By Dolce Fisher
Currently showing at Sydney Theatre, Shared Frequencies is a performance by Sydney Dance Company of two world premieres by renowned contemporary choreographers Rafael Bonachela and Jacopo Godani. Dance Informa’s Dolce Fisher spoke with the talented pair whilst they were developing their new works in Sydney, to get the scoop on the 2011 company, the choreographic process behind their creations and what we can expect.
How have the new company members been received so far?
Amazingly! There is nothing but praise for the dancers in every direction, from all the patrons of the company, the press and the audiences. We’d been in Brisbane and Melbourne and all the feedback was great. This is a contemporary dance company and the dancers are so highly technically skilled and trained – sublime really. To their credit they are very focused and committed and we are all here for the right reason and on the same page, because at the end of the day people pay to see us and they’ve got to get the best!
Tell us about your new work LANDforms, performed to a new score by Ezio Bosso
The dancers were really involved with the birth of the whole work from the very beginning. Earth was the first word I had, that’s huge, and then came lots of talks with musician Ezio Bosso. I showed him maps, books and hundreds of pictures of landscapes that all brought on lots of memories from the dancers and lots of thoughts, triggers and feelings. After ten days, with lots of things in the frying pan, we decided that LANDforms would be the title of the work. The dance would be the landscape and the music would be the weather elements. It starts with the sunrise and ends in the night. It’s a journey but is pure dance and music inspired by the landscape. Ezio is playing live, which will enhance the whole work.
So how did the invitation for Jacopo Godani come about?
I had known about his career under Forsythe. The first time I saw his work was a piece that he did for the Royal Ballet in London. I was like ‘WOW’! But at that time I had never met him. I had heard about the work he was producing for Monte Carlo Ballet and his work that pushed the boundaries of ballet. Bonachela Dance Company was performing the last season in the Venice Biennale and I was already here in Sydney. Jacopo saw the dancers and he thought they were amazing and wanted to work with them. I was so thrilled that he was excited about working with my dancers. I was able to return to Venice for a conference and then I finally meet Jacopo Godani. We just clicked because we come from the same generation of dancers; we know many of the same people. I thought it would be amazing for him to work with the company. He had never worked in Australia. He works for the best companies in the world so he has really pushed the dancers in a way they have never been pushed before. His work has attitude and a sexiness that I think Sydney will relate to.
What is the inspiration for your new work that you have created for Sydney Dance Company?
It’s difficult to say because I didn’t come with a preconceived idea. I needed to get to know the dancers first and figure out what I could do. It is definitely a piece that is a lot about human evaluation; where we are at and how far we could go with our potential. It’s an abstract piece. When you have an opportunity to do an original piece I feel it must be entirely original. I have the freedom to develop something unique. I try not to relate to any pre existing concepts or ideas, but imagine that I am creating an abstract sculpture.
Basically the content is about humanity, not the population, but what it means to be human and analysing the human content to see how far it would lead you, not just in a biological sense. We explore growing with the conscience of being something that can evolve and has a potential, which is rather unlimited speaking mentally and intellectually, not only physically.
So you are constantly challenging yourself?
I always want to challenge myself and the dancers. Every time you meet a new group of new dancers it is a new challenge. You have to find a new way to communicate with the people that relates deeply.
Where does your inspiration come from?
From your initial idea for a piece how do you begin your process?
It’s always different. I really don’t have a system to tell you the truth. Sometimes I do collect a bunch of material and look into the subject I want to explore. Sometimes it can just be about the subject and then how I can spontaneously translate that into choreography. I don’t really have a system of working and I am glad that I don’t! The interesting thing about being an artist is that you can just let it out.
So when did you feel that you wanted to become a choreographer?
I have always been choreographing since I started studying dance. It has always been important to me to be creating, not consciously, but just doing. Even before I was dancing I would like to draw, invent things or try to make myself productive, but as soon as I had the dance tool in my hands I started to use it. I choreographed bits and pieces and then moved on to short ballets. Then my work was integrated into the repertoire of the company where I was dancing. When I joined Forsythe’s company it was at a time where Billy was using material that was created by the dancers. We created some projects together and then I asked to create a piece for the company. He said ‘yes’, it was received well and I did a couple more pieces - it just went from there.
You have had a broad career as a dancer and choreographer. What are career highlights have impacted you the most?
Definitely the experience of working with William Forsythe! I wonder sometimes where I would be if I had not worked with him. It has been the most important experience of my life. I will never look back with any regrets. It was great because we were doing everything; contemporary ballet to singing, dancing and choreography. It was the deepest experience I could have with a dance company at that time. It was also a philosophical experience. I don’t think I am affected by what was developed or a style, but more a way of thinking.
Make sure you see both Bonachela and Godani’s work with Sydney Dance Company.
March 29-April 16
Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay