2 One Another, choreographed by Rafael Bonachela

Sydney Dance Company | Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay, Sydney | Until 31 March

Rafael Bonachela is the new and illustrious Artistic Director of the Sydney Dance Company and 2 One Another, his latest full-length production, is in its world-premiere season in the Sydney Theatre.

It is a visually spectacular piece that conceptually explores the subject of the individual in relationships and groups.

Poet and writer Samuel Webster has layered textual expression that acts as a backdrop and catalyst, both visually and metaphorically, whilst challenging the normal concept of contemporary dance.

Nick Wales’s composition delivers a varied score in four movements, incorporating diverse musical styles which examine emotions that arise when we connect to each other. A disorientating composition incorporating sound bytes begins the work, whilst geometrical and extraordinarily precise percussive movements recoil and redirect the dancers across and around the stage.

The choreography is challenging, with intense, intricate and repeatedly mutating patterns, but the 16 members of the troupe — Natalie Allen, Emily Amisano, Chris Aubrey, Juliette Barton, Lachlan Bell, Thomas Bradley, Chen Wen, Richard Cilli, Andrew Crawford, Janessa Dufty, Bernhard Knauer, Annabel Knight, Wayne Parsons, Jesse Scales, Todd Sutherland and Charmen Yap — form a cohesive ensemble representative of the best dancers in Australia. Their athleticism is extraordinary. Easy elevations and extensions, at times irregular, sometimes industrial and machine-like, showcase what a highly trained body can achieve.

Universality and personal intimacy underpin the work and a series of duos and quartets exploring ‘loving and falling’ are sinuously and sensually sculptured by the dancers, before finally building into the inspirational climax of being ‘pushed over the edge’.

Tony Assness design is sparse and bare. A fibre-optic backdrop integrates with the music and movement of the dancers, whilst Benjamin Cisterne’s bold lighting is precisely paced and coordinated.

It is dense and abstract, and though the narrative was not always transparent it was utterly absorbing and mesmerising, innovative, and beautiful to watch. The dancers command the audience’s entire attention by channelling different levels of intensity, turning 2 One Another into a totally absorbing experience. Thumbs up!