Entertainment Hive 2018

Sydney Dance Company's De Novo

Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide, August 6 to 8

Review by Honey B

The Sydney Dance Company emerges triumphant with its superbly crafted, intelligent and fun triple dance work, De Novo. De Novo means "afresh'' or ''anew'' and SDC choreographer Rafael Bonachela has strived to do just that and break new ground. To that end, he has worked with talented Australian designer Dion Lee for the costumes and talented musicians Nick Wales and Sarah Blasko, while the stark and beautiful lighting was created by Benjamin Cisterne. The work opens with a trio, two males and one female as they sharply examine the space and each other. There is another beautiful section featuring two male dancers. The music is like another dancer as Blasko's emotive vocals enhance the piece and Wales' progressive electronica score created a language of its own. This work progressively builds to a frenetic crescendo featuring the entire ensemble and the dancers hardly have time to take a breath. Adelaide's own Larissa McGowan has done the impossible and brought the sci-fi movies Alien and Predator to the dance world. McGowan delves into the world of pop culture and strong feminine characters, through the character Ellen Ripley in Alien, as well as mining the depth of diehard fans. There's plenty of abstract movement as the three dancers mime iconic lines to the films and quotes from fans. It is a highly contemporary piece that is a great way to find a new dance audience. The alien-like dance moves were mesmerising and brilliant. But it was Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman's Cacti that stole the show with its pointed observations and brilliant use of the whole dance company on their "ivory'' boxes. The use of a string quartet on-stage added to the exciting nature of this piece. The dancers are not just dancing, but they also become actors and comedians. Just when you are thinking the spiky succulents aren't actually going to make it into the show they appear and there was a hilarious voice-over trying to deconstruct what the choreographer might or might not have been thinking. This reviewer thinks he had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek and Ekman certainly must have truly enjoyed creating this piece. There's also a wonderful piece between two dancers and the audience can hear their thoughts as they go through their steps. It was pure genius and pure fun. These three works go a long way to prove how exciting and fun dance can be - they break the mould in three entirely different and wonderful ways. De Novo also proved that the SDC dancers are at the top of their game and this show is one that should not be missed.
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