2 One another - Sydney Dance Company
Walking all the way into the wharfs of Walsh Bay, East to West, I keep in mind two recent memories: On the one hand, the urban design proposal PTW prepared for the finger buildings fanning onto the harbour with an interesting relation of public walkways associated with the individual relationship to water, Simon Parsons’ the practice leader, always very proud stating its significance; and on the other, the talk at the female professionals’ Perspectives Event by speaker Helen Lochhead, who showed a proposal about the vision of the cultural precinct in which the space in between the wharfs would become part of the usable urban realm in an aquatic and engaging experience.
The ground floor of the old industrial pier number four, houses Sydney Dance Company; an old cafe welcomes the visitor into the space, with its cosy sofas and informal sitting areas, as well as with atmospheric lights and a few decorative features. Two calmed ladies welcomed the visitors to relax over a glass of wine, and then welcomed us all into one of the rooms where the dancers have been rehearsing in front of some school kids.
The artistic director was not yet part of the “spectacle”, but a male teacher was giving directions to the dance company members as they ‘moved’ along the space whilst the reduced and fortunate audience was taking seat. Music on the background, tall and generous space, the feeling of being to the other side for the first time in a rehearsal room felt familiar yet different. Then Rafael Bonachela came in from the side making his way to the centre, in front of a small camera that would record for the Facebook group on-stream. He, as approachable as he looks, starts to choreograph his words in the same way that you would imagine choreographing the dancers’ movements, a non-perfect english which just makes his speech flow gayly.
An imagination starts to awaken when he describes his ideas about the self personalities and the relationship to others; a series of gestures and movements that are then evoked by the motion of the dancers. As if he was talking and dancers reacting, the background image starts to get alive; you then wonder if this will become part of the definitive show… The spectator, us, look at this work almost as if it was in a documentary format; interrupted by Rafael’s intervention, the play makes sense and the movement translates to us before we were even starting to conceive it in our minds…
The dancers’ technique was just phenomenal, and you could tell in most of their faces, the effort to perform with every single little muscle; in the most advanced ones, the effort to accompany the gesture with a face expression in tune with the message.
The space, soon to be transformed and refurbished, has a lot of character. There is a sense of informality and casualty that wouldn’t make one believe that the people attending have very prestigious positions in their social and/or in their professional world, but more importantly, that there is such an interesting background and joy behind all the possible conversations about art, life, philosophy and you name it, behind each of these individuals.
A casual evening, one could say, an opportunity to provoke encounters from all these different personalities, whose common point was the enticement from the artistic director and his group of talented collaborators, to want to experience more of it. An anticipated insight into the coming show, a willingness to experience more of those feelings within an almost domestic environment…