• Fiona Prior



Sydney Dance Company

Choreographers: Cheng Tsung-lung, Artistic Director of Cloud Gate 2

Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company

Full Moon, a work by Cheng Tsung-lung, the Artistic Director of Taiwan's extraordinary Cloud Gate 2 ─ who is presently directing Sydney Dance Company performers in this work for the double bill Orb ─ was first off the rank. This striking new piece is described as the harnessing ”… of the moon and the mythology and poetry of mankind”. I first saw this company performing Moon Water in 2000 and experienced something on that evening that was near perfection, a little in line with the above quote, in fact.

Sydney Dance Company’s very own Raphael Bonachela created Ocho, the second work of the night. While Full Moon contains a mythology of colour and ritual, ancient tides and eternal rotations, Bonachela’s Ocho presents an aesthetic of monochrome tones and cool sensuality in both appearance and interaction of the dancers on stage. The two works are perfect foils, the dancers of Full Moon encapsulating concepts of our external universe in their performance while Ocho’s exploration is more about the random sensuality our human interactions contain.

Costume design (by the gifted Fan-Hiai-chih) plays a huge part in the poetry of Full Moon. Way back in 2000, massive silken sheets shimmered and undulated on stage with the fluidity of water, Moon Water hypnotising this member of the audience as the glistening textile sheet was element, costume and canvas for that memorable work. Saturday night’s Full Moon has dancers and unique attire echo the shape of movement and the movement of sound.

These works by Cloud Gate 2 provoke an emotional and imaginative response in the audience that is akin to synaesthesia. I felt that the dancers grace was, for example, round and warm, or cream and cool, or undulating light ... or many of the other concepts evoked by the dancers in their directional costumes and movements. This was a similar aesthetic language to my first encounter with Cloud Gate 2, only this time I was able to identify ‘why’ and not just ‘what’ provoked my imagination’s interaction with the work.

Ocho’s physically streamlined and monochrome wardrobe and stage set (by David Fleischer) is ─ in comparison to the costuming of Full Moon ─ stylised and neutral perfection. It conveys an eroticism and uber coolness that niche fashion marketeers world over are continually shooting for in their attempts to capture the attention of brilliant young things and sophisticated older ones.

Orb is a fabulous evening.

Roslyn Packer Theatre until 13 May in Sydney

17 – 20 May in Melbourne

25 – 27 May in Canberra

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