Lux Tenebris byRafael Bonachela
This work started and was driven by how the music should sound. I worked with Nick Wales as he composed – I fed into that process to capture an emotional sense. I wanted contrast and visceral edges. I was interested in the unfamiliar and the industrial. I wanted to evoke an
instinctual connection between people and wanted to draw out the tension that comes from those interactions: the human encounters that surround us as they move into and out of focus and light, blinded at times by direct light or looking sideways into the edge of the shadow.
For me, there was a driving force about how light and darkness affects us all, our moods, our memories of specific periods in our lives – the physical sense of light and darkness, overlaid with the emotional connections to those contrasting worlds. My collaborators have contributed enormously to the sum of the work. Ben Cistern’s design brings its own evocations, intimate spaces distinguished from the broader whole, bound by the edges of the shadows the bulbs create. I was really interested in the transitions from the liminal spaces at those edges, the transition between the inky black and the pooled light.
Choreography: Rafael Bonachela
Composer: Nick Wales
Lighting; Stage Design: Benjamin Cisterne
Costume Design: Aleisa Jelbart
The two-day workshop will begin with a Contemporary technique class lead by Sydney Dance Company’s Rehearsal Associate, Charmene Yap. Across both days, company dancers Liam Green, Riley Fitzgerald and Emily Seymour will delve into the repertoire of Lux Tenebris, teaching various sections of the work. Participants will have the chance to embody the athletic and dynamic movements of two different unison phrases and develop their own language based on a solo in the repertoire.
Moorland Elegies by Wang Yuanyuan《荒野挽歌》
I’m greatly honoured to have received a commission from Vanemuise Theatre to collaborate with both a symphony orchestra choir and a ballet company. It was a snowy winter day when I first set foot on Estonian land. The crisp cold and the blinding white reminded me of Beijing in my childhood, a memory deep within the body and awakened by nature.
When I first heard Tuno’s music, it felt like poetry coming from the distant horizons. At once cautious and blooming, his music contains brightness, sorrow, theatricality, and sanctity, all of which probe and caress the human heart.
In Emily Bronte’s poetry I find the eye of “nature.” Nature lives in freedom. Human love and sadness are found in the fallen leaves and moonlight; tears exist in time; the sea is sighing. When all these seemingly incoherent images are woven together in music, they bring us closer to the sense of freedom in which we search for our spiritual world in nature. All of this is love from nature.
Poetry and music have activated my imagination for the moorland in my choreography. It is a love for the moorland, a love for nature, embracing both summertime flowers and wintertime desolation. We humans are but infinitesimal beings in nature. Human love for nature should be transparent. The vast moorland sets off our miniscule selves. In this dance, I search for human emotions drifting away like dust in nature. I also hope to attach wind, trees, clouds, birds, and the moon to human sorrow and joy. To sing an ode to nature is to transcend human understandings of life and death; it is to show the deepest love and respect for the moorland.
Perhaps nature possesses richer emotions than ours. Perhaps nature suffers deeper pains than ours. Perhaps nature loves greater loves than ours.
All the suffering the world has imposed on us is nothing but songs of life, given to us by the gods. We take those songs, and sing them back to nature.
Vertical Road by Akram Khan
In Vertical Road Khan has assembled a cast of very special performers from across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. With a specially commissioned score by long-term collaborator composer, Nitin
Sawhney, Vertical Road draws inspiration from the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi. Exploring man’s earthly nature, his rituals and the consequences of human actions, Vertical Road becomes a meditation on the journey from gravity to grace.
‘I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels –
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.’ (Rumi)
Workshop for the 5 Continents Series
Beginning with a warm-up developed through Akram’s movement vocabulary, participants will be able to explore their own creativity through exercises and tasks focusing on rhythm, speed, cycles and
silence. The workshop will develop into learning choreographic phrases from highly acclaimed productions from Akram Khan Company Repertoire.
Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero by Gregory Maqoma & Vuyani Dance Theatre
In this piece the message of death and its dire consequences are infused through a lament to be able to confront a universe in which the age-old tropes of greed, power and religion have given rise to loss of life not as a natural phenomenon. Toloki, the professional mourner weaves through this virtual landscape of dissolution giving rise to a catharsis of universal grief that will conquer the sadness, the hard reality continuing to permeate the living confronted by death that is not their own, often so
unexpected, brutal and merciless. Cion as in Zion, the African church is set in a graveyard, a church where the body is religion and the voices are personal. Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro, draws inspiration from creations by two artists: the character Toloki in South African author Zakes Mda’s novels Cion and Ways of Dying and music from French composer Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. It’s a universal story encompassing the past and the present that champions our ability to band together to share the burden of grief. Set in a graveyard with the persistent cries of
people in mourning and the acappella music of Isicathamiya in our languages sang by a quartet to the creative arrangement and composition by Nhlanhla Mahlangu that vividly elicits emotions associated with the loss of life performed by nine dancers who are themselves possessed by the spirit and being one with the departed souls and finally lying them to rest for peace and humanity to prevail. Maqoma’s message through this work is that we need to pause for a moment and urgently think about the
pain inflicted on others by the actions of others.
Locus (1975) by Trisha Brown
Locus (1975) is an eighteen-minute quartet of continuous action. That action is based on an ordered distribution of movement within a compartmentalized space... Locus is organized around 27 points located on an imaginary cube of space slightly larger than the standing figure
in a stride position... The dance does not observe front, it revolves. The cube base is multiplied to form a grid of five units wide and four deep. There are opportunities to move from one cube base to another without distorting the movement. —Trisha Brown
Opal Loop / Cloud Installation #72503 (1980)
Opal Loop / Cloud Installation #72503 (1980) reflects concerns with visibility and invisibility. Beginning with the idea of a choreography that would travel beyond the walls of the abandoned loft space at 55 Crosby Street, New York where it was initially presented, Brown developed a
dance phrase on her own body. Then she taught it to the other dancers, instructing them to make their own choices as to how to return the movement to the center stage. This mechanism of movements ‘looping,’ was achieved through improvisation, which each dancer then set as
choreography. —Susan Rosenberg, TBDC Consulting Historical Scholar
Workshop for the 5 Continents Series
Class begins with a warm-up emphasizing the coordination of alignment, breath, and weight to bring space, direction, and flow of energy through the joints. Full-bodied phrase work from Trisha Brown choreography Locus and Glacial Decoy will draw on internal and external geometries (both imagined and real), challenging students to take
risks and broaden their perception of their dancing.