2019 Season Two

Bonachela / Obarzanek
1 — 9 November 2019

“The history of the Company is in the bodies of the dancers and the memories of the audience.” – Gideon Obarzanek


Dates 1 – 9 November
Location Sydney
Duration 1hr 45mins (including interval)
Warning Performance contains theatrical haze, flashing lights, loud music and noises.

Sydney Dance Company
celebrates 50 years of defining contemporary dance with a thrilling double bill
from Rafael Bonachela and Gideon Obarzanek,
choreographers who have, in their unique ways, defined the art form and helped
take Australian dance to the world.

Bonachela and Obarzanek have joined forces to celebrate a
half-century of Sydney Dance Company dance making in an epic double bill
climaxing in Us
by Obarzanek. Set to a rhythmic electronic score by UK
musician Clark (composer
of WOOF), this “exhilarating,
heart-warming piece” (★★★★☆
Limelight) features 50 performers on stage each night; current dancers, former dancers and you, our audience.

Completing the double bill
is Bonachela’s “physically robust and emotionally delicate” (The Sydney
Morning Herald) 6 Breaths. Since it’s 2010
premiere 6
 has toured to New York, London, Barcelona and the
prestigious Movimentos Festival in Germany. A symphony of dance, music by
Italian composer Ezio Bosso and costume design by Josh Goot, this emotive work will take your
breath away.

Join Sydney Dance Company in a celebration of its past, present and future. This is an anniversary you cannot miss!

Artistic Director’s Commissioning Partner (Us 50)

We also thank the Naomi Milgrom Foundation for its support of our Us 50 Education Program, enabling young people to access outstanding contemporary dance through performances and workshops with Sydney Dance Company.

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Follow #2019SDC #SDCTurns50 @SydneyDanceCo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Dates & Locations
1 Nov (Preview)7:30pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, SydneyBuy
2 Nov (Opening Night)7:30pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, Sydney
4 Nov (Schools Matinee)12pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, Sydney
5 Nov6:30pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, SydneyBuy
6 Nov6:30pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, SydneyBuy
7 Nov7:30pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, SydneyBuy
8 Nov7:30pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, SydneyBuy
9 Nov (Matinee)2pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, SydneyBuy
9 Nov7:30pmRoslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, SydneyBuy

Times & Prices

Dates 1 – 9 November
Location Sydney
Duration 1hr 45mins (including interval)
Warning Performance contains theatrical haze, flashing lights, loud music and noises.

1 - 9 Nov, Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay Sydney

Fri 1 Nov, 7.30pm (Preview) Sat 2 Nov, 7.30pm (Opening Night) Mon 4 Nov, 12pm (Schools Matinee) Tue 5 Nov, 6.30pm Wed 6 Nov, 6.30pm Thu 7 Nov, 7.30pm Fri 8 Nov, 7.30pm Sat 9 Nov, 2pm (Matinee) Sat 9 Nov, 7.30pm

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Preview performance (Fri 1 Nov): All tickets $45*
Single standard tickets: $45 – $98*
Under 30’s (Tues - Thurs, Sat 2pm): $35*
Under 20’s (Tues - Thurs, Sat 2pm): $25*
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Behind the Scenes Events

Date & Time Saturday 9 November, 12 – 1pm
Ticket price $10

Company Class Viewing

Join us for an exclusive sneak peek into the life of a professional dancer. This is a unique opportunity to witness a behind the scenes class, which the Company take on stage, before their performance of Bonachela / Obarzanek.

6 Breaths

Choreographer: Rafael Bonachela
Composer: Ezio Bosso
Concept: Rafael Bonachela & Ezio Bosso
Video Artist: Tim Richardson
Costume Designer: Josh Goot
Lighting Designer: Benjamin Cisterne

Us 50

Choreographer: Gideon Obarzanek
Assistant Choreographer: Charmene Yap
Composer: Chris Clark
Costume Designer: Harriet Oxley
Lighting Designer: Ben Cisterne

Us 50 Alumni Dancers

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Media Reviews


“It’s not every year that a Sydney icon celebrates its golden jubilee, which is why it’s a big deal that Sydney Dance Company is turning 50.” – TimeOut Sydney

★★★★☆ “Obarzanek’s Us 50 is an exhilarating, heart-warming piece that explores the relationship between the dancers and the audience, and the joy that forms when a community gathers to share a piece of movement.” – Limelight Magazine

“The performance was exhilarating: physically robust and emotionally delicate, a rare combination.” – Sydney Morning Herald on 6 Breaths

★★★★☆ “Us 50 ends with fifty human beings front-stage ranked in rows, creating a sea of well synchronised, articulate hands, not drowning but waving, to the future. And that’s my kind of church.” – Daily Review

★★★★☆ “A heartwarming celebration of Australian dance, it’s hard not to get into the birthday spirit.” Bachtrack on Us 50

★★★★☆ “The highlight was Riley Fitzgerald and Dimitri Kleioris’s Crying Breath duo, which attained that spellbinding combination of heart-stopping athleticism and riveting emotion.” Bachtrack on 6 Breaths

“The lights were bright, but not blinding enough to obscure the very obvious existence of about 900 people with their gaze squarely on us. Still, it’s pretty hard not to grin, at least for a moment, when you’re an amateur looking out into the theatre, standing on the boards some of your favourite performers have treaded. I didn’t belong, but there was something of a thrill to being so boldly, although apologetically, out of place… There was no rush of endorphins, only a welling of appreciation, that they would let a total beginner take a punt at this, but mostly that they would do so with such care and generosity.” – The Music on Us 50


“A revival of Rafael Bonachela’s 6 Breaths was danced thrillingly.” – The Australian


“Gideon Obarzanek’s Us 50, choreographed for Sydney Dance Company’s 50th anniversary program, blissfully returns to the stage some of SDC’s most memorable artists… The piece looks deceptively simple but ebbs and flows to Chris Clark’s propulsive score with a great deal of subtlety and a deep vein of emotion… utter bliss.” – The Australian


Cheat Sheet

5 reasons why you can’t miss our 50th Anniversary Double Bill

1. DON’T GET FOMO: It’s our birthday and we want to celebrate with you – our audience!

2. PERFORM ON STAGE WITH US: 25 audience members each night will join
the Company on stage. You’ll have ear pieces for directions and Company dancers
will guide you. Dance experience not required.

3. WITNESS HISTORY ON STAGE: Alumni dancers from the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s are gracing our stage – witness their historical encore performance after leading stellar dance careers!

4. I SAW IT FIRST: Be the first to see world premiere of Us 50, an epic work of 50 performers on
stage, including past and present Company Dancers as well as members of our

5. WORLD CLASS COLLABORATIONS: Our collaborations are with highly
acclaimed creatives, including Italian composer Ezio Bosso the current
Conductor of Verona di Opera, Australian fashion icon Josh Goot and UK
electronic musician Clark.

Rafael Bonachela, 6 Breaths
“The very act of breathing is fundamental to life and as Ezio’s music and the choreography evolved together, our collective creativity was synchronised.”

Rafael Bonachela is originally from Barcelona. This year marks his 10th year as Artistic Director and resident choreographer at Sydney Dance Company. Since 2009, he has created 14 works for the Company’s repertoire. Read more.

WATCH: Rafael Bonachela's 6 Breaths in rehearsal.

Fun Fact:
The work is divided into 6 movements and represents the cycle of life, from the first breath to the last.

Gideon Obarzanek, Us 50
“For an institution whose most powerful legacy is ephemeral, its history is not only passed on through the bodies of the dancers but is also accumulated in the memories of its audience.” – Obarzanek

Gideon Obarzanek is a director, choreographer and performing arts curator. He is currently Co-Artistic Director & Co-CEO of the new Melbourne Festival. Gideon founded dance company Chunky Move in 1995 and was CEO and Artistic Director until 2012. In 2013 Gideon was a resident artist at the Sydney Theatre Company where he wrote and directed his first play I Want to Dance Better at Parties. Read more.

WATCH: Our three-part trailer for Us 50 rehearsals with our 10 alumni

Fun Fact: Gideon was also a dance with the Company from 1989 - 1992.

Ezio Bosso, 6 Breaths
“I have synaesthesia and all my music comes from that point. Images, situations which fit my memory and the cells of the music start to create my scores.”

For 6 Breaths, Ezio hand selected an ensemble of 6 cellists and a pianist from the top orchestras in London. Each of the cellos represented breathing lungs, swelling and contracting with life.

Ezio Bosso has led an internationally acclaimed musical career as a composer, performer, and conductor. In August this year he became the Conductor for the prestigious Arena di Verona, the largest outdoor concert venue in the world.

Fun fact: The classical composition was recorded in the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London in 2010.

Clark, Us 50
“Working with Gideon on Us 50 allowed me to think about music and dance as a relationship that speaks to time unfolding through generations of bodies… The music feels like a hall of mirrors, reflecting and distorting the rituals and ruptures that ripple through a community.”

Chris Clark has worked with music and sound for 16 years. Signed at an early age to the British indie label Warp Records, he has released ten albums as well as a multitude of EPs and singles. His last studio album, Kiri Variations was released in July this year. Clark also composed the electrifying score for Melanie Lane’s WOOF as part of our Season One triple bill in March.

WATCH: Clark’s live show for his album Death Peak, featuring choreography from Melanie Lane.

LISTEN: Clark shares his favourite tunes on Spotify in our latest blog post.

Fun Fact:
Melanie Lane, Clark's wife, is a choreographer and performer and choreographs his live shows. He has also scored four of her contemporary dance works.

6 Breaths
The set design was created nine years ago by notable Australian digital artist Tim Richardson. Inspired by the old testament quote , ‘… and the Lord formed Man out of the dust in the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Man became a living soul’, he interpreted something so ancient into creating a 3D scan of two of the dancers at that time, Richard Cilli and Annabel Knight. That was then digitalised and used in the film to create imagery where particles of dust, swirl and manifest into the forms of humans, creating the larger than life digital installation back drop for the stage.

Us 50
Gideon Obarzanek’s choreography will see each Company dancer move to mirror an alumni dancer, this emulation of movement represents the oral tradition of story-telling, transmitting from one generation to the next, but in the form of movement.
Their performative movements are enhanced by the decadent shine and sparkle of Harriet Oxley’s luxe-textured costumes, that serve to make the dancers’ bodies resonate in the brightly lit, white stage floor and backdrop.
Her deliberate choice in costume colours reflect the spectrum of age and stages of life in the group – current company dancers wear softer pastels and jewel-like hues, while alumni dancers wear shades of blood red and maroon to personify the DNA and lifeblood that has coursed through the Company’s last 50 years.
25 Audience members will then join them on stage interweaving through the rich colours of the dancers to continue this transmission of movement, and gently led by Company dancers to mirror their moves gliding across the stage in rhythmic unison.

“It’s so exciting to perform Rafael Bonachela’s work and to perform the new creations of guest artists. I definitely feel like it’s a Company where the dancers constantly grow and it’s what excites me about the year.” – Company dancer Luke Hayward

There are 17 full time dancers in Sydney Dance Company including one Trainee. All dancers rehearse five days a week (six when required), commencing with a ballet or contemporary technique class at 9.30am, then rehearsals until 6pm. Rehearsals range from run-throughs of current repertoire to creating new work for upcoming seasons.

Many dancers also undertake additional training of their choice, such as cycling, swimming or cross training. Contemporary dancers often perform in bare feet or socks dyed to their skin tone, although you may see them wearing different footwear in some pieces. The dancers also see the Company physiotherapist a few times a week for tailored pre-hab sessions.

READ: Find out more about the six new dancers who joined the Company this year.

The term ‘choreography’ refers to a sequence of steps that become phrases and make up a dance piece. Like actors remembering their lines, dancers learn and remember these movement phrases during rehearsals so that they can perform them perfectly on stage. To enable future casts to perform the piece, companies use a number of archival methods, including video-recording, passing it on from human to human (bringing back an original cast dancer to teach a new dancer), and taking notes that describe the intangible parts of the work, for example, ‘how it feels’. There is also choreology – various styles of dance notation which use visual symbols to represent an order of movement.

Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay is located at 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. It is one of a number of industrial, heritage buildings converted into arts spaces along Sydney’s Harbour. Situated on the site of two old Bond Stores from the 1890s, the theatre took three years to build, opening in 2004. From the beautiful bare brick walls to intact warehouse machinery, the rugged sandstone wall in the scene dock to wooden panels in the foyers made from timber salvaged from building demolished during the Walsh Bay development, the building speaks of its past. The total capacity for each performance of Bonachela / Obarzanek is 845, including the stalls and dress circle.

A contemporary dance crowd is diverse. Anything from what you’d wear to see a band, through to smart casual or formal, is appropriate.

The Walsh Bay area has many restaurants and bars with stunning harbour views, where you can enjoy a meal and a drink before or after the show.

Venues include: Ventuno, Walsh Bay Kitchen and Lotus Dumpling Bar.

Find out more:
Watch our trailer and behind the scenes videos.
Read our Q&As with choreographer Gideon Obarzanek and Rafael Bonachela.
Read Clark’s latest blog about composing for Us 50 and listen to his musical favourites on our Spotify playlist.

Featuring works

6 Breaths


Rafael Bonachela


40 mins

First performed


Since the 2010 premiere of Rafael Bonachela’s award-winning 6 Breaths the work has toured to New York, London, Barcelona, the Venice Biennale in Italy and the prestigious Movimentos Festival in Germany. A symphony of dance, music by Italian composer Ezio Bosso and costume design by Josh Goot, this emotive work will take your breath away.

Us 50


Gideon Obarzanek


40 mins

First performed


Us 50 is a grand-scale work by Gideon Obarzanek featuring 50 performers made up of past dancers that have graced our stage, current Company dancers, and members of our community.