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Rafael Bonachela’s 360°

Published on Sat, 30 May 2009

For Manda’s birthday this year I gave her tickets to Rafael Bonachela’s 360°, a contemporary dance performance by the Sydney Dance Company. The performance was in the Playhouse at the Arts Centre (Melbourne). Unfortunately it didn’t meet our expectations.

Now let me preface the rest of the post with the following: We’re hardly connoisseurs of the fine arts. Instead we got the bulk of our prior exposure to contemporary dance through channel Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance. I’m sure the purists out there would scoff at that but we wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of seeing 360° were it not for the show.

With that out of the way let me continue by starting at the end. After the performance finished and we’d endured what seemed like several minutes of applause with much bowing and cutting of lights only for them to return again, Manda and I both said nothing to each other about it. We were both feeling underwhelmed and wanted to withhold our comments until out of ear shot of people that might not agree.

The performance seemed to lack any coherent story. The music choices seemed inappropriate to even tell a story and the projected backdrops seemed to have no relationship with what was going on on-stage. I was left feeling that I was not on the right level to understand it and some aspects were “arty” for arts sake. For example the sand covered skull with the sand falling in reverse to slowly reveal the skull.

Ignoring the aspects I didn’t like there was still things that I did like. The skill of the dancers was most impressive. The use of light and mirrors was creative and clever. However overall the experience was a disappointment. I’m hoping that we will find another contemporary performance to see in the future that will live up to our perhaps uncultured expectations.

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