New Breed and PPY16 Revealed

Katie Lavers

Two vital energising dance programs from Sydney Dance Company.
New Breed and PPY16 Revealed

Photo Credit: Rachel Arianne Ogle's Of Dust. Photo: Peter Greig.

In New Breed, emerging choreographers from across Australia are given the chance to create new work with the dancers from Sydney Dance Company. New Breed 2016 is the third show in this initiative and is co-presented by Sydney Dance Company and Carriageworks.

Choreographed by Jesse Scales, a dancer in Sydney Dance Company, What you see presented a series of three solos to music by Max Richter. This consisted of some strong mood-driven, evocative movement exploring despair from the soloists, Cass Mortimer Eipper, Nelson Earl and featured some wonderful dancing from Latisha Sparks.

Hinterland, a work by another Sydney Dance Company dancer, Richard Cilli, showed experimentation with the use of sounds vocalised by the dancers and a spoken text, and then continued to the music of Franz Liszt. The most intriguing element of the piece was a tangle of moving bodies towards the end of the piece, which, twisting and turning together, proved powerful and strangely moving.

Rachel Arianne Ogle’s ambitious work, Of Dust, explores a movement dynamic of magnetic attraction versus magnetic repulsion, or, on a more macro scale, the push and pull of the planets. The group of dancers, Juliette Barton, Richard Cilli, Nelson Earl, Cass Mortimer Eipper and Charmene Yap, working to the commissioned sound score from Ned Buckley, performed with total commitment and precision. Ogle’s choreography is inventive, powerful and in places quite stunning, with structures forming, cohering and then pulling apart to disintegrate across the space. The lighting by Ben Cisterne is so powerful, so extraordinary, that at times it runs the risk of overpowering the choreography. It would be good to see this work further developed and fine-tuned as it is full of exciting potential.

Epic Theatre by Shian Law, working to an electronic sound score by Marco Cher-Gibard, reversed the places of audience and performers giving the audience members at the back the chance to get up closer to the performers to create ‘a democratic assembly of bodies.’

PPY is another hugely important initiative for Australian dance - a public performance outcome showcasing the young dancers who have just spent a pre-professional year (PPY) working with Sydney Dance Company. PPY16 Revealed shows that the high standard of all of these young dancers is very exciting for the future of Australian dance. The hard work undertaken during the SDC Pre-Professional year is clearly visible and all these young dancers worked with precision, commitment, and clarity of line and intent.

Corporare, by Thomas Bradley, gave the dancers the chance to shine in terms of speed and precision and complex movement and patterning across the floor.

Pieces of Cella, the gentle yoga-based duo choreographed by Narelle Benjamin, showed another side of the dancers, with the two dancers moving with pleasing fluency, intimacy and playfulness and totally immersed in the movement.

2 One Another is an excerpt from an award-winning pre-existing company repertoire piece choreographed by Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela. This is a gorgeous, sensuous piece of choreography, with a sumptuous score by Nick Wales and a stunning lighting design by Benjamin Cisterne. The piece has a deep sense of spirituality and this was communicated strongly by these young dancers who rose to the challenge with some wonderful dancing and exhilarating partnering, and showed in a very real way how very close they are to being first-rate, and in some cases, world-class dancers. All credit is due to Sydney Dance Company and the PPY Course Director Linda Gamblin for the consistently high level across the spectrum of course graduates.

These shows, New Breed and PPY, are both important annual contributions that Sydney Dance Company makes to developing and showcasing the talents of emerging choreographers and young dancers in Australia.

New Breed 2016 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars​
Carriageworks, Everleigh, NSW
29 November – 10 December 2016

PPY16 Revealed
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars​
Carriageworks, Everleigh, NSW
6-8 December 2016

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Dr. Katie Lavers is a writer, director, producer and researcher based in Sydney.