What money can’t buy: Rafael Bonachela


Raf Bonachela. | Image by Pedro Greig

What’s your favourite place and why?

The island of Formentera in Spain is a special place for me. It’s a wild and windswept place and somewhere that I can completely relax and unwind.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?

Rossy de Palma is a legendary multidisciplinary artist and I’m lucky to be able to call her a friend.

What was your finest hour?

September 2019 – the honourof having my work ‘ab [intra]’ performed at the Paris Opera Ballet’s prestigious 350th anniversary gala concert was a career defining moment for me. Also being chosen by Cartier earlier this year to be Australia’s first Friend of the Maison has been a special experience for me.

How do you keep your head together?

Spending time reconnecting with good friends is restorative and essential for me. Also daily meditation and exercise helps to keep me sane.

What is your most inspirational piece of music?

I am currently loving a piece of music by the extraordinary firecracker of an artist ROSALIA called, Si Tú Supieras Compañero.

Rosalía. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

What is your favourite piece of literature?

La Casa de Bernarda de Alba, by Federico Garcia Lorca. This is a work that meditates on feminism and oppression in post-war Spain. It’s the story of a household of women in mourning after the death of their father and is such a classic. It’s said to be a metaphor for society after the Spanish Civil War, the horrors of sexual repression as well as the author’s premonition of his own passing.

What performance changed your life?

There are two moments that stand out for me: When I moved to London to pursue a career as a dancer in my early 20s, I saw a performance by the incomparable Pina Bausch that really changed me. It was an extraordinarily inspiring moment that helped to cement my decision to pursue a career as a choreographer.

Pina Bausch. Photo source: Getty Images

The other is seeing the masterpiece, Quintett, by legendary choreographer William Forsythe, in London, at around the same time. It was like nothing I’d ever seen. I really connected with it – it was so human, so beautiful and so incredibly moving. It was also such a departure from everything else that was happening in the world of contemporary dance at that time. I’ll never forget it.

What makes you happy?

My work makes me so happy and being able to do what I love for a living. I am so fortunate to be able to go to work in a place where I feel motivated and happy and to be able to create. Also, being able to make things happen for other people by supporting emerging talent and giving back to the industry is important to me.