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2012 Event Media Release - Spring Dance

June 5, 2012

Sydney Opera House Presents


Sydney's International Dance Festival

Sydney Opera House today unveiled a vibrant and eclectic program for Spring Dance 2012 – Australia’s only international festival of contemporary dance – curated by Rafael Bonachela.

Brimming with energy, and with an international flavour, the two week festival will be a celebration of movement, infused with Rafael’s spirit and his passion for dance. The festival, which will take over Sydney Opera House’s Western Foyers, includes an evening of four world premieres, three Australian premieres and offers up an assortment of dance and music styles to Spring Dance audiences.

"Sydney Opera House is a place of dance. We have a rich history of artists who have come from across the world to dance on our stages which today sit beside the ancient footprints of old ceremonies that have been performed on the harbour foreshores for eons." - Sydney Opera House Executive Producer Jonathan Bielski

Running from 20 August – 2 September, the festival will get off to a sizzlingly sensual start when Sydney Opera House welcomes back Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. He will perform on stage for the first Australian presentation of Dunas, created and choreographed with renowned flamenco dancer María Pagés who will perform in Australia for the first time.

The French choreographer Mourad Merzouki and his troupe of 11 dancers from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro will take Sydney by storm with their energetic fusion of hip hop, capoeira and samba with their double bill Agwa and Correria. By contrast, Beijing’s TAO Dance Theatre will also make their Australian debut, presenting the elegantly pared-back dances Weight x 3 and 2, set against the music of legendary minimalist composer Steve Reich.

Sydney Opera House and Sydney Dance Company will shine a light on female choreography with the world premiere of Contemporary Women – a series of four innovative works created by female Australian choreographers and performed by Sydney Dance Company’s dancers. The pieces, currently in development, will be further illustrated by a specially commissioned film and photography exhibition in the Western Foyers by Peter Greig. Also celebrating home-grown talent will be Clouds Above Berlin choreographed and performed by Antony Hamilton and Melanie Lane; and iOU dance solo series which will showcase the best of Sydney’s independent dance scene.

Spring Dance curator Rafael Bonachela said, "From the intellectual and innovative to the joyous and lyrical, there will be so much on offer at this year’s Spring Dance. For dance aficionados there will be some beautiful yet rigorous work presented by some truly inspirational artists. And for those people walking the streets of Sydney who don’t yet know that they love contemporary dance – we’re going to find them and welcome them to our community of dance lovers!"

Jonathan Bielski added, "We invited Rafael to lead Spring Dance not just because he is a artist of international acclaim, which he is, or because he is the most charming man in Sydney, which he most certainly is, but because he is a gifted programmer of other artists’ work and this talent is rare."

Spring Dance will be accompanied by a series of on-site events including post show Q&As and artist-led masterclasses. The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister will lead a free outdoor ballet class and there will be a jazz class taught by Rafael Bonachela and Ramon Doringo. For the first time, the festival will be documented by a photographer in residence, Justin Ridler - keep an eye on the Spring Dance blog to stay up to date with his behind the scenes images. There will be a one-off film screening of Rudolf Nureyev and Robert Helpmann’s 1973 performance of Don Quixote for The Australian Ballet, introduced by David McAllister, offering a rare opportunity to revisit the first official public performance in the Sydney Opera House Opera Theatre. The documentary film Never Stand Still, made at the Jacob’s Pillow festival in Massachusetts, will also offer an insightful glimpse into the world of dancers and choreographers.

Rafael Bonachela will curate Spring Dance for three years, starting in 2012. Rafael was born in Barcelona where he began his early dance training before moving to London to join the Rambert Dance Company in 1992. He remained with Rambert as a dancer and Associate Choreographer until 2004 at which time he established the Bonachela Dance Company to concentrate on the rapid rise of his choreographic career. Bonachela has been Artistic Director of SDC since 2009, where he has programmed and commissioned dance works from Australian and visiting international guest choreographers, alongside his own creations.

Rafael’s career as a dancer has seen him in works by many of the world’s leading choreographers including Merce Cunningham, Richard Alston, Christopher Bruce, Siobhan Davies, Jiri Kylian, Twyla Tharp, Mats Ek, Javier de Frutos, Wayne McGregor, Kim Brandstrup, Mark Baldwin, Jeremy James, Per Jonsson, Lindsay Kemp, Ohad Naharin, Karole Armitage, Matthew Hawkins, Frederick Ashton and Antony Tudor.

As a choreographer, he has been commissioned to make works for Candoco, George Piper Dances, IT Dansa, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Transitions Dance Company and Dance Works Rotterdam amongst others. He has also collaborated with artists and clients including Kylie Minogue, Tina Turner, The Kills and Primal Scream.


Tickets for Spring Dance are from $35 and will go on sale on Wednesday 13 June via or by phone on 02 9250 7777.

Multipack ticket packages will also be available:
Book two events and receive 10% off
Book three events and receive 15% off
Book four or more events and receive 20% off

Keep up to date with Spring Dance 2012
by joining us on Twitter @SydOperaHouse #SpringDanceSyd
our Facebook page
Dance at the House
or online at

Media Information and Images:
Meera Hindocha,
Senior Publicist, Sydney Opera House

02 9250 7834 /  


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