Blood on the dancefloor. Bare flesh exposed in battle for life. Tongue-in-cheek dance games with cacti. If this gets your pulse racing, you cannot miss Sydney Dance Company’s latest creation, CounterMove, at MTC’s Southbank Theatre. The Sydney-based company’s double bill showcases their elite team of dancers, with cinematic sets, sonic soundblasts and charismatic acrobatics for all to feast their eyes upon. Revealing a view of life both playful and intense, the dazzling athletic skill of these Australian dance stars takes centre stage.
The internationally-known Spanish choreographer Rafael Bonachela continues his passionate testing of his favourite themes: life, death, humanity, primitive drives and industrial lives, all passionately writ across body and stage. Depicting an imaginative other space, Hades, limbo, the future, or a netherworld where lives are divided and decided, his themes are expressed through his robust dance vernacular. If you want to see some of the fittest dance bodies in the nation, get on down and prepare to be winded.
The first work, Cacti, which includes a live string quartet, is a fun-filled satirising of the vagaries of postmodern dance, with sections where the dancers perform dialogue mid-routine. Cacti indeed features — as do screen platforms on which the ensemble execute massed routines on, under, behind and around to great visual effect.
The second work, Lux Tenebris, unleashes Bonchela’s spine-tingling post-apocalyptic meditation. A work deriving influences in the original composition of Nick Wale’s score (Sarah Basko), it reveals his fascination for light and darkness, both physical and emotional. Splashed across a liminal space with no wings or backdrop — only flashes of light, smoke, tones of burnt orange, tan and black, emanate. Across this landscape, we witness ceaselessly massing bodies, displaying the artistry of the body and movement. There is the charmed phsyicality for which the company is famed.
Into the dazzling darkness of a primeval space, themes such as sex, death, human survival, and the competition for life are revealed. See this show alone for these feats of marvel, of breathtaking bodies in scale-defying couplings, and witness the blooding of new superstar performers such as Juliette Barton who moves like a boxer in the fight of her life.
For lovers of contemporary dance or zeitgeist themes, this show is a must!
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope!
The season runs 25 May t0 4 June at the MTC Southbank Theatre. Book tickets.
The venue is accessible.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Sydney Dance Company.
Photo credit: Peter Greig.