Celebrating 10 years of New Breed – the leading showcase of Australian choreographic talent

SDC New Breed Eliza Cooper Beau Dean Riley Smith Tra Mi Dinh and Riley Fitzgerald photo by Pedro GreigWith the support of Principal Partner The Balnaves Foundation, Sydney Dance Company and Carriageworks will present the commissioned works of four Australian dance makers for this year’s exciting tenth anniversary of New Breed at Carriageworks this December.

New Breed 2023 provides Australian choreographers with an invaluable opportunity to work with Australia’s leading contemporary dance company on a newly commissioned piece.

New Breed is well established as Australia’s most exciting showcase of raw talent and fresh ideas from some of the country’s most gifted emerging choreographers including Beau Dean Riley Smith, Eliza Cooper, Tra Mi Dinh and Riley Fitzgerald – who have each choreographed a new work which will have its world premiere at Carriageworks:

  • Wiradjuri and Gamillaraay man Beau Dean Riley Smith, award-winning dancer, choreographer and actor who performed with Bangarra Dance Theatre from 2013 to 2022. Riley Smith’s work gubba explores Australia’s frontier wars and the violent history of how colonial Australia was established. Featuring narration from Jeff Wayne’s 1978 musical score of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, the work draws parallels between this seminal story of alien invasion, and the destructive forces of colonialism. Creating work with non-Indigenous artists for the first time, Riley Smith tells the story of first contact from a white perspective, looking at it through a black lens.
  • Eliza Cooper, dancer, choreographer, costume designer and this year’s recipient of a prestigious ATLAS Choreographic Training Programme scholarship for ImPulsTanz: Vienna International Dance Festival. Cooper’s work evolved from her interest in the notions of canon, legacy and convention, and how they manifest in the iconic Spaghetti Western film genre. Investigating what it means to employ archetype, symbolism and narrative, the work emerges as a criticism of the reality Cooper sees around her: a world where dark histories are trivialised, bodies sexualised and artists utilised to perform roles in stories; a superficial world that shies away from complexity.
  • Riley Fitzgerald, current Sydney Dance Company dancer who returns to Australia after two years with the Ballet National de Marseille, France. Fitzgerald’s work, Everyb0dy’s g0t a b0mb, is inspired by the music festival Woodstock ‘99, and explores the sociological phenomena ‘collective effervescence’, coined by French sociologist Émile Durkheim. Looking at the energy and behaviours that emerge within large groups of people, central to the work is the relationship between the dancers, the environment and the music.
  • Tra Mi Dinh, dancer, choreographer and recipient of the Keir Choreographic Award for 2022. Dinh’s work is a study on twilight, illuminating and expanding the moments between day and night. An ode to change, the choreography explores the movement of light and the experience of witnessing its transformation across the sky in real time.

New Breed made its debut in November 2014, supporting emerging Australian choreographers through the commissioning and presentation of new dance work. Since its inception, the initiative has seen 35 emerging dance artists present world premiere works, such as leading contemporary choreographer Melanie Lane, and Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre, Daniel Riley.

“Over the last ten years, New Breed has been instrumental in helping to support the early careers of some of Australia’s most exciting emerging dancemakers, many of whom are now acclaimed, internationally recognised choreographers, who continue to push the boundaries of contemporary dance and champion progressive ideas,” said Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela.

“I can’t wait for audiences to see the incredible new works by this year’s four choreographers for our New Breed 2023 program, and look forward to the continuation of this invaluable initiative for many years to come,” said Bonachela.

“Carriageworks is incredibly proud to have worked with Sydney Dance Company and The Balnaves Foundation over the last ten years on such an important initiative,” said Carriageworks CEO, Fergus Linehan.

This year’s instalment of New Breed promises to deliver another ambitious program of innovative choreographic work by some of Australia’s most compelling choreographic voices, brought to life on the Carriagework stage,” said Linehan.

“Celebrating ten years of New Breed is an extremely exciting milestone,” said Victoria Balnaves. “The Foundation is proud to have been supporting this vital program since its inception in 2014, and to witness the impact New Breed has had, for not just the choreographers, but the dancers and the audiences over the past decade has been a privilege.”

“The Balnaves Foundation’s support of these up-and-coming artists in their practice and seeing their vision brought to life by Sydney Dance Company remains an important part of our commitment to cultivating the future of the Arts in Australia,” said Balnaves.

The tenth instalment of New Breed will see Sydney Dance Company, The Balnaves Foundation, and Carriageworks continue their commitment to the future of Australian contemporary dance.

New Breed continues at Carriageworks until 16 December 2023. For more information, visit: www.sydneydancecompany.com for details.

Image: Eliza Cooper, Beau Dean Riley Smith, Tra Mi Dinh and Riley Fitzgerald – photo by Pedro Greig