New Breed review – Sydney Morning Herald
December 9, 2015
New Breed review: Sydney Dance company gives fresh talent room to move
By Jill Sykes
]The Sydney Dance Company has finished the year with a burst of new choreography in this show with SDC dancers, and one last week, PPY15 Revealed, in which pre-professional dancers prepared through an SDC education program were given a showing that turned out to be an exhilarating evening.
New Breed presents the work of four choreographers whose experience and thematic concerns are varied. Their combined program, powered by fine dancing from the SDC performers, is not always gripping, but overall worth seeing.
Kristina Chan’s Conform, for eight men, is the standout. It sets a sombre mood in its exploration of pressures that are put on men, beginning with a subtly nuanced scene of slow physical crumbling that draws the viewer in.
In a program note, Chan lists the pressures as “domination, pack mentality, individual versus group, conformity and self-expression”. And in an all too rare example of a stated dance idea being realised in performance, that is exactly what you see – with a psychological dimension rounding out the impact.
Chan’s choreography has been interesting to watch over the past few years. Conform is a benchmark of maturity and an achievement shared by the ensemble of dancers, whose sensitivity equals the muscular strength of their dancing.
Derived gave SDC member Bernhard Knauer a chance to choreograph to music by his father, Jurgen. The result is an exceptionally close communion between movement and music. Both flow with intense, rippling phrases that involve the viewer/listener.
It is only a brief piece of eight minutes that would need considerable development if it was to last any longer. But it shows promise in its dynamic manipulation of the body – epitomised by Holly Doyle’s opening solo – and fresh ideas for staging.
Fiona Jopp has taken the old tune, Greensleeves, as her springboard for some fun with history, childhood memories, sexual and material pleasures in So Much, Doesn’t Matter. It’s light and mostly frothy, with dark moments.
Reign, by Daniel Riley, features eight women on a theme of female power and how it can be overthrown. Its Aboriginal elements give it visual impact but it lacks choreographic ideas to take it beyond its bold first impressions.