppression. Horror exploits our primordial predisposition to fear otherness. And yet, I think the genre’s cult followings show that we identify with ‘villains’ and ‘monsters’. We’ve all felt victimized and isolated for our differences, and paradoxically, this is what connects us.”
  • “The themes and movement vocabulary of my recent works, this one included, share a distinct sexual expression and entertainment value. Maybe a rejection of post modernism, and definitely a revival of the reasons I came to dance in the first place. As a struggling teenager, dance was my vehicle for expression and quite literally, a saving grace. I wasn’t cognisant of that at the time, but now and particularly as a freelance artist, I make conscious effort to stay connected to these core values. The miraculous ever-changing body, movement, creativity, expression, collaboration and the non-linear continue to play an important role in how I process life’s challenges. There are undoubtedly parallels between why I’m obsessed with dance and why I’ve chosen to explore horror/vampires in this work. Dance is my vehicle for expression and vampires are a tool for expressing the repressed.”
  • “I want to let audiences in, live art exists because of our audiences. I hope to create work that is both entertaining and challenging, I want the viewer to feel connected and included even if they don’t fully ‘understand’. Accepting that our intellect can’t fully comprehend the experience of dance/dancing is powerful and freeing.”
  • “This is my first choreographic commission of this scale – I’m scared and thrilled! It’s an honour to be a part of New Breed 2022. I’m really ecstatic to be among such amazing other choreographers and the chance to collaborate with the incredible dancers and artists at Sydney Dance Company is going to be a thrill.”









Meet Charmene Yap:   

  • “I’m Charmene Yap. I was born in Singapore and have a Malaysian Chinese heritage but my family and I moved to Australia back in the nineteen nineties. I was a dancer and I graduated from WAPA back in 2006 and have worked with a few Australian companies like Chunky Move and Lucy Guerin but in the last decade, I was with Sydney Dance Company as a dancer. In 2019 I became the rehearsal associate of Sydney Dance Company working with the company dancers and pre-professional years.”
  • “The starting point for my New Breed work ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ came from a social experiment in the 70s by psychology and physiology researcher, Dr Alexander Schlauss, where the discovery of a particular shade of bubble-gum pink was reportedly found to have a profound temporary calming effect. In the experiment, Schlauss convinced a correctional facility in Seattle to paint their prison cells this pink tone. He observed that prisoners, after spending 15 minutes confined in these cells, seemed to be pacified and had a reduction in erratic or hostile behaviour. This bubble-gum pink phenomenon sparked a wider exploration in my work, into how we are affected by cues we don’t necessarily realise from our mental world, social world, and wider physical world. Unexpected forces within us, between us and the world around us that subliminally prime our behaviour, thoughts and emotions.”
  • “This is my second New Breed work. The first was ‘Do We’ which was a short duet choreographed for the very first New Breed season. It was 5 minutes long, simple staging and the first time I had choreographed professionally. This new work that I have choreographed for the 2022 season, is a large ensemble work about 18minutes in duration. When I was offered the to work with the company again, I couldn’t resist the chance to choreograph on as many dancers as possible. It’s a rare opportunity and one that was incredibly inspiring and challenging at the same time.”
  • “I’m a new mum returning to work, juggling family life, returning to my role as SDC’s Rehearsal Associate and choreographing this new work for New Breed. It’s been intense, exciting, exhausting, challenging and inspiring all at the same time.”









Meet Luke Hayward:

  • “My name is Luke Hayward, I was born in Alice Springs but I currently live here in Sydney. I studied and worked for several years in Europe and Russia before joining Sydney Dance Company in 2019.”
  • “For me, dance is the output of everything happening in my life and so the input is everything happening outside of the studio. So, while I’ll be working with themes of like the human condition and power while using lighting inspiration from the works of Bill Henson, I think the process will define the end result.”
  • “I’m looking forward to New Breed 2022 as it’s my debut as a choreographer here in Australia. I’m also looking forward to sharing the stage with the other artists in the evening.”
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