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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Interplay – Sydney Dance Company

The Sydney Dance Company erupts into its 45th year with a triple bill as spectacular as it is diverse.
By Sarah Lux-Lee
March 09, 2014
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Interplay – Sydney Dance Company

The Sydney Dance Company erupts into its 45th year with a triple bill as spectacular as it is diverse.
By Sarah Lux-Lee
March 09, 2014
  shares
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It is with a triple bill as spectacular as it is diverse that the Sydney Dance Company erupts into its 45th year.

Interplay opens with the measured elegance of 2 in D Minor, an exquisite physical imagining of Bach's solos for the violin, before exploding into the formidable visceral chaos of Raw Models. Utilising the entire company, L'Chaim rounds out the evening with a colourful comment on the life and art of the modern dancer.

Artistic director Rafael Bonachela's own choreography in 2 in D Minor lends a stunning physicality to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Prodigious violinist Veronique Serret gives voice to Bach's extraordinary Partita 2 in D Minor, while the soloists, duos and trios of dancers around her lend it a compelling physical form. The staging is simple and powerful. Fluorescent white light cuts through an oppressive darkness, while dancers dressed in homogeneous black suits evoke the anonymity and uniformity of the urban worker.

Bonachela plays poetically with the fluctuating relationship between music and dance.  Weaving agonisingly beautiful solos, Veronique is alternately obeyed, feared and ignored by the dancers: is she directing or describing them with her music? Electronic interludes by composer Nick Wales expose the harsher undercurrents of Bach's masterpiece and of the dancers themselves, whose movements become raw and animalistic without losing any of their grace.

With the commencement of Raw Models, the animal within the dancer finally takes over. A reimagining of Jacopo Godani's well-received 2011 work, Raw Models fuses a bold, industrial electro-acoustic score with Godani's intensely primal choreography to create a stark portrait of "how weak, fragile, empty and programmable we are". Raw Models allows just enough softness into its dissonant landscape to underscore the humanity of its powerful contortionists bathed in alien green light. Godani's masterful, futuristic creation is an unnerving expression of the battle between who we are and who everybody else expects us to be.

Finally, Gideon Obarzanek's L'Chaim is a kaleidoscope of colour and symmetry.  Based on the Socratic notion that "an unexamined life is not worth living", L'Chaim exposes its dancers to the questioning of an initially unidentified voice in the audience. Is it a casting agent? A choreographer? Or is it you, interrogating the dancers to find the meaning that their movement holds in your own life? 

David Woods' comedic script is fresh and fun and will have you laughing out loud but also makes a darker comment on the dancer as a replaceable commodity. This is thrown into starkest relief with the question to the eldest member of the cast, David Mack at 32: "How long do you have left, David?"

Accessible, provocative and entertaining from start to finish, Interplay's triumphant triple bill will delight contemporary dance connoisseurs and newbies alike, and makes clear why the Sydney Dance Company remains Australia's darling after 45 jam-packed years in the business.

$30 Under 30 tickets are available Tuesday - Thursday.

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