29 April – 27 May
Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra

Be captured by the extraordinary lunar mystery Orb – a world premiere featuring the latest creation from Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela, and the Company’s first ever collaboration with a Taiwanese choreographer, Cheng Tsung-lung.

Bonachela’s Ocho, meaning eight in Spanishmarks his eighth year with the Company and showcases eight virtuosic dancers. Fusing an industrial dreamscape with a surging electronic score by Nick Wales featuring haunting vocals by Aboriginal singer Rrawun Maymuru of the Mangalili clan, Ocho explores the infinite connections that exist between us all.

Full Moon by Cheng Tsung-lung, the Artistic Director of Taiwan’s phenomenal Cloud Gate 2, completes the double bill. This striking new piece harnesses the power of the moon and the mythology and poetry of mankind to thrill the audience.

“Living in our modern world, the vibrant city lights have endlessly fascinated me and occupied the interspaces of my sight and feelings at night. On the contrary, the moon, nature’s symbolic beauty of night, shines light into my eyes and helps me uncover the mysteries of the unconscious world which I do not know, yet I feel exist.” (Cheng Tsung-lung)


Save 15% on tickets to Orb and 2 One Another and receive a range of benefits including free ticket exchanges and discounts at Sydney Festival, Dinosaur Designs, STC, MCA, Dendy Cinemas, ACO, Wilson Parking and more. Read full benefits here.

Read the Orb program, watch behind-the-scenes videos, and follow #SDCOrb on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Return to homepage Return to 2017 Season


舞蹈「大明」由台湾云门2舞蹈团(Cloud Gate 2)艺术总监郑宗龙编导,其在作品中对月之能量、月之神话及诗词进行了融汇糅合,给人带来耳目一新的感觉。


“OCHO”在西班牙语中,意为“八”,标志着拉斐尔·伯纳切拉与悉尼舞蹈团一起走过的第八个年头,也象征了「OCHO」中充满灵性的八位舞者。搭配知名音乐人尼克·威尔斯(Nick Wales)的迷幻电子乐以及曼加利利部落的原住民歌手卢恩·梅姆鲁(Rrawun Maymuru)的绕梁嗓音,「OCHO」所探索的是连接人与人的无限可能。


29 April – 13 May
Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay, Sydney
Subscriptions from $102

Saturday 29 April, 8pm (Preview)
Monday 1 May, 8pm (Opening Night)
Tuesday 2 May, 6:30pm
Wednesday 3 May, 8pm
Thursday 4 May, 8pm
Friday 5 May, 8pm
Saturday 6 May, 8pm
Tuesday 9 May, 6:30pm
Wednesday 10 May, 8pm
Thursday 11 May, 8pm
Friday 12 May, 12pm (School Matinee)
Friday 12 May, 8pm
Saturday 13 May, 2pm
Saturday 13 May, 8pm


17 – 20 May
Art Centre Melbourne, Melbourne

Wednesday 17 May, 7.30pm (Opening Night)
Thursday 18 May, 7.30pm
Friday 19 May, 12pm (School Matinee)
Friday 19 May, 7.30pm
Saturday 20 May, 2pm
Saturday 20 May, 7.30pm


25 – 27 May
Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra

Thursday 25 May, 7.30pm (Free Pre-Show Artist Talk @ 6.30pm & Opening Night)
Friday 26 May, 12pm (School Matinee)
Friday 26 May, 7.30pm
Saturday 27 May, 7.30pm


Duration: 109 mins including a 30 min interval

Choreographer Rafael Bonachela
Composer Nick Wales
Lighting Damien Cooper
Costumes and sets David Fleischer

Full Moon
Choreographer Cheng Tsung-lung
Composer Lim Giong
Lighting Damien Cooper
Costumes Fan Huaichih



Despite being one of the youngest art forms, contemporary dance is perhaps the most primal and physical. Less emphasis is placed on narrative structure – contemporary dance engages you on an emotional level. The audience response to a performance is part of the work. Without leaving your seat, you are a collaborator.

Contemporary dance is open to your own personal interpretation – you can view it in the same way you experience art and ask yourself how it makes you feel. Read our ‘Collaborators Guide to Contemporary Dance’ here.

The performance of Orb lasts for 109 minutes with a 30-minute interval, and will leave you inspired and energised.



Orb is a double bill that launches Sydney Dance Company’s 2017 season. There are two separate pieces being performed as part of the double bill – Cheng Tsung-lung’s Full Moon followed by Rafael Bonachela’s Ocho. Both pieces are world premieres.

Inspired by the moon, Full Moon uses characters from Chinese and Taiwanese stories, such as the rabbit in the moon, to explore the realms of the surreal and the unconscious. This is Sydney Dance Company’s first ever collaboration with a Taiwanese choreographer. 

Ocho, meaning eight in Spanish, marks Bonachela’s eighth year as Artistic Director of the Company, and features just eight dancers rather than the entire ensemble of 16.

Fun Fact: In Full Moon, all the dancers portray gods with different roles and purposes on the stage. These include the Female Warrior, Golden Goddess, Witch and Noble Teacher.  Find out about them all here.

Watch: A highlight video of Full Moon



Cheng Tsung-lung, Full Moon

“I often have a feeling tingling deep in my heart, difficult to express it in words. I hope to convey this feeling through dance, through the myth and the moon . . . The pursuit of having the understanding of the full moon at all times.”

Cheng Tsung-lung is the Artistic Director of Taiwan’s phenomenal Cloud Gate 2, the sister company of the renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. In 2012, Tsung-lung won the most prestigious arts prize in Taiwan, the Taishin Arts Award, and received a Performing Arts Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council. He has choreographed and re-staged works for Transitions Dance Company in London, Expressions Dance Company in Brisbane and Focus Dance Company in Taiwan. 

Fun Fact: Tsung-lung’s family owns a slipper factory. Hawking slippers on the sidewalk was part of his childhood and adolescent life. The dynamics of street life and pedestrians’ behaviour later became the inspiration for his choreography. 

Rafael Bonachela, Ocho

“I was interested in exploring the virtuosity of the solo performer and working closely with each dancer and their uniqueness. As a choreographer, I am often drawn to the physical contact between dancers, but for Ocho, I set myself the task of holding back on that physical contact and allowing the individual dancers to explore their physical personality among the group, leading up to an eventual connection.”

Rafael Bonachela is originally from Barcelona and has been the Artistic Director for Sydney Dance Company since 2009. His internationally recognised talent has seen him work not only with contemporary dance at the highest level but also with artists from popular culture, such as Kylie Minogue, Tina Turner, Sarah Blasko and Katie Noonan, as well as leading fashion designers Dion Lee and Toni Maticevski.

Fun Fact: Rafael attended the nude audience night for his most recent piece Nude Live at The Art Gallery of NSW as part of Sydney Festival in January this year. That’s right, he went in the nude! 

Watch: Interview with Raf



Nick Wales, Ocho

“I was particularly drawn to the idea of 8 being a number of balance between different forces; the material world, authority and personal power balanced with the spiritual dimensions and eternal freedom.” 

Ocho is Nick’s eighth collaboration with Sydney Dance Company. Nick works across contemporary dance, film, theatre, and popular and new classical music. He first collaborated with Rafael in 2012 on the award-winning 2 One Another, and also worked with Sarah Blasko on the score for 2 in D Minor. Nick composed the soundtrack for the feature film Around the Block, starring Christina Ricci, and is Founding Member and Co-Composer for CODA, a critically acclaimed music group combining classical styles with contemporary rock and electronica.

Nick collaborated with Aboriginal vocalist Rrawun Maymuru on the music for Ocho. Find out more about Rrawun below.

Fun fact: The soundtrack is electronic and in three sections. Listen out for the trumpet and the ancient Persian flute, the Ney, that is an important instrument in mystical Middle Eastern traditions.

Video: The Music of Ocho

Lim Giong, Full Moon

“Achieving perfection has always been the desire of mankind. However, as the moon waxes and wanes, four seasons come and go, and flowers bloom and wither, life is impermanent.”

Lim Giong is a Taiwanese musician, composer and producer. A leading figure on the Taiwanese experimental music scene, his work combines traditional Taiwanese musical influences with contemporary electronica. Lim is also a sought-after composer of film soundtracks, winning the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Soundtrack Award for The Assassin.

In 2016, Lim collaborated with Cheng Tsung-lung for the first time, composing the music for 13 Tongues for Cloud Gate 2, which premiered at the Taiwan International Festival of Arts.

Fun fact: Lim is also an accomplished actor, and stars in many of the internationally renowned director Hoy Hsiao-Hsien’s early movies. The world of cinema was what inspired him to begin composing film scores.



Rrawun Maymuru, Ocho

The end of Ocho’s soundtrack features a vocal highlight from Aboriginal singer Rrawun Maymuru of the Mangalili clan. Having penned Gurrumul’s first No. 1 ARIA chart single, Bayini, Rrawun comes from a long line of songmen from Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land, and sings in both English and Yolngu Matha. The songline you’ll hear Rrawun sing stems from his paternal side of the Mangalili clan and is called Nyapillilingu – the Spirit Lady. In Yolngu culture, Nyapillilngu is the spirit lady who protects the passage between the Earth and the Milky Way. 

Fun fact: Rrawun is the grandson of Dr Yunupingu, the lead singer of Yothu Yindi.



The Full Moon set features a picture frame as a back-drop and beautiful, dream-like lighting. The Full Moon costumes are also spectacular. Fan Huaichih, the costume designer, was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Zen Buddhism and minimalism.

The Ocho set is surreal yet architectural, with a glass box inside concrete walls. The set designer, David Fleischer, worked closely with Rafael in rehearsals to design a constricted space for the dancers to work within, creating a sense of intense scrutiny. The dancers break out of this box to move through an urban environment. 

Fun fact: The Ocho set weighs 2.7 tonnes, has 28 wheels and 350 screws, and took 1,400 hours to build.



There are 16 full time dancers in Sydney Dance Company. All dancers rehearse five days a week (six when required), commencing with a ballet, contemporary or yoga class at 9.30am, then rehearsals until 6pm. Many also undertake additional training of their choice, such as cycling, swimming or cross training.

The dancers’ typical performance day begins at 2pm and finishes at 10pm, when they submerge their legs in ice buckets to help their bodies recover and reduce inflammation.

Contemporary dancers often perform in bare feet or socks dyed to their skin tone, though 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 and to manage any niggles or injuries they may have.

Fun Fact: Never say ‘good luck’ to a dancer – in the performing arts world you say ‘chookas’. This dates back to the 1900s, when a full house meant that the cast would be given chicken to eat after the show.

Blog: Interview with dancer Petros Treklis



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 pass on the steps to a new dancer), and taking notes that describe the intangible parts of the work, for example, ‘how it feels’. There is also choreology – a form of dance notation that uses symbols to represent movement.



Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay is located at 22 Hickson Road Walsh Bay. Previously called Sydney Theatre, 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 Orb 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 views, where you can enjoy a meal and a drink pre- or post-show.

Venues include: Sydney Dance Lounge, Ventunos, Fratelli Fresh, Lotus Dumpling Bar, and Bar at the End of the Wharf.

You’ll even receive discounts and special offers at some of these venues with your Orb ticket.



Read the Orb program, watch behind-the-scenes videos, and follow #SDCOrb on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

‘★★★★ Dancers illustrate the company’s skills as athletes… It’s a chance for them all to shine in their own way, given a range of stimulating choreographic challenges that they meet triumphantly – perhaps most notably, Nelson Earl in the explosive opening solo; Cass Mortimer-Eipper in the middle and the forlorn but feisty Charmene Yap at the end of the line. More like this, please.’ – Sydney Morning Herald

‘★★★★ Bonachela has done SDC proud with this thrilling, visceral piece, exploiting every inch of his precise, virtuosic dancers. I can’t think of a better introduction to his abstract yet dramatically conceived world than Ocho, an intensely theatrical work that cries out to be seen by dance lovers and anyone interested in the way movement can tell stories in modern society.’ – Limelight

★★★★ It was physical, aggressive, but exhilarating…’ – The Music

‘In Cheng Tsung-lung’s luminous Full Moon there is a profound sense of eternal motion, and not only because Cheng’s piece has thrilling eruptions of speed and full-bodied swirls. There is vivid life even in moments of what appears to be complete stillness.’ – The Australian

“It’s a splendid feast for eyes and ears with Fan Huai-chih’s gorgeously flowing costumes, Lim Giong’s gleaming commissioned score and Cooper’s magical lighting.” – The Australian

‘Sexy, athletic choreography…” – TimeOut Sydney

‘[a] masterclass in the marvels of contemporary dance . . . We leave a little lighter, a little nimbler, a little more present in our bodies, and aware, for a moment, of the limitless connections between our imagination and our limbs. It’s a fleeting feeling that draws me back to contemporary dance, again and again.’ – TimeOut Sydney

‘World class and deserves a place in permanent repertoire . . . an experience as enjoyable and enigmatic as the full moon.’ – Daily Telegraph

There were so many expressive, powerful performances from this cast that it seems unfair to single any particular dancer out. Ocho really packs a punch.’ – Dance Australia

‘Both works have stunning features and showcase the exceptional physicality of the SDC ensemble.’Herald Sun

‘Bombastic and powerful…The dancers are terrific across both works. Once again, Sydney Dance Company offers range, challenges and outstanding performances.’The Age