“Let’s Dance!” It’s an imperative that most people don’t deny - and why would you? Dance is one of those things that urge you to let go of your inhibitions, whether for fun or professionally, and explore your internal rhythm. The Australian Ballet Company has been experiencing this 50 years, and to celebrate their anniversary, they are bringing together eight of the country’s dance companies under the one roof to celebrate the rich culture of dance in Australia.
The Australian Ballet’s extravaganza is called Let’s Dance, where companies from all around country, including New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, will come together to perform a series of excerpts that they’ve been working on individually. Come June and stages around the country will explode into a flurry of dance. One of the shows, an excerpt from 2 One Another, performed by Sydney Dance Company and choreographed by Sydney Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Raphael Bonachela, whose resume even boasts having worked with Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner, will thrill Melbourne audiences.
Richard Cilli, a principal dancer at Sydney Dance Company, who is also one of the four dancers that will be performing the short but energetic and masterful excerpt, says it was an extraordinary piece. “2 One Another is really spectacular,” Cilli says. “The excerpt that will be seen in Melbourne is definitely one of the more spectacular parts and there are also some beautiful soft moments.”
“It’s just a spectacular kind of show…it’s something that Raphael was really interested in trying to show that contemporary dance can be an amazing and beautiful experience to watch, so it’s definitely about offering that to an audience,” says Cilli.
Bonachela’s dynamism and energy is woven throughout the show and 2 One Another is the result of that amazing energy and dynamism that Bonachela has and that he tries to bring out in all of his dancers, “2 One Another is a really beautiful work, in performing it, I think it’s a really massive challenge, it doesn’t stop and you’re absolutely dead by the end of it…It’s very virtuosic, very high energy and it’s very exciting to do, so hopefully audiences will be blown away,” says Cilli.”
2 One Another is described as being ‘a celebration of relationships and human interaction’. An abstract work that includes classical Baroque music but also a section of electronic music that has been especially composed for the work, the real drawcard for the show will be the amount of variation in the bill due to the amalgamation of dance companies and combination of different types of performances in the bill. “There will be something for everyone, there might be some things that people like, some things that people dislike but I think that’s the best kind of show… that makes you think,” says Cilli.
Certainly, the bill from Let’s Dance boasts an impressive array of diverse dance. Apart from Bonachella’s 2 One Another, Let’s Dance will be headlined by the new ballet, includes Sweedeedee, a whimsical exploration of family identity choreographed by Tim Harbour and marking the return of Steven Heathcote, along with his daughter Mia. South Australian company Australian Dance Theatre will perform an excerpt from 2010’s Be Your Self, by Garry Stewart, Townsville company Dancenorth will celebrate dance with Fugue, Expressions Dance Company will perform Don’t, a new work by award winning Natalie Weir, Queensland will perform Almost Like Being In Love and No Moon At All, both by Artistic Director François Klaus, Tasdance will bring Momentary, an unique piece by Anna Smith, and West Australian Ballet will bring 2011s comedic work Ombra Leggera (meaning Shadow Song). Undoubtedly audiences will have the privilege to witness the truly unique and outstanding dance that Australia has to offer.
Let’s Dance will celebrate a milestone, not only for the companies involved, but for Australia’s rich dance culture. “I think Australia has such a unique and special dance culture because it’s so removed from the rest of the world but it’s also constantly harking on so many influences from so many different places,” says Cilli.
Cilli says that although people in other places of the world may not be familiar with dance in Australia, there is certainly a high standard of dancers and rich landscape of dance styles which are nurtured to perfection. “This is so rare for you know the whole of the Australian dance community to unite like this just in one place at onetime and m really everyone really giving what they got and highlighting how unique and varied the you know what the spectrum of dance is here in Australia. So to be a part of that is something I’ve never done before and it’s really great.”
This quality is omnipresent but not only in the dance companies but also at independent ad grassroots levels all around Australia. “That variation between all the different styles of ballet and contemporary and even commercial dance - hip hop as well and everything else I think it’s really unique and I think that comes from our distance from the rest of the world, it’s like a little microcosm where things are happening on their own,” says Cilli.
In a way, Let’s Dance is about more than dance: it’s a testament to Australia’s home grown talent in the arts, and proof that Australia’s culture is indeed rich and unique.
Let’s Dance opens for a Melbourne-only season Thursday June 7 until Saturday June 16 at the Arts Centre. For more details and booking visit australianballet.com.au