Review / Dance work explores emotional and physical extremes   

Dance / “ab (intra)”, choreographed by Raphael Bonachela, Sydney Dance Company. At Canberra Theatre until September 1. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS

Sydney Dance Company. Photo by Vishal Pandey

FOR his first full-length work in six years Raphael Bonachela has drawn on the extraordinary skills of his ensemble of virtuoso dancers to create an astonishing abstract work that explores their emotional and physical extremes.   

Performed on what at first appears to be an austere setting, in spare, elegant costumes in subtle tones of nude, white and black, to a combination of electronic and orchestral music, the physicality and intensity of the dancers is mesmerizing as they perform the seamless flow of intricate solos, duets, trios and ensemble combinations which are beautiful to look at, and arrestingly achieved.

Damien Cooper’s extraordinary lighting design soon washed away any initial sense of austerity with its use of lines and haze to create a series of stunning environments. Nick Wales combined sections of a Peter Vasks cello concerto, recordings of Australian cellist, Julian Thompson, and his own electronic elements to create a moody, passionate soundscape to enhance the astonishing physical and dramatic connection between the dancers.

In a work full of extraordinary moments, an erotically charged duet performed by Izzac Carroll and Janessa Duffy, the central tender and ecstatic duet performed by Charmene Yap and Davide Di Giovanni, and two amazing solos danced by Nelson Earl and Ariella Casu were stand-outs, which astonished by the sheer virtuosity of their execution.

“Ab (intra)” is another masterwork in a long line of outstanding dance works created by Raphael Bonachela for the Sydney Dance Company.

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