Australian Dance Reviews

Project Rameau – Sydney Dance Company

Sydney Theatre
Opening night – October 29 2012

By Renata Ogayar.

The world premiere of Project Rameau opened at Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay on October 29th. The collaboration by two incredible Australian performing arts companies, the Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, resulted in an evening of eloquence and sophistication.

Sharing the stage to bring the piece to life, artistic directors Rafael Bonachela and Richard Tognetti together welcomed the spring season with creative ingeniousness and renaissance inspired work to Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 18th century scores of the Baroque era.

Project Rameau was seamlessly divided into various sections with live music by Rameau, Vivaldi and Bach. The instigated dynamics and nuances of Bonachela’s work were complemented by simple yet sophisticated staging and elegantly understated costumes, allowing movements to sculpture the body.

The contemporary choreography in each section, which consisted of stylish movement phrases in response to orchestrated melodies, created a synergy between the two art forms. Sequences explored fluid circular and connective forms, vibrant lines, segmented and angular anatomical structures that fashioned motion and signature nuances underpinned by hints of classicism.

Kevin Chen’s solo was absolutely beautiful, as was Andrew Crawford’s exceptional extensions and commanding stage presence. Both poised and composed in their performance, contrasting contours to classical executions brought the music to life by form.

Evidently the collaborative work allowed the music to drive Bonachela’s choreographic decisions shaping the dynamics, textures, formalities and structure. The stage transformed in and out of sensual solos, duos and trios whilst the whole company interjected the space with directional and stylistic choreography. At one point ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons’ seemed to create an invisible force between the dancers and the ACO, bringing all the elements together.

The trans-generational encompassment of 18th century scores and composition of contemporary movement created a unique form of poetical language that received an enduring standing ovation.

Rafael Bonachela remarked “We had a ball last night. There has been a huge amount of effort that has gone into to this collaboration and it is amazing that the audience loved it.  I know the dancers and the ACO really enjoyed the energy and excitement in the room. We can’t wait to see how the rest of the season’s audiences respond”.

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