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Sydney Dance Company Returns to New Zealand

Sydney Dance Company Returns to New Zealand

Dramatic, exquisite, sensual and dynamic – Sydney Dance Company explodes onto the Auckland stage with Ellipse, the stunning work of leading Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy.

The Edge® brings Ellipse to The Civic stage in Auckland from September 24 to 28 as part of AK03 – Auckland Festival. Tickets for Ellipse went on sale on Monday (SUBS: 7 July).

Ellipse is the hugely successful production from Murphy which premiered at Sydney Opera House in 2002 and played to full houses, breaking all box office and attendance records at the Opera House’s Opera Theatre.

The production is a suite of seven dances set to the music of hot new Australian composer Matthew Hindson, and performed by the company’s 17 dancers, some of whom have been members of Sydney Dance Company for more than 10 years.

“Ellipse demands huge energy, subtle lyricism, comedy and drama,” Murphy explains. “It runs the complete gamut of the contemporary dancer’s ‘raison d’etre’.”

Sydney Dance Company last toured to New Zealand in 2000 with Salome and previously presented Free Radicals (1998), Beauty and the Beast (1997) and Berlin (1996).

Ellipse features collaboration with leading Australian fashion designer Akira Isogawa, lighting designer Damien Cooper and set designer Gerard Manion as well as composer Matthew Hindson.

Inspired by Hindson’s wildly eclectic music, Ellipse takes audiences on a roller-coaster ride from full throttle hip hop, through the romance of a solo cello to the dreaminess of trance.

While Murphy has previously worked with Isogawa, Cooper and Manion, Ellipse is the first collaboration with Hindson.

Murphy came across Hindson’s music one evening while listening to the radio. “It was huge and it was symphonic. It was taking my head everywhere. It was more beautiful and lush than I could believe and then it would go into club music – for orchestra. I thought it was freaky.”

Murphy worked with Hindson and composer/producer Carl Vine to bring together a compilation of seven short yet complete scores to provide the music for Ellipse. “The music was and is the driving force,” Murphy says.

In Ellipse, Murphy explores the play of light and the power of movement.

“Lighting is the closest relative to choreography. It’s liquid, it’s sort of abstract … I’ve always considered it another member of the company.”

Ellipse is on stage at The Civic, The Edge, Auckland from September 24-28. Tickets are on sale now and everyone who purchases their tickets before August 30 goes in the draw to win a trip for two to see Sydney Dance Company’s new production at the Sydney Opera House in July 2004, flying Qantas. Book at Ticketek on (09) 307 5000.


Akira Isogawa - Costume Designer

In 1993, the Akira Isogawa Boutique opened in Queen St, Woollahra, Sydney.Akira used the first Australian Fashion Week to premiere his Spring/Summer 1996-1997 collection. The collection’s elegant layered silks sparked national interest in Akira as an emerging Australian designer.

The following year, Akira’s Spring/Summer 1997-1998 collection Satori, drew favourable reviews from leading media outlets, including The New York Times. The collection was purchased by the prestigious fashion boutique Browns and the Powerhouse Museum selected Akira to feature in its Fashion of the Year retrospective.

In 1998, the Spring/Summer 1998-1999 collection Botanica was presented and purchased by Barney’s, New York, cementing Akira’s presence internationally and led to his first private showing in Paris at Royal Saint Honore.

Akira also undertook new projects with the Australian arts sector during 1998, exhibiting in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s inaugural Seppelt Contemporary Art Award. His highly successful collaboration with Sydney Dance Company designing costumes for Salome marked the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the company and since then, Akira has designed costumes for Air and other invisible forces and now, Ellipse.

In 1999, Akira took two collections to Paris: Spring/Summer High Spirit at Rue Danielle Casanova which was his first runway presentation and Autumn/Winter’s Etheric Zest at Tranoi. Both collections were warmly received and attracted new buyers globally.

Locally, the High Spirit collection was shown at the 1999 Australian Fashion Week and Akira was named Australian Designer of the Year and Womenswear Designer of the Year at the Australian Fashion Industry Awards.


Gerard Manion - Set Designer

Gerard Manion was born in 1971 in Southport, Queensland. He is referred to as ‘the artist with the line’.

Gerard is known for his talent as one of Sydney’s best young draughtsmen, a title that has helped nurture his focus on that ‘line’. He has been a stable artist with Barry Stern Gallery in Paddington for the past four years and his work is strongly represented in collections around the world.

Gerard likes to extend the boundaries and possibilities of his line so his drawings never limit themselves to conventional boundaries. Gerard is an artist constantly exploring and manipulating his chosen medium whether it be design or artwork.

Creating the sets for Air and other invisible forces marked a turning point in both his style and career. Embarking on new design projects over the past two years such as the Akira Isogawa costume display for David Jones, Gerard has once again refined his design style reducing the visual effects to his signature line work as seen in Ellipse.

He has exhibited regularly in Sydney and was chosen as a finalist in the works on paper exhibition at Hazelhurt Regional Gallery. Gerard is also the director of his own technology company.

Gerard lives in the artistic community of Bundeena and finds it the most idyllic place to create.

He believes that as an artist he must find the way to his own unique expression, to reveal what he sees and feels and must develop his own distinctive style, not for the sake of novelty but for authenticity.

His work is enjoyed by many because it speaks the common words that ‘all art whatever field is beauty’.


Graeme Murphy AM - Artistic Director / Choreographer

Choreographer Graeme Murphy was appointed Artistic Director to Sydney Dance Company (then known as The Dance Company NSW) in 1976. He has since created a remarkable repertoire, including 30 full evening productions and a diverse range of short works.

His body of work reflects a discerning interest in music from a variety of 20th Century composers: from Maurice Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Daphnis and Chloé to Iannis Xenakis’ Kraanerg; Karol Szymanowski’s Mythes Opus 30, Song of the Night and King Roger to Olivier Messaien’s Turangalila Symphony, Steve Martland’s Drill and Istvan Marta’s A Doll’s House Story.

Graeme Murphy remains particularly noted for his work with Australian music, including many commissioned scores. Australian composers who have inspired Murphy include Barry Conyngham (Rumours, VAST), Richard Meale (Viridian), Graeme Koehne (The Selfish Giant, Nearly Beloved, Tivoli), Martin Armiger (Fornicon), Ross Edwards (Sensing), Iva Davies (Boxes, Berlin), Max Lambert (Deadly Sins, Berlin), Michael Askill (Free Radicals, Salome, Air and other invisible forces) and Carl Vine (Tip, Poppy, Piano Sonata, Beauty and the Beast, Mythologia).

Additionally, he has created new works for The Australian Ballet - Tekton, Beyond Twelve, Meander, Gallery, Nutcracker and Tivoli, a joint production with Sydney Dance Company for the Centenary of Federation, and one of the most talked about theatrical events of the winning four Australian Dance Awards including Outstanding Achievement in Choreography.

Most recently, Graeme choreographed and produced a complete new Swan Lake for The Australian Ballet’s 2002/03 season.

He has choreographed for Nederlands Dans Theater (Song of the Night); for the Royal New Zealand Ballet (Orpheus) and a solo work for Mikhail Baryshnikov (Embodied). He has created choreography for the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Britten’s Death in Venice and The Metropolitan Opera, New York Samson and Dalila for a production by Elijah Moshinsky. He has also choreographed for the skaters Torvill and Dean, creating their World Tour Company’s production and the TV Special Fire and Ice.

In 1998 he was commissioned by the Australian Bicentennial Authority to create a national dance event VAST – involving 70 dancers from four disparate dance companies – Australian Dance Theatre, The West Australian Ballet, The Queensland Ballet and Sydney Dance Company.

He began directing for Opera Australia in 1984 with Brian Howard’s Metamorphosis, subsequently directing an acclaimed production of Giacomo Puccuni’s Turandot, followed by Richard Strauss’ Salome and Hector Berlioz’ The Trojans, the latter bringing Opera Australia together with Sydney Dance Company in a lavish spectacle.

In 2000, Graeme Murphy celebrated the new century with a retrospective season at the Sydney Opera House, opening with Gala Performance followed by Body of Work – A Retrospective, a production that ingeniously recalled the best of Murphy in a series of judiciously selected excerpts from his repertoire.

Immediately after, he created Mythologia, a commissioned work for the Olympic Arts Festival and Brisbane Festival which premiered at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney.

Graeme Murphy created Ellipse for Sydney Dance Company’s 2002 Season in Australia, premiering at the Sydney Opera House and quickly resulting in a record breaking box-office for the company.

Side by side with Associate Director Janet Vernon, Graeme Murphy has led Sydney Dance Company on more than 20 international tours including those to Asia, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United States. The company’s 2000 USA Tour, culminated in a fifth New York season. In 2001/02, highlights include the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Tanzsommer Innsbruck, the Cologne Summer Festival and the Shanghai Festival in China.

Graeme Murphy was presented with an AM for services to dance in 1982. He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates – Hon. D Litt Tas (1990), Hon. D Phil Qld (1992), Hon. D Litt UNSW (1999). He was honoured, along with Janet Vernon, at the Inaugural Sydney Opera House Honours in 1998 and, in 1999, was named by the National Trust of Australia as a National Living Treasure. In 2001, he won the Helpmann Award for Best Choreography for Body of Work, Gala Performance.


Matthew Hindson - Composer

Born in 1968, Matthew Hindson studied composition at the University of Sydney and at the University of Melbourne with composers including Peter Sculthorpe, Eric Gross, Brenton Broadstock and Ross Edwards.

Matthew’s works have been performed by many Australian ensembles and orchestras around the country, including most of Australia’s professional symphony orchestras and a number of chamber groups.

His compositions have been presented around Australia as well as in New Zealand, Germany, France, Austria, England, Scotland, Holland, Portugal, the USA, Japan and Thailand, and have featured at events such as the 1994 and 2000 Gaudeamus Music Weeks in Amsterdam, the 1997 ISCM Festival in Copenhagen and the 1998 Paris Composers’ Rostrum.

His music often displays influences of popular music styles within a classical music context. With a particular interest in techno and ‘death-metal’ genres, musical elements such as driving repeated rhythms and loud dynamic levels are typically found in his works. Directness and immediacy are also common features in the majority of his music.

In 1999 Matthew was the guest composer to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Works written during this period include Boom-Box and the In Memoriam: Amplified Cello Concerto. He was also guest composer with the Sydney Youth Orchestra in the same year. In 2002 he is the featured composer with Musica Viva Australia.

Recent achievements include works for the Adelaide SO (Headbanger), the Queensland Orchestra with the Goldner String Quarter (The Rave and The Nightingale), the Australian Virtuosi (Pulse Magnet), Musica Viva Australia (Rush for Slava Grigoryan (guitar) and the Goldner Quartet), Whitewater, commissioned and published by Faber Music Ltd as part of their Millennium Project and premiered by the BT Scottish Ensemble, a Violin Concerto (Australian Postcards) commissioned by Ars Musica Australis, and the Heartland for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir.

In addition to two new works composed for Musica Viva Australia’s 2002 Concert Series, future projects include A Symphony of Modern Objects commissioned by Ars Musica Australis for the Australian Youth Orchestra, a work for children’s choir commissioned by the Sydney Children’s Choir, and a music theatre piece based upon the life of Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, founder of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

Matthew is published by Faber Music Ltd (UK).

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