The Sydney Festival will spring back to life in 2022 with new artistic director, Olivia Ansell, at the helm. Ansell has arrived at the Festival from her previous appointment as Head of Contemporary Performance at the Sydney Opera House and a family pedigree of dance.
Her choices for her first program include potent works from Australia’s leading dance companies.
Sydney Dance Company will perform Decadance. Dance lovers will know this as the powerful, full-length work by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin – this performance, however, will feature excerpts from that work as well as others he created over a decade as artistic director of Batsheva Dance Company.
Melbourne’s Chunky Move will also be making an appearance with Yung Lung, described as “a rave on Mount Olympus”. Under the direction of Antony Hamilton, the dancers will stomp on a god-like effigy by artist Callum Morton, as a barrage of online imagery manipulated by music video director Kris Moyes rains down and Bosco Shaw’s lighting pulsates to the bass-heavy soundtrack of Melbourne techno experimentalist Chiara Kickdrum.
Marrugeku will turn the spotlight on Australia’s approach to locking people up, in a visceral, turbo-charged new dance work. Called Jurrungu Ngan-ga [Straight Talk], the new creation “examines the common thread that connects outrageous levels of Indigenous incarceration to the indefinite detaining of asylum seekers”.
Three years in development between Marrugeku’s twin homes of Broome and Sydney, this dance theatre creation is inspired by perspectives on incarceration shared by Yawuru leader Senator Patrick Dodson, Kurdish-Iranian writer and former Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani and philosopher Omid Tofighian. See more here.
Another topical subject will be explored by award winning choreographers Charmene Yap and Cass Mortimer Eipper. Called Grey Rhino, it is described an “audacious new dance epic which warns us to heed the dangers hidden in plain sight”.
Inspired by the enigmatic optical phenomenon, Mirage is a new full-length dance work by choreographer and dancer Martin del Amo and collaborator Miranda Wheen. See our interview here.
Sydney Festival runs from January 6-30. For the full program, go here.