Sydney Dance Company recently performed three works – Rafael Bonachela’s Lux Tenebris, Cheng Tsung-lung’s Full Moon and Gabrielle Nankivell’s Wildebeest – at the historic Théâtre National de Chaillot.
While on tour in Paris, between travel, rehearsals and performing, Company dancer Chloe Leong kept a tour diary for Audrey Journal.
Paris, April 11, 2018
The cobbled pavements are wet, the sky is dark and moody and yet, there is something truely magical and romantic in the air, we are definitely in Paris.
The day after we arrived, we had a full day of rehearsals in preparation for the big week ahead and come Wednesday, it was opening night.
Nestled next to the Place de Trocadero and overlooking the Eiffel Tower, sits the Théâtre National de Chaillot. Its facade is all romanticism and grandeur. Inside it is surprising minimal, almost industrial.
Faces are made, hair is done, bodies are limbered and there is a strong feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air amongst the dancers before the first curtain goes up.
Two and a half hours later, the curtain closes and the outer bodily sensation; a mixture of exhaustion and the audience’s overwhelming warm applause lingers. It has always been one of the reason why I love performing, I have never found anything outside of dancing that can replicate that feeling.
It’s safe to say that opening night was an absolute success, one that I think a lot of the dancers, myself included, will never forget.
Paris, April 13, 2018
Performing internationally with Sydney Dance Company is something I am really grateful for. I get a lot of people saying to me: “To perform and see the world at the same time, you’re so lucky!” And they’re absolutely correct!
However, it isn’t all glamorous and it can be a lot of hard work the majority of the time. As a company of 16, we live in each other’s pockets day in, day out. And our schedule is usually so full, that when you do get a chance to breathe and enjoy the city you’re in, you’d much rather do it in the comfort of your hotel room watching trashy TV in foreign languages. Guilty!
Fortunately for me this was my third time in Paris, so I felt no pressure to cram in all the things the guide books tell you to do or see, or feel guilty for sleeping in and missing buffet breakfast. This time I felt like I was able to enjoy getting lost in the streets of Paris whilst causing some serious damage to my bank account (when in Paris, right!?).
My family were also in Paris to see the company perform, as well as some dear old friends that I had not seen for years, since living in London. So a lot of my day was spent tucked into cosy corners of bistros and bars (yes, there was a lot of eating involved) reminiscing about the past while simultaneously making new memories.
From those beautiful rooftops to the beautiful moments shared with loved ones, it really is the city of love.
Paris, April 14, 2018
As the final curtain falls, so too comes the end of our time in Paris.
There was a huge sense of elation amongst the dancers. To perform a triple bill three nights in a row is a physical and mental challenge but one that was instantaneously rewarded by the love and appreciation we received from the audiences each night.
It is an amazing thing to experience first hand the extent to which dance can be a universal language, something that anybody of any cultural background can enjoy and can connect to in their own individual way is another reason why I love performing and the arts in general.
I also must mention that I work with such an amazing group of people, those that I share the stage with and those that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make experiences like those that I have shared of my time in Paris possible.
Looking back over the past week, I can easily say that Paris is now one of my favourite cities to perform in.
From performing at the prestigious Théâtre National de Chaillot, the generosity and warmth of the audiences each night, to having the privilege of attending the Australian ambassador’s residence as an acknowledgement and thank you to Sydney Dance Company.
From unbuckling my belt one too many times (thanks to my staple diet of croissants and cheese), to taking at least 100 photos of the Eiffel Tower from every angle imaginable and to sharing all these precious memories with friends and family. I’m genuinely sad to bid adieu to Paris.