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Winter 2000 Newsletter from Sydney

By Jennifer Leake Ó

Hello to those of you familiar with me from my New York newsletters and to all new readers. As I've recently moved down-under to Sydney, from now on I will be keeping you up to date with the dance scene here in Sydney and further afield, where possible.

First on the agenda is the Sydney Olympic [forum] Arts Festival…
At sunrise on August 18 a daylong welcoming ceremony around Sydney Harbour will launch the last of four arts festivals leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The day's celebrations hold an Aboriginal title, "Tubowgule," meaning "the meeting of the waters." Commencing at Sydney's La Perouse, the site where European settlers made their first contact with Australia's native inhabitants, songs from Sydney's indigenous community will pave the way for dancing. By sunset, the opening celebrations make their way to the Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House for an extravaganza featuring 300 performers and directed by indigenous Australian choreographer, Stephen Page (Bangarra Dance Theatre).

When night closes in the Australian Artistic Director of London's DV8 Physical Theatre, Lloyd Newson, will present a new work created on Australian dancers. I've read press material that named the piece "Wasted" and spoken to publicity representatives who prefer not to give Newson's work a title. So, name or no name, Newson's Sydney premiere uses as its subject matter, society's "not so perfect." On another downtown Sydney stage. Asian-grown Cloud Gate Dance Theatre will perform "Nine Songs" and "Moon Water." Both dances are by the troupe's Artistic Director Lin Hwai-Min. Just when you thought Sydney's long-established resident contemporary dance troupe, Sydney Dance Company (SDC), may have been overlooked, the group opens a brief Sydney season with "Mythologia," a world premiere. Choreographed by long-time Artistic Director, Graeme Murphy, to a score by Australia's contemporary composer, Carl Vine, "Mythologia" will feature the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir alongside the company's 17 dancers.

As the Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony [forum] at Sydney's Olympic Park edges closer (September 15), Sydney's arts festival concentrates more on international diversity than national patriotism. On August 30, Tanztheater Wuppertal performs Pina Bausch's "Masurca Fogo" for the company's first appearance down-under in 18 years. One day later and just around the corner, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will present "You Walk?" by Bill T. Jones. On September 8, the Australian Ballet (AB), the country's major ballet company, will grace Sydney's stages in works by Stephen Baynes, Twyla Tharp, Maurice Bejart, William Forsythe and Jiri Kylian. However the dance-loving public's attention will most likely be focused on well-publicised French guest artist, Sylvie Guillem. On September 14, Guillem will also star in a gala heralding the arrival of the Olympic torch at Sydney Opera House en-route to the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.

While Sydney's entire population is focused on the world's major sporting competition at Sydney's Olympic Park, Stephen Page's Bangarra Dance Theatre will bring a world premiere to Sydney Opera House, on September 19. Page's "Skin" is a double-bill comprising two acts, "Shelter" and "Spear." One can only hope that dance still features in the calendar of Sydney's population by the time Australia's indigenous choreographer struts his contemporary dance beneath the proscenium arch.

I know, I know, Sydney isn't the only city in Australia with a dance calendar. In fact, the continent heralds three ballet companies (West Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet and of course, AB) and at least twice as many established contemporary dance troupes (Bangarra, SDC, Chunky Move Expressions, Tasdance and more). Melbourne and Brisbane will also hold their own festivals over the next months. For more details, check out these websites:

For a general listing of arts events, news and links in all of Australia, check out the ausarts2000 website.

To readers and Australian dance community: please feel free to contact me if there is anything dance-related you would like included in the next editions of this newsletter. Thanks and "happy dance-going!"

 

Please join us in our forum for a discussion of the above news events or click on any of the [forum] links above for the corresponding topic.

Edited by Azlan Ezaddin


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