Roslyn Packer Theatre, 5 October
When Sydney Dance Company premiered Rafael Bonachela’s 2 One Another at this same theatre some five and a half years ago it was a runaway success. Popular with both audiences and critics, this work has a luminous beauty that is accentuated by Tony Assness’s ever-moving and changing digital background.
Interestingly, a look at SDC’s touring history reveals that 2 One Another has been performed every year since its creation (with the exception of 2016) in locations ranging from regional Australian centres to overseas tours as far afield as South America, Europe and the USA. And on this viewing, it still has much to offer audiences of contemporary dance, with displays of physical virtuosity that are given depth and meaning by their placement within the work as it unfolds.
On opening night there were some standout performances by company dancers including Juliette Barton, Bernhard Knauer, Janessa Dufty, Charmene Yap and Cass Mortimer Eipper. Jesse Scales and Josephine Weise also impressed, showing that a duet danced by two women can have as much power and excitement as a male/female duet or a male/male duet.
Rafael Bonachela has a gift for choreographing physically demanding movement that reveals the athletic power and strength of his dancers, but in 2 One Another these sections are balanced by quieter, more lyrical moments that extend the works dramatic range and depth. In a similar way, Nick Wales’s musical score successfully balances the contrasting styles of electronica with modern classical, baroque, renaissance and spoken text by poet Samuel Webster.
The gradual expansion and development of a colour palette, from neutral shades to vivid reds, blues and all the colours in-between, is seen in both Benjamin Cisterne’s lighting and Tony Assness’s costume and production design. On a more topical note, this led conveniently into an onstage declaration of support for marriage equality during the curtain call with “Vote YES” spelt out in large rainbow coloured letters as the company dancers took their final bows. A generous and positive public gesture that reflected the uplifting tone of 2 One Another’s final moments.
- GERALDINE HIGGINSON
Top: The curtain call. Photo: Pedro Greig.
'2 One Another' plays Sydney's Roslyn Packer Theatre until 14 October.