Sydney Dance Company Cacti photo by Peter GreigHot off the back of their 2016 sell out European and South Americans tours, Sydney Dance Company returns with an exhilarating double bill, titled CounterMove at the Canberra Theatre Centre, and Melbourne’s Southbank Theatre, before embarking on a national regional tour.

Alexander Ekman’s brilliantly conceived Cacti sees 16 dancers stand – seemingly trapped – on oversized Scrabble tiles. While a string quartet plays, and spoken recordings give tongue-in-cheek narration of the action; the dancers run, fall, writhe and try to escape their invisible prisons. Eventually (and this is the important bit), they each acquire a cactus. The question of “What does it all mean?” becomes increasingly irrelevant as audiences laugh out loud with the joy of being entertained.

Originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Cacti is one of Ekman’s most popular and successful pieces, having left a global trail of rapturous reviews, created early in his career at the age of 26. Since then he has skyrocketed to celebrity as one of Europe’s most highly soughtafter artists, commissioned by more than 45 leading dance companies around the globe, including Nederlands Dans Theater, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Atlanta Ballet.

Named for the Latin term meaning ‘Light in Darkness’, Bonachela’s Lux Tenebris takes its cue from a rich industrial-meets-electronic soundscape by Australian composer Nick Wales, in which he juxtaposes one force with another to ‘create a musical tug of war between light and the dark’.

Renowned for his unique compositions – a hybrid between classical forms, electronic and popular music – Wales is the wunderkind behind the band CODA as well as a regular collaborator with artists including Sarah Blasko.

In his fifth collaboration with Rafael Bonachela and his sixth with Sydney Dance Company, Wales says he mashed preexisting musical elements, sketches and field recordings – of Pluto’s atmosphere, Monks in Seoul, the sound of beehives, archaic Ethiopian religious processions and fireworks in Lismore. His process involved forming layers of sound, until he created something that he believed in.

“A winning combination that, on the one hand provokes and entertains, and on the other confronts and moves its audience in a dazzling evening of dance.” – Limelight Magazine

Canberra Theatre Centre, London Circuit, Canberra
Season: 19 – 21 May 2016
Information and bookings:

The Sumner – Southbank Theatre, 140 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Season: 25 May – 4 June 2016
Information and bookings:

CounterMove will also tour to selected regional venues from June to August. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Alexander Ekman’s Cacti – photo by Peter Greig