There is ‘intimate’ and then there is Somos. Rafael Bonachela’s latest work for Sydney Dance Company reduces the space between performer and audience member to a matter of inches.
Staged on SDC’s Neilson Theatre, Somos (“We are” in Spanish), takes place on a rectangular, mirror floored platform (a Kelsey Lee design) with the audience seated on every side. All that separates us is a curtain of gauzy ribbons, and they don’t last for long.
The music (stitched together by Nick Wales) is almost entirely Spanish language, a tight playlist of torchy songs by artists including Silvia Pérez Cruz, Concha Buika (her passionate cover of Volver volver) and the late central American singer Chevala Vargas. Each forms the soundtrack to Bonachela’s suite of sinuous solos and duets, trios and ensemble pieces in which the dancers’ bodies seem to operate like skeleton keys, locking and unlocking each other constantly.
The proximity of the dancers is undeniably thrilling – especially when the gauze ribbons are lifted. You hear almost as much as you see:...