ORB: The Sydney Dance Company Visits Canberra

Photo courtesy of the Sydney Dance Company

When I asked around to see if any of my friends or family would like to snap up my spare ticket to the Sydney Dance Company’s ORB, I was met with a lot of glances away and a mumbled, “No, thanks”. Resigning myself to the fact I’d probably be attending the theatre alone, I tried one more friend. She looked at me and said, “It’s nothing against contemporary dance, but I just don’t understand it.”

And here lies the problem with any form of modern art. It falls in a tiny alcove, only populated by the artists themselves and their critics. Having very little experience in contemporary dance myself, I felt it too. It’s not accessible to the general public because it’s uncomfortable and weird and seemingly has no structure, and we’re used to things making sense. The Sydney Dance Company’s ORB is organised chaos.

But that’s also its beauty. A show like ORB that offers little explanation for itself is versatile and can lend itself to many different audiences: English students like me can pick apart every little bit (I could write a thesis on my interpretations), or the young girl with her family next to me can be in awe of the acrobatic-like movements of the dancers (“Woah, Mum, did you see that?”). The design-oriented can look at the choreography and costumes and stage-design and appreciate the aesthetic, and others can lean back and just let themselves enjoy the movement and where their thoughts take them.

I have to say, opening night was a success. Kudos to the dancers for their strong and mindful representation of the choreography. Both segments (there were two pieces, Full Moon and Ocho, separated by the interval) really allowed each performer to shine in their own light and brought their strengths out. The costumes, too, lent themselves well to each dancer’s movements (and I had the distinct feeling of a hot Barcelona night through Ocho‘s various states of undress). If it’s anything to go by, the 5-year-old girl next to me was absolutely enthralled.

If you’re looking for something to do this Friday or Saturday evening, ORB is on the top of my recommendation list. I would also highly suggest picking up a program before the show, as choreographers Cheng Tsung-Lung and Rafael Bonachela, and composers Lim Giong and Nick Wales, not only discuss insights into their intentions behind the work but also have incredibly interesting backgrounds, which I feel influence their pieces heavily. ORB includes flashing lights and some loud noises and dark scenes which may scare young children, so exercise your own caution.

ORB is at the Canberra Theatre Centre for a 12pm and 7:30pm show Fri 26th May

and a 7:30pm show Sat 27th May.

Tickets are available through the Canberra Theatre Centre’s website HERE.

*I attended ORB as a guest of the Canberra Theatre Centre. You can view my disclosure policy HERE.