DanceX set to unite Australian dance community this October

SDC-ab-intra-photo-by-pedro-greigThis October, dance companies from around Australia will come together in an Australian first to perform in DanceX – a Melbourne-based festival conceived and curated by The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David Hallberg to celebrate Australian dance.

First announced in 2021 before falling victim to COVID-19 lockdowns, DanceX will give dance-lovers a unique opportunity to experience some of the nation’s top dance companies performing alongside each other at Arts Centre Melbourne in a festival which showcases the depth and diversity of talent in Australia’s vibrant dance community.

With an additional year to plan, and further validating David Hallberg’s vision, DanceX will now feature nine companies, with the addition of two more First Nations’ companies – taking the total number of participating First Nations companies to three – and will include three unique programs.

Joining The Australian Ballet for DanceX will be Australian Dance Theatre, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Chunky Move, Karul Projects, Lucy Guerin Inc, Marrugeku, Queensland Ballet and Sydney Dance Company.

This unique festival of dance will be performed in three parts running from the 20th of October to the 1st of November. Part One will run from 20 – 22 October, Part Two from 25 – 28 October and Part Three from 29 October – 1 November 2022.

DanceX will feature two world premieres by Chunky Move and Lucy Guerin Inc, commissioned by The Australian Ballet.

DanceX is more than a celebration of dance, it is a celebration of survival, growth, conversation, connection and movement. The festival is testament to Hallberg’s determination to engage with Australia’s wider dance community and Australian audiences through inclusive contemporary ideas and collaborations.

“There has never been a more important time for DanceX than in 2022; an opportunity to reconnect and celebrate the vibrancy of dance here in Australia after the challenges of the past few years,” said The Australian Ballet Artistic Director, David Hallberg.

“With our collective resilience, we connect with each other and our audiences through DanceX, showing the diversity of creation through dance. Australia’s dance community has always embodied fearless creative expression, varying from classical ballet to contemporary movement, modern dance to performance art.”

“Like most arts sectors, the dance community’s spark has been dimmed by the pandemic. Lockdowns and restrictions temporarily took away the most important aspect that validates our artform – the opportunity to perform to live audiences. Every chance to perform to an audience is now a privilege for us,” said Hallberg.

DanceX has been designed as a platform for these outstanding companies to express their own vision and identity, and for audiences to experience the talent and diversity of Australia’s dance world under one festival. With several World and Australian premieres DanceX is set to truly deliver on this vision.

The Australian Ballet will perform works in all three parts, with each of the other companies featuring in one of the programs. In Part One and Part Two, The Australian Ballet will premiere Johan Inger’s comic, romantic dance theatre piece I New Then – set to songs by Van Morrison; Inger, a Swedish choreographer, danced with Nederlands Dans Theater and has made works for leading companies all over Europe.

Part Three will see the Company Premiere Imposter by Lucas Jervis and Solstice by their Resident Choreographer Alice Topp. Australian Dance Theatre will perform The Third – a work by their new Artistic Director Daniel Riley. The Third takes as its starting point mulunma – Inside Within, his 2021 RISING: Melbourne commission which explores the relationship between the Western archive and a First Nations archive, each built on differing ideologies. The Third extends these concepts by looking at the body as an archive and how we hold memories personally and collectively.

Bangarra Dance Theatre will perform Terrain – a breathtaking exploration of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, our largest salt-lake. Choreographed by Frances Rings, the nine-part performance evokes the power of body and land converging to bring the spirit to place. Chunky Move will present AB TA_Response – a commission by The Australian Ballet that explores the rhythm of forms between dance and design and considers the dialogue between biological and technological systems.

Karul Projects will perform SILENCE, choreographed by Thomas E.S. Kelly. Through the beating of a drum, bodies thrash through white noise to continue a 250-year-old struggle. The same questions echoed through generations. SILENCE pulls Treaty out from under the rug, slams it back on the table and, with riveting intent, invites you to the conversation.

As another Australian Ballet commission, Lucy Guerin Inc will Premiere, How To Be Us – a duet for two women that integrates improvised movement devised by each dancer with strict patterns and formal structures directed by the choreographer. It explores questions of liberty, both individual and communal, in the context of a world that is torn apart by its conflicting ideas of freedom.

Marrugeku’s Gudirr Gudirr calls a warning, the guwayi bird calls when the tide is turning – to miss the call is to drown. An intimate solo dance and video work performed by Dalisa Pigram, daughter of Broome. By turns hesitant, restless, resilient and angry, Gudirr Gudirr lights a path from a broken past through a fragile present and on to a future still in the making.

Queensland Ballet will present Glass Concerto by choreographer Greg Horsman. An assemblage of high energy, dynamic and emotional movement, Glass Concerto captures the pulse and escalating intensity of composer Philip Glass in this neo-classical work.

Sydney Dance Company will present Rafael Bonachela’s ab [intra]. Meaning ‘from within’ in Latin ab [intra] is “an exploration of our primal instincts, our impulses and our visceral responses”. From tenderness to turmoil, ab [intra] is a journey through the intensity of human existence that will command your attention. Composed by Nick Wales, the music fuses lush cello with ambient electronica as dancers occupy a visually arresting ethereal world.


PART ONE: 20 – 22 October (4 shows)
The Australian Ballet: I New Then
Sydney Dance Company: ab[intra]
Lucy Guerin Inc: How To Be Us
Bangarra Dance Theatre: Terrain

PART TWO: 25 – 28 October (4 shows)
The Australian Ballet: I New Then
Queensland Ballet: Glass Concerto
Karul Projects: SILENCE

PART THREE: 29 October – 1 November (4 shows)
Australian Dance Theatre: The Third
Chunky Move: AB_TA_Response*
The Australian Ballet: Lucas Jervies – Imposter and Alice Topp – Solstice
Marrugeku: Gudirr Gudirr

For more information about The Australian Ballet’s DanceX program, visit: for details.

Image: Sydney Dance Company: ab[intra] – photo by Pedro Greig