Review: Sydney Dance Company’s world class Ascent

Sydney Dance Company‘s highly-anticipated triple bill, Ascent, opened with a spectacular performance at the iconic Sydney Opera House, leaving audiences in awe of the beautifully curated programme of outstanding contemporary dance.

Artistic Director and Choreographer Rafael Bonachela promised a thrilling night and he certainly delivered, showcasing the company’s exceptional dancers and featuring award-winning choreographers.

Opening night evening started with sipping champagne under the magnificent sails of the Sydney Opera House as the sun set pink and orange hues over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

This world famous location was contrast by an intimate stage that opened with Bonachela’s I Am-ness which sees four dancers moving to the emotive strings of the violin. The 13-minute piece reflects the concept of “I Am-ness”, the co-existence of the physical and the conscious, the body and the mind, expressed by the morphing, intertwining, touching and responding, flowing and endless movement of the divine dancers creating a beautiful, rippling organism.

Marina Mascarell’s The Shell, A Ghost, The Host and The Lyrebird by Pedro Greig

Internationally renowned choreographer Marina Mascarell was invited by Bonchela to set a piece on the company. Inspired by her experience in Australia, Mascarell’s stunning The Shell, A Ghost, The Host & The Lyrebird reveals a visual and soundscape that captures the quiet essence of this vast country, filled with the sounds of Australian birds.

The stage is adorned with billowing patchwork sails suspended by ropes, pulleys and weights, and manoeuvred by the dancers who were dressed in translucent costumes that seemed to be moved by the winds, creating a constantly undulating motion that passed over and around the dancers’ bodies. This emotional piece gifted the dancers solos, duets and coalesced moments that showcased their fluidity, technicality and artistry.

Antony Hamilton’s Forever & Ever by Pedro Greig

The final piece of the evening, the Helpmann Award-winning Forever & Ever by Antony Hamilton opens with a line of black and white cloaked ominous futuristic beings slowly swaying onto a stark stage, that transforms into a pulsating, post-apocalyptic, artificial intelligent night club, filled with robotic dancers dressed in eye-catching chromatic layered costumes that seemed to have come from a dark corner of a multi-verse. The hip hop, body popping, high energy sequenced movements of the dancers, create a fast-paced techno piece that brought the house down.

Sydney Dance Company is taking Ascent on an Australian national tour, before heading off to Europe. Make no mistake, this is a serious contemporary dance company with highly trained, versatile dancers that deserves a place on the world stage. Do not miss the chance to see this accomplished company that will no doubt take the world by storm.

Ascent runs from 15 March – 26 March 2023 at the Sydney Opera House, with the Australian national tour from May – August 2023.

For more information and tickets visit: Sydney Dance Company