During the opening night performance of Rafael Bonachela’s new work for the Sydney Dance Company, Limelight’s Jo Litson heard someone quietly start to cry in the row behind her.
“ … this is dance that burrows deep within you, triggering all kinds of emotions,” she writes in her assessment of ab [intra].
“Made with the dancers of the company, who undertook a series of intense improvisations at the start of the rehearsal process, it has an extraordinary power, speaking about relationships, yearning, connections, anguish and trust, exploring the power we have to draw others to us and also to push them away, about longing to fit in yet struggling with loneliness and despair.”
Bonachela’s first full-length work created for the company in 6 years, is, Litson concludes, “dazzling, electrifying, heartfelt.”
Jill Sykes (Sydney Morning Herald) describes ab [intra] as “a bold and attractive show” in her review. “[Bonachela] has produced a series of physical challenges for the Sydney Dance Company that, once again, its dancers overcome with impressive athleticism and energy.”
Charmene Yap and Davide Di Giovanni come in for particular praise for a lengthy duet: “The intricate entanglement of their limbs has to be seen to be believed – and even then it is something of a mystery.”
Writing for the Daily Review, Martin Portus was impressed by the work’s “inventive beauty and complexity of human relations” and by its score: “As with 2 One Another, frequent collaborator, composer Nick Wales again offers Bonachela a richly varied musical palette, here driving the movement with a pulsating score alternating electronica and high impact percussion with quieter introspections, single piano and string textures.”
The collaboration between Wales and Bonachela is, writes Time Out’s Ben Neutze, “arguably the greatest strength of this work – as Wales seems to be exploring the emotional and physical extremes that can be wrenched out of string instruments … Bonachela is right there by his side exploring the emotional and physical extremes that his dancers can reach.”
“This is contemporary dance at its most evocative and beautiful,” Neutze concludes.