Engage: 50 Years, 50 Memories

edgeing 1992

#17: Edgeing (1992)

06 June 2019

Rollerblading fanatic and celebrated Sydney Dance Company alumni Paul Mercurio remembers the creation of his 1992 work Edgeing. “I used to ice skate a bit. I loved the fact that on ice you can just push off and glide for so long, how effortless it… Read more

After Venice

#16: After Venice (1984)

30 May 2019

1984’s After Venice was a definitive work for Sydney Dance Company. Inspired by Thomas Mann’s novella Death In Venice, artistic director and choreographer Graeme Murphy brought together an enviable team, including costume and set designer Kristian Fredrikson, legendary dancer Garth Welch and up-and-comer Paul Mercurio.… Read more

Photo by Branco Gaica

#15: New York City debut a triumph (1981)

23 May 2019

In the five years since Graeme Murphy was appointed head of the Company, Sydney Dance Company forged its reputation as one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies and became recognised on the world stage. Known for its risk-taking repertoire, the Company made its American debut… Read more

Photo by Jeff Busby

#14: Grand (2005)

16 May 2019

Photographer Jeff Busby reflects on the genius Graeme Murphy, the costumes for Grand (designed by Akira Isogawa), and the two decades he spent capturing Sydney Dance Company. “I was engaged to shoot Sydney Dance Company in black and white, while photographer Branco Gaica would shoot in colour.… Read more


#13: Composer Carl Vine on ‘Poppy’ (1978)

01 May 2019

“It’s tempting to compare Sydney in 1978 with Paris in 1915, but apart from Jean Cocteau being the focus of our Poppy there are few parallels. We had no Sergei Diaghilev, Graeme Murphy was too self-aware to pose as Nijinsky and I was no Stravinsky.… Read more

Ross Philip, Sheree Da Costa, Janet Vernon, Graeme Murphy. Sheherezade. 1979. Photo Branco Gaica_v3

#12: Shéhérazade (1979)

24 April 2019

Jill Sykes AM, dance critic for The Sydney Morning Herald, reflects on Shéhérazade. “Is it possible to pluck out a single outstanding memory from three decades of Graeme Murphy’s creativity with the Sydney Dance Company? Perhaps. And partly because of Branco Gaica’s iconic photograph from 1979 which… Read more

Paul Mecurio

#11: Cafe, Paul Mercurio (1989)

18 April 2019

Paul Mercurio joined Sydney Dance Company in 1982 and was with the company for ten years before his career hit stratospheric heights with his star turn in Strictly Ballroom. He reflects on the 1989 work Café, which he created with Kim Walker. Lea Francis, Kim… Read more

Deadly Sins

#10: Kinselas Nightclub (1983)

11 April 2019

In 1983, Sydney Dance Company staged its Flashbacks season in an unlikely venue: Kinselas nightclub in Darlinghurst. The building has a storied past: in 1932 undertaker Charles Kinsela had commissioned young architect Chares Delit to convert it into a funeral home, replete with a chapel… Read more


#9: Sydney Dance Company and Akira Isogawa (1998)

04 April 2019

1998 saw Graeme Murphy collaborate with fashion designer Akira Isogawa for the first time, sparking a long collaborative partnership that has resulted in some of the most beautiful costumes ever created for dance. The work was Salome, an intense and intoxicating retelling of the biblical… Read more

1989_On Tour

#8: 18 weeks, 93 shows (1970)

28 March 2019

Australian dancers are known as some of the hardest working in the world, due in no small part to the sheer exertion required to tour our vast continent. Dipping into a typical Sydney Dance touring schedule from 1970 reveals legions about the company’s grit, attack… Read more