Review: 6 Breaths and LANDforms, Sydney Dance Company, Snape Maltings, Saturday November 19

Rafael Bonachela, the new artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company, has divided his career as a choreographer between the commercial (Kylie Minogue for example) and contemporary dance worlds. It shows. These two new pieces, 6 Breaths and LANDforms are visually stunning and technically proficient, but don’t take the art form forward or inspire any deeper connection.

This lack of depth wouldn’t be such an issue if the shows were innovative. They weren’t. The use of a front-projection-gauze-animation during the first piece whilst visually arresting was mundane. The swirling leaves assembling and disassembling a sculpture of one or two dancers was frankly 2nd rate compared to the interactive use of this technique I have seen elsewhere and to what end? In the 2nd piece, four crescendos with all 12 dancers on stage followed each other - aren’t there more ways to climax, more ways to impress? The last scene complete with rain on stage appeared to mimic the end-of-film alien contact scenes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and not to be inspired by the Australian landscape as we are told in the programme.

A highlight was Ezio Bosso’s beautiful compositions – think Michael Nyman, Avro Part and Thomas Newman – a composer deserving of a wider audience.

After all that said I’d rate both pieces as great dance shows for spectacle, choreography, physicality and for putting a smile on all the audiences faces – just don’t expect to remember them.

Andrew Cann

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