Made by Philippe Charluet and Pedro Greig, the film is tightly edited into eight minutes, according to the program schedule. It is a true celebration. Happy birthday!
Then comes 6 Breaths, a revival of one of the first works Bonachela made for the SDC. Its highlight is a male duet, a partnership in which this choreographer excels.
The dancers are recent recruits to the company, Riley Fitzgerald and Dimitri Kleioris, and their performance was exhilarating: physically robust and emotionally delicate, a rare combination.
The ensemble of 15 dancers was up to the company’s usual impressive standard. Quite a few had their moments in the spotlight, maintaining the interest between some relatively dull group sequences.
After interval comes Us 50, the commissioned work that headlines this season, with its combination of current and past SDC dancers and 25 audience members adding up to 50 people on stage.
For the record, the former SDC dancers are Bradley Chatfield, Sheree da Costa, Kate Dunn, Lea Francis, Kip Gamblin, Linda Ridgway Gamblin, Stefan Karlsson, Wakako Kubara (Asano), Bill Pengelly and Nina Veretennikova.
Disappointingly, there isn’t much to say about them. Sheree da Costa begins the action alone on stage, gesturing with her exceptionally graceful arms and hands. Bradley Chatfield has a puzzled walk around by himself a bit later, and others feature briefly doing not very much.
In fact, nobody does very much. It’s as if everyone has to stay at the level of a non-dancer from the audience. This is a sad waste of talent and skill.
Choreographer of Us 50, Gideon Obarzanek, has shown himself in recent presentations – with live music as a major element – to be adept at dealing with large groups of people in practical and pleasing ways.
In a program note, he says he is focusing on handing down dance between generations and the daily process in the studio. And yes, you can see that through the shadowing of movement, but even the studio is usually more interesting than these basic steps with endlessly waving arms.