THOUGHTS ON WE UNFOLDReview by Jill Sykes from SMH
AHEAD of its premiere, Rafael Bonachela talked about his first work for the Sydney Dance Company as its artistic director in terms of a flower unfolding and blossoming – of the dancers unfolding in their trust of each other and the blossoming of a new incarnation of the company.
In a program note he writes: “I wanted to create a piece about our needs and desires to slowly unfold, revealing ourselves to those around us … we unfold is collective discovery, a self-examination of our emotional cores.”
But where words might suggest a work of sensitive development, the performance is something else. we unfold turns out to be a barrage of sound, movement and visual effects that plough relentlessly over audience sensibilities for a crowded hour, minus a few minutes.
The dancers are terrific, powering their way through choreography that pulls them in a dozen directions at once, very fast. It is exciting to watch – for a while. Then too much of the same speed and intensity – admirable as they are – dulls the effect. Where is the light and shade that shapes theatricality? Refreshes the senses? It may be that the dancers, working in collaboration with Bonachela to create the piece, found themselves collectively to be a group of extremely fraught souls. There is an air of angst about their moves, characterised by short, sharp, repetitious actions and a jagged hiccup in the continuity of a phrase.
Among the high quality of performances, there are some standouts, both for the material they have to work on and the manner in which they do so. Juliette Barton sets a high benchmark with her solo, followed by Amy Hollingsworth. Later they join Richard Cilli and Paul Zivkovich, and Adam Blanch, who has a featured solo that makes much of his flexibility.
The impact of being bludgeoned comes overwhelmingly from the music.
It is a symphony written by Italian composer Ezio Bosso, with a fifth movement added for the occasion. It was recorded by the Orchestra Filarmonica 900 of the Teatro Regio, Turin, and its booming electronic presence must be different from the live sound in a concert hall for which it was presumably written.
Daniel Askill’s video backdrops range from a scarily exploding universe to giant human figures burning and drowning in the slow-moving dramatic manner of Bill Viola. They are so powerful in their stillness that they could easily take over from the dance – if you let them.
Location: Sydney Theatre
Address: 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney
Date: 31 March 2009 to 11 April 2009
Phone: Bookings(02) 9250 1999
Online: Bookings
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Review by Jill Sykes from SMH