Sydney Dance Company's contemporary dance performance Ascent, which brims with movement, emotion and experimentation, will arrive at The Princess Theatre in August.
Fusing contemporary classical forms to futuristic dance, Ascent comprises three innovative works from local and international talents.
The arresting portrait of contemporary dance and its potential to move, excite and activate audiences combines the dance company's newly created I Am-ness, a commissioned work from Spanish choreographer Marina Mascarell's - The Shell, A Ghost, The Host & The Lyrebird - and Antony Hamilton's Forever & Ever.
Rafael Bonachela, Sydney Dance Company's artistic director, conceived the triple-billed show, commissioning the renowned Mascarell's first Australian production, reviving Hamilton's 2018 creation Forever & Ever, and choreographing his own contribution, I-Am-ness.
Bonachela said his piece is born from a concept similar to meditation known as I-am-ness - for which the show borrows its title.
"Every work that I make, the way that I go about it is different. My inspiration was this very beautiful, powerful and very emotive piece of music," he said.
That piece is contemporary Latvian composer Pteris Vasks' Lonely Angel, a 12-minute violin and string "meditation", a hushed melancholy ode to our sense of being.
"The music led me to that concept of - directly from the words of Vask - meditation and to I-am-ness," Bonachela said.
I-am-ness is "where we as humans are physical and conscious at the same time," according to Bonachela - effectively the idea that the body exists as more than a physical form; it has a mental one, too.
"We are body and mind," Bonachela said.
"And for me, a dancer is the perfect example of that; they are masters of their bodies who are, when they perform, fully conscious of the moment and their art."
For Bonachela's piece, the dancers become "one breath and one heartbeat". And I-am-ness is also part of his wider vision of dance as a "poetry of the body".
"What you feel, it could be very different to the person sitting next to you, just like an abstract painting, or even a poem," he said.
"Contemporary dance can be very narrative, or political or very abstract; it can be anything.
"The beautiful thing about contemporary dance is the range, for me, but my interest really lies in the body, and how the body itself can transmit so much."
Bonachela's piece opens Ascent, and is followed by Mascarell's The Shell, A Ghost, The Host & The Lyrebird - a journey of "bodies towards the unknown, as mutant creatures in an oneiric valley".
It is a place where the dancers abandon binarisms and old forms to embrace a transition process from what we were and are to what we will be.
Sydney Dance Company performer Jesse Scales is a soloist in The Shell, the Ghost, The Host & the Lyrebird, and is originally from Tasmania and said the show was incredible to be part of.
"We create this world on stage by incorporating large sails into our performance," Scales said.
"We move with the structure; we're a part of it, it is part of us.
"Marina's work is really, really enjoyable as an artist and an audience."
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Scales also performs a solo in Forever & Ever, the Helpmann Award-winning show which is set to a sonically stimulating score by The Presets' Julian Hamilton, fusing a "killer mix of dance, techno, high fashion and vivid lighting" to hypnotic effect.
Sydney Dance Company is offering a free sneak peak opportunity of Ascent on Wednesday, August 2, at 12pm to 1pm where participants can have a "fly-on-the-wall" experience watching the rehearsal before a Q&A.
"I believe there's so many people walking the street that don't even know yet that they like contemporary dance," Bonachela said
"There are barriers to being able to see these things, and in my role, I want people to have access to contemporary dance.
"That's why we open up the doors in a way and break down the walls."
Ascent arrives at Launceston's Princess Theatre on Wednesday, August 2, from 7.30pm, with tickets available at the Theatre North Website.
Registration for Wednesday's sneak peak can be made through email@example.com
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