Presenter Profile

Sydney Dance Company


Dance changes you. More than simply witnessing something beautiful, or engaging with culture, to experience dance is to be positively altered. From performances at the Joyce Theatre in New York, to the Grand in Shanghai, the Stanislavsky in Moscow and the Sydney Opera House at home, Sydney Dance Company has proved that there are no passive observers in a contemporary dance audience.

The reward of truly moving audiences, and the raw pride of sharing Australian art with the world has driven our ensemble of 17 dancers, led by Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela, to become one of the world’s strongest forces in contemporary dance. Alongside Bonachela’s original works, our programs have featured guest choreographers like Jacopo Godani, Alexander Ekman, Gideon Obarzanek and Cheng Tsung-lung, as well as collaborations with Sydney Festival, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Jones and composers Bryce Dessner, Nick Wales, 48nord and Ezio Bosso.

Sydney Dance Company has a broad community beyond the practice and performance of our lead dancers. We believe in the universality of dance, and with the largest public dance class program in Australia, we help over 70,000 people a year connect with the grace, strength and creativity that lives within all of us. Our nation-wide education program offers a strategic curriculum targeting primary and secondary students through to career focused study for pre-professional dancers and university graduates.

Company History

Sydney Dance Company began as a group founded in 1969 by dancer Suzanne Musitz. Soon known as The Dance Company (NSW), from 1975-1976 the Company was directed by Dutch choreographer Jaap Flier, before the appointment of Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy in 1976. In 1979 Murphy and his partner Janet Vernon instituted the defining name change to Sydney Dance Company and proceeded to lead it for a remarkable 30 years. Murphy and his collaborators created work that enthralled audiences in Australia and in extensive international touring, including being the first western contemporary dance company to perform in the People’s Republic of China.

Sydney Dance Company has been led since 2009 by Spanish-born Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela. Over the past eight years the Company has cemented its reputation as a creative powerhouse, with an acclaimed group of dancers presenting new work by Bonachela and other choreographers, designers, composers and musicians. The Company has expanded its reach into the towns and cities it visits with work for schools and local dancers.

Since 1986 the Company has been a resident of the purpose-built studios at The Wharf in Sydney’s Walsh Bay, minutes from the city’s famed Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

Further Information

Sydney Dance Company’s national Schools Program supports Primary and Secondary Dance Teachers through curriculum-relevant programs for high school students and dance workshops for primary students.

The program connects schools, teachers and students to leading professionals in the dance industry, inspiring and exciting students, and creating connections through contemporary dance of exceptional quality.

Teachers can book Face to Face workshops, which can be delivered in school or at the Sydney Dance Company Studios. We also offer Virtual School Workshops which can be delivered directly to students, either in the classroom, or as they learn from home. Workshops are also available on National Tour - contact us to discuss locations.

School Matinee Performances
Our tailored school matinees connect students with cutting-edge contemporary dance performances.

With pre-show talks and demonstrations, students will be offered insights into our artists’ creative processes. Students will engage in a post-show panel discussion and Q&A with Company dancers, creatives and arts professionals, developing a deeper understanding of the process of bringing a performance to life and the career pathways available within the performing arts industry.

Digital Resources
Sydney Dance Company’s Resource Packs are designed to enrich student learning and give an insight into Sydney Dance Company works created for live performance or film.

Each pack includes exclusive access to cast and creative biographies, information on the stimulus of the work and the creative process, as well as curriculum-aligned appreciation and composition tasks. The filmed work is also included for use in educational settings.

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