#24: Jennifer Irwin on the joys of touring


26 July 2019

Jennifer Irwin’s many costume designs for Sydney Dance Company during the directorship of Graeme Murphy form a vast collection of wearable art. She has adorned the dancers in her designs for 36 different works, including Vast, Kraanerg, Soft bruising, Synergy and synergy, Shining, Sensing, Protected Veil, Fornicon, Berlin, and Shades of Gray.

‘Berlin’ (2007)

Her designs speak to the spirit of each work and the individuality of each dancer.

“My first professional job was with Sydney Dance Company,” says Irwin. “It was where I learnt my trade from the ground up: washing, ironing, mending, making, packing and unpacking. Forty years later, I’m still working in it. Most people who came through Sydney Dance Company have achieved enormous things: Richard Tognetti, Carl Vine, Gideon Obarzanek, Stephen Page: everyone from dancers to teachers to choreographers.”

‘After Venice’ (1986)

“There are hundreds of memories, but I did 16 years of touring with Sydney Dance Company when I ran the wardrobe department, and the experience of travelling is unmatchable. We did an open air performance of After Venice in Spoleto, Italy, which was absolutely spectacular.”

We toured from Istanbul to New York, did shows at Covent Garden to standing ovations, and performed in a theatre under the Parthenon in Greece. Sydney Dance Company were also one of the first companies to go to China, just after it opened its borders in the early 1980s, which was such a different universe. Exploring the world as a company, as a family, was brilliant.”

‘Spoleto Festival’ (1986)

Follow #SDC50Years on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to revisit some of our highlights and greatest moments of dance over the past 50 years and share your favourite memories of Sydney Dance Company using #SDC50Years.

Related Articles