The Universe is Here

Work by Stephanie Lake

Sydney Dance Company is thrilled to commission renowned Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake to create a world premiere for our Resound triple bill in October 2022.

Info & Dates

Dates: Resound 28 October – 5 November 2022

Venue   Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay

The Universe is Here by Stephanie Lake fuses movement and music, bringing blistering light to the stage and a fizzing glimpse of a haunted dreamscape.

Poetic, fresh and forceful, her new work will feature incredible collaborators including costume design by Harriet Oxley, music composed by Robin Fox and a live performance by Harpist Emily Granger.

This is intricate and dynamic dance that hits you in the solar plexus.

Performance Dates
Resound Triple-Bill
Roslyn Packer Theatre

Fri 28 October, 7.30pm Opening Night
Sat 29 October, 2.00pm
Sat 29 October, 7.30pm
Tues 1 November, 6.30pm
Wed 2 November, 6.30pm
Thur 3 November, 7.30pm
Fri 4 November, 7.30pm
Sat 5 November, 2.00pm

The Creative Team

Choreographer: Stephanie Lake
Composer: Robin Fox
Harpist: Emily Granger
Costumes: Harriet Oxley
Lighting: Damien Cooper

Cheat Sheet

Who created the movement?

Stephanie Lake is a multi-award-winning choreographer and the Artistic Director of Stephanie Lake Company based in Melbourne. Her works have toured across Australia and internationally. Her major works include Manifesto, Colossus, Skeleton Tree, Pile of Bones, AORTA, Replica, A Small Prometheus, Double Blind, Mix Tape and DUAL.

Lake is a recipient of the prestigious Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, Australia Council Fellowship and Dame Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship. She has been awarded Helpmann, Australian Dance and Green Room Awards for Best Choreography.

Who created the music and what will it sound like?

The Universe is Here is set to a magnetic score created by critically acclaimed audio-visual artist, Robin Fox. Originally conceived of as a creative challenge, the score redefines the harp as both a musical instrument and object. Most of the sounds, even the rhythmic tracks, come from recordings of the harp being plucked, struck, hit or scratched. Overlayed with the rupture of thunderclaps, the result is a visceral, ritualistic and otherworldly auditory experience.

The Universe is Here will feature an onstage performance by Harpist Emily Granger playing beautiful, ethereal music. The purity of the harp is juxtaposed with Stephanie Lake’s “bone-cracking” and “flesh-smacking” choreography, creating a well of tension and release.

What will the performance look like?

The Universe is Here is minimal yet ambitious, with a harp nestled amongst the dancers on stage and a delicate paper sheet falling from the ceiling. The work exudes golden, celestial light, with Damien Cooper’s vibrant lightscape interacting with each of the Company dancers. Fusing sharp lines with exquisite intricacy and detail, Harriet Oxley’s costumes feature over 800 individual eyelets and buttons.

Bright, white and golden The Universe is Here opens like a fairy-tale but soon unleashes demons. Alternating between commanding ensemble moments, vigorous duets and quiet, intense solos, Stephanie plays with strength and earth-shattering vulnerability.


“★★★★ …Lake is not afraid to give her dancers curiously unattractive shapes and actions, which adds visual spice to an already interesting range of solo and scattered ensemble moves.” – Sydney Morning Herald 

“ ★★★★ Lake has a great gift for creating multiple layers of meaning and here the undeniable appeal of her orderliness co-exists with an equally undeniable saccharine quality. The glow, the harp and music that could have emanated from the mouths of cherubs – that’s not any kind of real life.” – Limelight 

“ ★★★★ … a magical ending that speaks of a measure of harmony and faith in humanity. The harp’s reputation as a serious instrument of beauty is restored as Scales and Luke Hayward revisit movement from earlier solos. Anguish is soothed by the music and hands connect. No matter how fragile, before they were alone and now they are together.” – Limelight 

“A golden offering of synergic precision, choreographic ingenuity, and verve.” – Sydney Arts Guide

“The work manifests Lake’s interwoven motifs of enigmas and differences, artistry and melancholy.” – Dance Informa

“Lake has been credited with re-imagining contemporary dance, and this work is testament to this.” – Dance Australia