Rafael Bonachela’s 360°

Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

31/07/2009 - 01/08/2009

Christchurch Arts Festival 2009

Production Details

The acclaimed Sydney Dance Company present 360°, an explosive amalgam of dance, music and video that explores the experiences of contemporary urban life. Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company, is one of modern dance’s most influential choreographers; he is a veteran of the Rambert Dance Company, has produced work for many of Europe’s top dance companies, and choreographed Kylie Minogue’s Fever Tour, as well as projects with MTV, Tina Turner and Primal Scream. 

In 360° dancers explore a vast technical aesthetic accompanied by an ever-dynamic set that constantly skews the view of the audience; as one thread of the work develops, another immediately draws our attention, resulting in a visceral and engaging night of dance theatre.

More information on Sydney Dance Company
Watch a clip of the show 
31 July, 7.30pm
1 August, 1.00pm & 7.30pm 
Isaac Theatre Royal 
A Reserve: $59
Concession/Friend: $54
B Reserve: $49
C Reserve: $39 

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Notions of The Matrix hang around all night

Review by Dr Mark James Hamilton 01st Aug 2009

Bars of light and numbers flash on a glitter-thread curtain: I see the streaming code from The Matrix titles. The animation coalesces to form a labyrinth, which we hurtle down. The illusion of movement is cinematic.

Throughout the work, a huge rear screen is chocker. Kinky close-ups of orchids. Wicked tunnel chases. Sand flying upwards off a skull. Oddities triggering flickers of half-remembered dreams. Train horns and helicopters fade away into a celestial chord, and a crack appears between giant mirrors.

The opening soloist ingeniously melts and whips her body to morph with astounding virtuosity. Adding to this technical aplomb, the first male soloist shudders and spasms, imploding into his self. He pumps his Ferrari-like ballet body, seeking a whiff of failure, a dramatic trauma. But overall the company all seem distanced by technique from the emotional dimensions of their bodies. They are perfectly calm.

My highlight moment is when four dancers in zebra (or tattooed) unitards intrude on a quartet of men in loose shirts. The two groups’ paths interweave, but they remain in discrete worlds, oblivious to one another. It is as if we see layers of history, simultaneous planes of reality. 

But there is synthesis too. While black surf with silver spray pounds on screen, a duo surge through tumbling spins and cascading lifts and swings. I recall the undertow of a rip tide. And in front of footage of a road tunnel, a guy dances a rolling solo, linking phrases seamlessly with a long continued impulse. There is release and development. "We’re on", I say. This tall guy. Maybe "He is the One?"

You see, for me, notions of The Matrix hang around all night, and the projected warren of streaming code and numbers return to close. To a jungle beat, the troupe – ranked across the stage – advance slowly on the audience, thrashing and writhing with measure. Post-modern Busby Berkley? Borderline pop? The show toys throughout with breaking. But does Bonachela resist the groove because he fears he does it too well? (Remember, he gave Kylie her moves!).

The cast vanish, the mirrors close tight, and suddenly I see, it is actually rather like the set of A Chorus Line.
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