Saturday, September 14, 2013


Sydney Dance Company and Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Canberra Theatre until 14th September.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Dancers of the Sydney dance Company with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in "Project Rameau"
When two of the nation’s foremost performing arts companies join forces there is an expectation that something pretty special will emerge. In this case, it’s a masterwork which exceeds all expectations for the sheer perfection of its exquisite melding of music and dance to illuminate both art forms.

“Project Rameau” is performed to a collection of opulent baroque dance music originally written by Jean-Philippe Rameau for long-forgotten operas and ballets, into which compositions by Vivaldi and Bach have been seamlessly interpolated. Taking his inspiration from this exhilaratingly complex music, choreographer, Rafael Bonachela has responded with an equally fascinating contemporary choreographic vocabulary which brilliantly matches the kaleidoscopic musical mood changes, practically note for note.  His choreographic invention never flags, as his stunning ensemble of impeccably groomed, stylishly costumed dancers perform it with an electrifying √©lan that is simply mesmerising.

The physical presence of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, performing on a raised stage behind the dancers, adds to the power of the presentation with the dancers appearing to take inspiration from the orchestra’s intense music-making to respond with their own stunningly physical interpretations. Wide sweeping upper-body movements contrast  with complex hand gestures as  duos, solos and ensemble passages follow each other  in quick succession reaching its emotional heart  in a gorgeous duet performed by  Charmene Yap, dancing with Bernhard Knauer , to a Bach Sarabande, exquisitely played on solo violin by Dale Barltrop.

Charmene Yap, Bernard Knauer with Dale Bartrop (violin) 
The third essential component of this marvellous work is the inspired set and lighting design of Benjamin Cisterne which insures that every significant gesture of dancer or musician is brought to the attention of the audience. “Project Rameau” is a project not to be missed.
                     (This review appears in the 13.09.13  digital copy of CITY NEWS)

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