REVIEW | Bonachela / Nankivell / Lane

SDC Cinco
CINCO with dancers Holly Doyle, Charmene Yap, Chloe Leong, Davide Di Giovanni, Riley Fitzgerald. Photo Wendell Teodoro

Season One of Sydney Dance Company’s 50th Anniversary Program

Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, Wednesday March 27th

Reviewed by Alisha Coon

This year Sydney Dance Company (SDC) are celebrating their 50th Anniversary, and have marked their opening season for 2019 with an action-packed triple bill by choreographers Gabrielle Nankivell, Rafael Bonachela and Melanie Lane that will leave you wanting more!

NEON AETHER. Photo by Pedro Greig
NEON AETHER. Photo by Pedro Greig

Opening the show was Neon Aether, choreographed by Gabrielle Nankivell, instantly transported us to another planet. It was like time stood still. The dancers linked together, creating long tentacle arms like that of an underwater creature. Then in an instant, we were snapped out of our dreamy wonderland into sudden darkness and loud voiceovers. The contrast between these two worlds was dramatic and extremely effective.

The choreography was very diverse, ranging from fluid movement phrases to fractured, robot-like unison work. Through the mist, the articulation and sheer power of Janessa Dufty’s solo was absolutely captivating. The lighting and creative direction of the closing sequence was brilliant! The audience were left on the edge of their seats, not knowing what scene would flash before our eyes after the blackout. A very strong opening piece for Season One of SDCs 50th anniversary year.

Chloe Leoung in CINCO. Photo Wendell Teodoro
Chloe Leoung in CINCO. Photo Wendell Teodoro

In Cinco, the second work, Rafael Bonachela brought together a stunning combination of dancers, costumes, lighting and music. The choreography was a playful mix of detailed, dynamic movements and sultry, flowing phrases. The delicately draped costumes floated effortlessly with the dancer’s movements, breathing as if they had a life of their own. Without much structure in the music, the choreography followed suit, ebbing and flowing through every imagined combination of 5 dancers. The sheer brilliance of the dancers carried the piece, with Holly Doyle’s dynamic first solo being a stand-out for her gorgeous lines and virtuosity.

In trademark Bonachela style, the piece was full of beautiful lines, intricate partnering and a marathon of repeated phrases that highlighted the incredible strength and stamina of the dancers. The unison work was just AMAZING. Kudos to the rehearsal director Chris Aubrey.

As always, Bonachela has brought together a team to create an aesthetically stunning piece of dance.

The third piece, WOOF  by Melanie Lane had the dancers entering the stage like a subdued swarm of bees. What started with only the sound of a gentle buzz, slowly revealed an assembly of bodies, lycra, and black painted hands. As the dancers posed and pulsed like a slow-motion renaissance painting, the black paint started leaving handprints and smudges on their fellow dancers’ bodies.

WOOF. Photo by Pedro Greig
WOOF. Photo by Pedro Greig

The fluid group work slowly developed into head wobbling, hip popping, quirky movements. It’s like we were somehow transported into a contemporary dance rave party. The repetitive, stylistic motions were infectious and uplifting. Highlights of the piece were the 5-story human pyramid of shaking heads and the ‘models on a catwalk’ unison section was just brilliant!

If you missed WOOF at SDC’s New Breed last year, then make sure you don’t miss out this time. This delightfully quirky piece will ensure you leave the theatre with a big smile on your face.


CAST LIST  Neon Aether
Choreographer: Gabrielle Nankivell
Music: Luke Smiles
Costume: Harriet Oxley
Lighting Design: Damien Cooper
Dancers: Ariella Casu, Janessa Dufty, Dimitri Kleioris, Luke Hayward, Jesse Scales, Emily Seymour, Mia Thompson, Victor Zarallo

Holly Doyle in CINCO. Image Wendell Teodoro
Holly Doyle in CINCO. Image Wendell Teodoro

Choreography: Rafael Bonachela
Music: Alberto Ginastera – String Quartet No.2 Op.26
Costume: Bianca Spender
Lighting Design: Damien Cooper
Dancers: Davide Di Giovanni, Holly Doyle, Riley Fitzgerald, Chloe Leong, Charmene Yap

Choreography: Melanie Lane
Music: Clark
Costume: Aleisa Jelbart
Lighting Design: Verity Hampson
Dancers: Ariella Casu, Dean Elliot, Chloe Young, Janessa Dufty, Dimitri Kleioris, Jacopo Grabar, Liam Green, Luke Hayward, Emily Seymour, Jesse Scales, Mia Thompson, Victor Zarallo


SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY SEASON ONE: Bonachela / Nankivell / Lane

Holly Doyle in CINCO. Image Wendell Teodoro
WOOF. Photo Pedro Grieg

Sydney – Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay
March 27 – April 13

Canberra – Canberra Theatre
May 2 – 4

Melbourne – Arts Centre
May 9 – 11

Regional Tour – Vic, NT, SA, Tas
16 May – 17 August