Walking into Sydney Dance Company’s new Ultimo studios can be an intimidating experience for a first timer. Posters on the wall show off the Company’s professional dancers in striking performances like Interplay; dancers flex pink ballet pumps like they’re warming up for the Bolshoi; and students waiting for the Contemporary Dance Beginners’ class seem to be running through remembered dance steps. We tap our name into the schmick iPad register and wait nervously for teacher Vi Lam to open the doors. It’s a 90-minute class and Lam, a professional dancer, spends at least a third of the time warming us up; we’re doing stomach crunches, bicycle legs and big arm motions in unison, facing the mirrored wall. It’s a comfortable routine to follow, and a good reminder that the dance style is athletic and pretty sweaty. Lam moves the class onto ‘progression work’ in the centre of the room. Everyone stands to one end of the large dance studio and groups of four dancers begin bending their legs and sashaying across the room to ‘Gimme More’ by Britney Spears. It feels a bit like a conveyor belt with the more confident dancers leading the way, and those of us with stage fright near the back. It doesn’t matter where you end up because we repeat, refine and return for a few rounds of pliés and ‘spreading the butter’ (sliding across the floor). There’s a lot of information to take in, which is why Lam opts for more accessible, descriptive terms for the moves we’re doing. He’s funny, loud
One of our most-loved cultural institutions is turning 50 in 2019 and celebrating in grand style with works by Australia's leading choreographers. Sydney Dance Company kicks off its Sydney season with a triple bill of works by Sydney Dance Company artistic director Rafael Bonachela, Gabrielle Nankivell and Melanie Lane (Mar 26-Apr 13). Bonachela is premiering a new work for five dancers called ‘Cinco’, with a score by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera and costumes by fashion designer Bianca Spender. Nankivell is premiering a new work called ‘Neon Aether’, while Lane’s ‘WOOF’, the standout of 2017's New Breed program, is getting a mainstage showing.
This unusual performance sees dancers Erak Mith from Phnom Penh and Aaron Lim from Darwin compare their experiences of hip hop culture through movement in a 40-minute dance-off style performance. Channeling the raw energy and improvisation of a b-boy, these two skilled performers will follow the choreography of internationally renowned Sydney hip hop dance artist Nick Power and the sound design of Jack Prest. Together, they’ll explore ideas about culture, locality and individual style. The performance marks the end of four years of dance exchange, competition, performance and travel between between Darwin's D*City Rockers and Cambodia's Tiny Toones. It is best suited to kids with a keen interest in dance over the age of eight.