Sydney Dance Company has served up a superb double bill. Act I is Raw Models, a commissioned work by choreographer, Jacopo Godani. The piece opens with the dancers sprawled centre stage within the confines of what looks like a box. The curtains are arranged in such a way that it appears there are no wings so the material creates a box shape – a sense of claustrophobia looms.
Choreographically, the dancers seem to conceive their movements from their torsos as if this is where the movement starts and the result is that their limbs then move as a result of their body rolling and pulsing. Their limbs become flicky and floppy as the movement is coming from a central source. All the dancers are dressed in tight, black non-descript costumes and look very similar and very androgynous.
Godani has the dancers perform solo, duo, trio and as a group of seven. Between each ‘scene’ there is often quite a harsh lighting change to enhance the following dance segment.
This whole work is intense with deep movements into the ground and lots of floor work. The bodies are like liquid – almost like oil. They wrap around each other, smoothly envelope the space and coil like snakes trying to get out of their own skin.
Raw Models is accompanied by an edgy musical score by German composers 48Nord. As described in the program they deliver ‘experimental electro acoustic music.’ It is very cool and complements the haunting mood of the dance work.
Act II is an amazing work by Rafael Bonachela. LandForms, encompasses the spirit of dance accompanied by outstanding musicians and the beauty of song. Bonachela says this piece was ‘inspired by our emotional responses to the landscape and set to a score inspired by the weather elements.’
The dancers bask in warm, golden tones of lighting which provides a richness and divinity to the overall look. The musicians headed up by pianist Ezio Bosso and accompanied by a cellist and violinist are just so good you actually find yourself watching them almost as much as the dancers! The music builds and the players have such passion, it’s truly sensational. The dancers and the musicians work so well together it’s as if the dancers are like instruments too or the musicians are part of the dance – they’re so in sync and you can sense an energy or a chemistry coming from all artists.
The choreography is earthy, open, fluid and grand. There are some beautiful highlights including one section, which is visually very effective. Squares of light beam onto the stage, creating a checkerboard or tile effect and the dancers move in the squares.
Once Katie Noonan starts singing you’re really drawn to watch her. Her voice is truly mesmerising – the timbre of her voice is so haunting, almost spiritual – it takes you to another realm.
LandForms all weaves together at the end – dancers, musicians, Noonan’s voice and then! – it starts to rain onstage – such a picturesque moment. This is an extraordinary collaborative piece where the synergistic blending of dance, song and music create something above and beyond the elements that create it. Bonachela should be grandly commended for this stand-out work.
Emma Bell is a writer, reviewer and interviewer and can be found at