Sydney Dance Company has debuted its latest triple bill, Triptych, in Sydney this week, to be followed by a national tour. Comprising three works devised by the company’s artistic director Rafael Bonachela – a new work, Variation 10, joins a repeat of his romantic, two-part tribute to the compositions of Benjamin Britten, Les Illuminations – all set to live performance of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and singer Katie Noonan and with costumes by revered designer Toni Maticevski.
What immediately stands out in this performance is the staging. In lieu of significant light and video installations as has been the creative charge of Mr Bonachela in the past, the company this season opts for a simple stage with, interestingly, the orchestra raised behind the dancers rather than buried in the traditional pit. It provides not only context to Ms Noonan’s live performance but also highlights the importance of the orchestra in a production, which often goes unnoticed, and the romanticism of the performers’ instruments – violins, cellos, et al – helps set the scene for Mr Bonachela’s choreography.
Where Triptych lacks the crescendo for which Mr Bonachela is most renowned – to my mind, there is no more significant contemporary dance performance in Australia since the company’s We Unfold production in 2009, bringing together the emotionally haunting music of Ezio Bosso and elemental films of Daniel Askill with mesmerisingly rhythmic and largely synchronised choreography – it instead offers a more intimate portrait of the company’s soloists rendered in pairs. In doing so, it demonstrates the dancers’ own unique skills and a different side of Mr Bonachela’s creativity.