Ce site Web a des limites de navigation. Il est recommandé d'utiliser un navigateur comme Edge, Chrome, Safari ou Firefox.

New Breed

New Breed” is the brain child of Sydney Dance Company's artistic director Rafael Bonachela. Now in its second year, the “New Breed” programme gives four up-and-coming choreographers the opportunity to create works on the dancers of the Sydney Dance Company. For these chosen four, “New Breed”provides a springboard to transition from dancer to choreographer. The initiative comes with all the creative support and infrastructure of the Sydney Dance Company—the choreographers have access to dancers, studios, costume and lighting design, and all four works premiere at Sydney’s Carriageworks theatre. The concept is beautifully simple, but still astonishingly rare in performing arts.

Performance

Sydney Dance Company: “New Breed”

Place

Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, December 8-13, 2015

Words

Claudia Lawson

Richard Cilli in Kristina Chan's “Conform.” Photograph by Peter Greig

subscribe to the latest in dance


“Uncommonly intelligent, substantial coverage.”

  • Weekly articles from the world of dance
  • Wide diversity of reviews, interviews, articles & more
  • Support for quality art journalism

Already a paid subscriber? Login

This year, Bonachela, together with Carriageworks’ associate director of programming, Lisa Ffrench, selected Kristina Chan, Daniel Riley, Bernhard Knauer and Fiona Jopp as their four. Chan, an award-winning dancer, has several choreographic credits to her name; Riley, a former dancer with Bangarra Dance Theatre (he rejoined for the anniversary tour this year) and Ireland's Fabulous Beast, has created several works for Bangarra. Knauer and Jopp are both dancers with Sydney Dance Company, and are making their choreographic debuts at “New Breed.”

Bernhard Knauer’s “Derived,” for two men and two women, is choreographed to a sombre string score composed by Knauer’s father, Jürgen Knauer. Choreographically, the work reflects his Sydney Dance Company training; it has no narrative and the four dancers are clad in simple, revealing costumes. Full of clever interactions and movement, the piece explores duos, trips and quartets. It is only eight minutes in length, but together with the fabulous lighting from Matthew Marshall, it is both a wonderful choreographic debut and introduction to the evening.

The standout piece of the evening was Kristina Chan’s “Conform.” The work explores what it is to be a man in modern Western society. From a female choreographer, it is an interesting exploration. From the outset the work is intriguing, confronting and ultimately powerful. With Sydney Dance Company’s eight male dancers performing the piece, we watch as the work explores pack mentality, conformity, self-expression and the individual. It is perhaps the most innovative contemporary dance piece I have seen in Australia this year. The highlight is a replacement scene, where each male dancer replaces another, each dancer rolling seamlessly off the stage, their replacement illuminated in a spotlight. It is intensely captivating but also offers moments of reflection. Contemporary choreography in Australia is in good hands, Chan is a rising star.

After interval we return for “So Much, Doesn’t Matter” by Fiona Jopp. With a talking antelope of sorts opening the work, it is the most eccentric piece of the programme. The work explores the well-known tune “Greensleeves,” while looking at temptation, desire and unity. It is peculiar in its composition, and arguably attempts to combine too many unrelated themes. Still, it brings a light heartedness to the evening, and choreographically it is intriguing. Juliette Barton ensconced in a glorious dancer-created skirt is a hightlight, as is Alana Sargent who brings a technically addictive performance.

In contrast to Kristina Chan’s work, “Reign,” by Daniel Riley is danced by Sydney Dance Company's eight female dancers. The work explores how women of history have found themselves undermined by other women. The choreography is powerful and clever and showcases the dancers' skills. The use of a mound of dirt laid on an otherwise bare stage hinting at material possession and power is both expressive and poignant. Riley takes advantage of his Bangarra training, incorporating courageous and interpretive movement; the outcome is a bold finale piece.

For all four choreographers,“New Breed” has allowed a platform for exploration and opportunity. Despite differing levels of success, the works are all innovative, full of risk and wonderfully executed. The power and possibility of “New Breed” shouldn’t be underestimated. It is a credit to the Sydney Dance Company and Carriageworks, and sets the scene for an exciting future of contemporary dance in Australia.

Claudia Lawson


Claudia Lawson is a dance critic based in Sydney, Australia, writing regularly for ABC Radio National, ABC Arts, and Fjord Review. After graduating with degrees in Law and Forensic Science, Claudia worked as a media lawyer for the ABC, FOXTEL and the BBC in London, where she also co-founded Street Sessions dance company. Returning to Sydney, Claudia studied medicine and now works as a doctor. She is the host of the award-winning Talking Pointes Podcast.

comments

Featured

So Far So Good
REVIEWS | Faye Arthurs

So Far So Good

The School of American Ballet is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. So is George Balanchine’s iconic “Serenade”—the first piece he made in America in 1934, choreographed on students from his brand-new academy.

Plus
Sound Effect
REVIEWS | Rachel Howard

Sound Effect

Sometimes there’s not much you’re able to say analytically about a dance work, and yet you know you’ve just witnessed a blood-guts-and-soul offering from an artist of the keenest kinaesthetic intelligence. Such was the case with gizeh muñiz vengel’s “auiga,” second on a double bill finale for the ARC Edge residency at San Francisco’s CounterPulse.

Plus
Hope is Action
REVIEWS | Gracia Haby

Hope is Action

The Australian Museum Mammalogy Collection holds ten specimens of the Bramble Cay Melomys collected from 1922–24, when they were in abundance. One hundred years later, a familiar photo of a wide-eyed, mosaic-tailed Melomys, the first native mammal to become extinct due to the impacts of climate change, greets me as I enter the Arts House foyer.

FREE ARTICLE
Common Language
INTERVIEWS | Candice Thompson

Common Language

Pre-pandemic, queerness and ballet were two terms not often put together. So, when choreographer Adriana Pierce started bringing a community of queer-identifying people together on Zoom—cis women, trans people of all genders, and nonbinary dancers—it felt like a watershed moment for many of them. 

FREE ARTICLE
Good Subscription Agency