Have you seen the Dance Australia 2019 Critics' Survey yet? It's available only in the Feb/Mar print issue of Dance Australia, so make sure you grab your copy before it goes off the shelves. To give you a taste, see a sneak preview of Michelle Potter's choices below.
Michelle Potter (Canberra)
The Cangerra Times
Highlight of the year
West Side Story’s return to Australian stages looking as fabulous as it did back in the 1960s. A true dance musical in which choreographer Jerome Robbins tells the story brilliantly through dance and gesture.
Most significant dance event
Sydney Dance Company’s 50th anniversary. Those who have led, and are leading the company—Suzanne Musitz, Jaap Flier, Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon, and currently Rafael Bonachela—have given Australian audiences a varied contemporary repertoire with exposure to the work of some remarkable Australian choreographers and composers, as well as the work of some of the best contemporary artists from overseas.
Most interesting Australian independent group or artist
Canberra’s Australian Dance Party, which has started to develop a strong presence and unique style and has given Canberra a much needed local, professional company. The 2019 production From the vault showed the company’s strong collaborative aesthetic with an exceptional live soundscape and lighting to add to the work’s appeal.
Most interesting Australian group or artist
Bangarra Dance Theatre. Over 30 years the company has gone from strength to strength and can only be admired for the way in which Stephen Page and his associates tell Indigenous stories with such pride and passion.
Most outstanding choreography
Melanie Lane’s thrilling but somewhat eccentric WOOF as restaged by Sydney Dance Company. It was relentless in its exploration of group behaviour and reminded me a little of a modern day Rite of Spring.
Best new work
Dangerous Liaisons by Liam Scarlett for Queensland Ballet. Scarlett has an innate ability to compress detail without losing the basic elements of the narrative and to capture mood and character through movement. It was beautifully performed by Queensland Ballet and demonstrated excellence in its collaborative elements.
Most outstanding dancer
Kohei Iwamato from Queensland Ballet especially for his dancing in Dangerous Liaisons as Azolan, valet to the Vicomte de Valmont. His dancing was light, fluid, and technically exact and he made every nuance of Scarlett’s choreography clearly visible.
Tyrel Dulvarie in Bangarra’s revival of Unaipon in which he danced the role of David Unaipon. His presence on stage was imposing throughout and his technical ability shone, especially in the section where he danced as Tolkami (the West Wind).
Who did Michelle Potter nominate as her Dancer to Watch? Find out in the current (Feb/March) issue of Dance Australia - OUT NOW! Buy Dance Australia at your favourite retail outlet, or online here or subscribe here to make sure you see all nominations!
Photo above is of SDC's 2019 season.