DANCE IN PREVIEW
Sydney Dance Company director and choreographer Rafael Bonachela is looking forward to premiering in Brisbane for the first time after two years in Australia.
â€œBrisbane was the first city that I visited when I moved here so thereâ€™s a nice connection there,â€ Rafael said. Featuring as part of the Brisbane Festival 2011, â€˜The Land Of Yes And The Land Of Noâ€™ interprets the signs and symbols of everyday life into a sensuous dance. Rafael has always been interested in street signs as he travelled through the UK, Europe and Australia. â€œI loved how they changed from country to country, thereâ€™s something really visually powerful about that, because they are instructions and they are commands and theyâ€™re telling you what to do,â€ he said. â€œI have always been interested in signage and the power it holds. Signs say a lot with very little.â€
Each sign featured in the production is uniquely conveyed to represent the meaning, memories and emotions that it inspires. â€œOne example would be â€˜one wayâ€™. We decided that â€˜one wayâ€™ was optimistic because one way is uncomplicated. Youâ€™re just going down the highway, or youâ€™re cruising Australia and there is one road and there are no distractions. It is just forward, optimistic, happy and uncomplicated.â€
When he first brought everyone together in the research stage, Rafael knew that there was the chance that an obscure concept like this may meet some problems, particularly as he had never actually worked on a whole piece with theatre composer Ezio Bosso before. â€œIt could have been a disaster, it could have been that we never actually connected. Yet from the word go he really responded to the way that we responded - to the dance, to ideas,â€ Rafael recalls. â€œWe just clicked.â€
The music and the dancing work together from a slow, calm start, and build up to a dramatic frenzy for the finale. â€œItâ€™s music that has a lot of emotion, itâ€™s music that touches you at an emotional level and thatâ€™s something that Iâ€™m not scared of either.â€ He shows no fear of delving into a number of emotional themes surrounding how people interact, portrayed as a duet on the concept of speed limits and how different they are to each member of a relationship.
â€œIn relationships you meet someone and after a while they sometimes go, â€˜weâ€™re going at different speeds here. Youâ€™re going too fast for me or youâ€™re going too slowâ€™.â€
Speaking of relationships, after two years with the Sydney Dance Company, Rafael has developed a relationship with his dancers and has an understanding of what they are capable of. â€œI know these dancers very well now. The relationship has gone a step ahead because I havenâ€™t left it where it was, because I know how this person responds and Iâ€™m gonna push it.â€
Rafael has toured this performance through the UK and Europe in 2010 but this time he has increased the cast and worked on lots of new scenes to utilise the extra dancers. â€œIâ€™m a different person two years on and I think Iâ€™ve learnt much more about choreography so I can look at things that I did then and go â€˜oh god why didnâ€™t I think of this beforeâ€™ or â€˜this can actually make that better or differentâ€™.â€
When asked if he misses dancing now that he is on the production side of performance arts, he doesnâ€™t hesitate in his response. â€œI donâ€™t actually. I think itâ€™s simply because even when I was a professional dancer and I was choreographing, I never had a wish to choreograph for myself.â€
Usually when a dancer starts choreographing they do around ten solos for themselves before they start choreographing others. Rafael didnâ€™t wait though, skipping straight to choreographing for other dancers. â€œIâ€™m quite happy being on the other side.â€
The Sydney Dance Company already has two productions lined up for next year that they only announced last week. One in which involves them collaborating with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. With all this in the works, it doesnâ€™t look like Rafael will get any time off soon, but he doesnâ€™t seem concerned. â€œNo rest but itâ€™s exciting so itâ€™s good.â€
As part of the Brisbane Festival 2011, â€˜The Land Of Yes And The Land Of Noâ€™ runs at the Playhouse, QPAC from September 28 - October 1.