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REVIEW: 2019 Season Two

2019 Season Two
Review by Lara Franzi

Gracing the Roslyn Packer Theatre this past week is Bonachela and Obarzanek’s Season Two with Sydney Dance Company. In celebration of 50 years of dance in Sydney, the stage is shared by the diverse and explorative style of Rafael Bonachela’s 6 Breaths, with the embracive and inspiring Us 50 by Gideon Obarzanek. Together they work to merge a holistic experience, balanced between passion, emergence and accomplishment. 

Bonachela’s 6 Breaths takes us forward, it fills our lungs with hope as he flirts with us. Allowing us to get lost in the possibility of a romance, with gentle movements and innocent touches. It’s a piece that is divided into six sections, that each give us hope, love, betrayal, fear, pain and experience. Previously, 6 Breaths toured around Europe and New York in 2010, demonstrating the wonderful collaboration of Bonachela and Italian composer, Ezio Bosso. The music is essential to the dancing, as they complement each other to generate a more intimate connection between the dance, the music and the meaning. Bonachela creates life with this piece, following the stages of growth from our ‘First Breath’ to our ‘Last Breath’. He doesn’t hide the nature of life, instead using it to capture our emotions and to invite us to reflect upon our own stage.

6 Breaths demonstrate the subtle language of the human body, illustrating the complicated nature of relationships that start off so innocent and explorative before they are outgrown. Bonachela speaks a language through his dancers that I’m beginning to better understand. He expresses everything through the movement, through sharp jabs or elegant strokes. It paints the picture within the character’s mind, and mirrors their emotions.

Obarzanek’s Us 50 parts the stage to celebrate 50 years of dance in Sydney, reuniting ten alumni dancers to the stage. This grand display explores our universal connection, between generations, skills and styles. Embracing the evolution of dance within Sydney, drawing together a supportive environment that works together. Celebrating past, present and emerging creatives. Us 50 shares our history through the bodies of these dancers, blending abilities and energies to create this inspiring moment on stage. Sheree da Costa captures us with her elegant movements, hypnotising us, alongside Lea Francis and Kip Gamblin who bring forth an authentic and empowering performance.

It’s an incredible experience to see these dancers move across the stage, their movements practiced and engaging. Bradley Chatfield, Kathryn Dunn and Bill Pengelly explore our universal connections through their dance. Obarzanek gives freedom to these alumni dancers, as Stefan Karlsson, Nina Veretennikova, Linda Ridgway Gamblin and Wakako Kuhara (Asano) control the stage. They draw us in together with a strong sense of community, showing how real and continuingly special dance is to these individuals. As it is something powerful that remains within each of their lives.

It’s a promising year for Sydney Dance’s Season Two, with Bonachela and Obarzanek dedicating these impressive works to communicate a community on stage, both evoking passion and inspiration. I feel confident that next year will be just as exhilarating for our contemporary culture. This is a heartening celebration, of how we create memories and experience of dance. It is a compelling art form that is forever retained through its dancers.

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