A ‘New Breed’ of dance creators have launched in Australia


The ninth installation of Sydney Dance Company’s ‘New Breed’ is showing now at Carriageworks.

Sydney Dance Company and Carriageworks, in conjunction with The Balnaves Foundation have launched the ninth installment of their New Breed initiative with works created by Australian choreographers Sophia Ndaba, Jenni Large, Luke Hayward and Charmene Yap.

New Breed choreographers from left to right: Jenni Large, Sophia Ndaba, Charmene Yap & Luke Hayward. Image: Supplied.

Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela says, “Australia is blessed with an extremely rich talent base of dynamic young dance creators. Yet in order for them to grow in their careers and reach their full potential, they need the opportunity to practice – the chance to take their ideas and put them on the stage in front of an audience. New Breed is about giving the next generation of talented young artists the best possible opportunity to experiment and create. The best dancers, the best production, marketing and publicity support, the best space to perform in at Carriageworks.”

‘The Veil of Separation’ choreographed by Sophia Ndaba looks at the split and fusion of space.

The Veil of Separation . Image: Supplied.

Sophia’s choreographic style is “influenced by so many different things in my life – I really have been influenced by hip hop plus spending so many years in the contemporary world and really drawing from that vocabulary. But when it comes to specific concepts and specific drives to make work, I like to look at what universally resonates. So, what is common in our human experience and what can I draw out that speaks to everybody?”

The dance revolves around a long sheet of material which is used as a prop to showcase the pull of separation between the dancers and their search to find togetherness again.

‘S U C K E R’ choreographed by Jenni Large in collaboration with the dancers revolves around the female experience.

S U C K E R. Image: Supplied.

Jenni humorously and endearingly presented the piece as “the dinner you never wanted to attend but you’re here now, so eat up.”

The source of inspiration? Vampire culture. “In literature and popular culture, vampires are often used as a sexual metaphor and depicted as sexually ‘overt’ and ‘deviant’. Throughout history vampires and horror characters have served as vehicles of expression for queer culture and sexual oppression. Horror exploits our primordial predisposition to fear otherness. And yet, I think the genre’s cult followings show that we identify with ‘villains’ and ‘monsters’. We’ve all felt victimized and isolated for our differences, and paradoxically, this is what connects us.”

‘The remnants of’ choreographed and soloed by Luke Hayward struck reality as the dance explored society’s movement through the past few years with an emphasis of living in a locked-down, pandemic ridden world.

The remnants of. Image: Supplied.

Luke says “The piece looks at the relationship between movement and text, and asks the audience to give into the irrationalism of the work. I hope the audience can find some escapism with it, but still reflect on the current situation.”

‘Drunk Tank Pink’ by Charmene Yap is the final piece presented in the showcase.

There were audible gasps in the audience filled with excitement as Charmene explained the inspiration behind the work saying “‘Drunk Tank Pink’ came from a social experiment in the 70s by psychology and physiology researcher, Dr Alexander Schlauss, where the discovery of a particular shade of bubble-gum pink was reportedly found to have a profound temporary calming effect. In the experiment, Schlauss convinced a correctional facility in Seattle to paint their prison cells this pink tone.

He observed that prisoners, after spending 15 minutes confined in these cells, seemed to be pacified and had a reduction in erratic or hostile behaviour. This bubble-gum pink phenomenon sparked a wider exploration in my work, into how we are affected by cues we don’t necessarily realise from our mental world, social world, and wider physical world. Unexpected forces within us, between us and the world around us that subliminally prime our behaviour, thoughts and emotions.”

New Breed is showing at Carriageworks till the 17th of December.