Meeting the New Breed

Sydney Dance Company and Carriageworks today announced the four up and coming Australian choreographers commissioned to create new works as part of their New Breed initiative.

Meeting the New Breed


New Breed is a three-year program created to support the next generation of Australian dance-makers.

‘It’s about investing in the person, and in the future of choreography and the art form,’ said SDC’s artistic director, Rafael Bonachela at the launch.

‘It is one of our most important initiatives and is close to my heart.’

Daniel Riley, Kristina Chan, Bernhard Knauer and Fiona Jopp will be given the opportunity of a lifetime—to create work for Australia’s leading contemporary dance company, for presentation at Carriageworks on 8–13December this year.

Mr Bonachela said this year’s group was distinctive in that they have all commissioned new music for their works.

Leading up to the Australian premiere of their works in December the four choreographers will work intensively in studio with dancers from the Sydney Dance Company ensemble on the creation of their works.

They will also benefit from extensive support from all other SDC departments such as lighting, costume, set design and marketing.

Kristina Chan, one of the 2015 New Breed, has worked all over the world for the past 16 years, and with Australian choreographers and companies including Australian Dance Theatre, Garry Stewart, Force Majeure, Chunky Move, The Australian Ballet, and many others. In 2011 she was recognised with a Helpmann award for best female dancer.

She said her work for New Breed is inspired by the pressure put on men in our society. ‘It is an abstract, physical work, and I’m using Sydney-based composer James Brown.

‘It’s an amazing opportunity to work with incredible professional artists and a chance for me to translate my choreography onto other people’s bodies.’

Daniel Riley spent seven years with Bangarra for whom he created two works (RileyandScar), and in 2014 moved to the UK to work on various projects including as guest artist with London-based New Movement Collective, performing inCasting Tracesand the world premiere season of Please Be Seated at The Southbank Centre.

In 2015 he makes his feature film debut in Stephen Page’s Spear, and later in the year he will rejoin Bangarra for international and regional tours.

Daniel’s work is an all-female story, inspired by the power of women. He is working with local DJ Nick Thayer.

German-born Bernard Knauer has performed nationally and internationally, joining SDC in 2010.

‘I came from a very musical family—my dad [Jürgen Knauer] is a composer,’ he said. ‘I always wanted to choreograph a piece of my father’s music—and I’m thrilled to have the chance to do that.

‘It’s the first time I am going to be a choreographer, and it’s an amazing opportunity.’

Fiona Jopp travelled from her home town of the Gold Coast to Europe at the age of 15 where she studied in Dresden and in The Hague. It was while she was there that she met Rafael Bonachela, danced with his company and was later persuaded by him to come back to Australia to dance with SDC.

She has worked in musical theatre and has done commercial work in advertising, films and music videos.

‘I’m very excited to be making my first work,’ she said, ‘and I’ve commissioned the music from my husband Toby Merz and his sister Alicia Merz.’

Additional commissions were also announced for independent designers Matt Marshall and Aleisa Jelbart.

At the launch, the Balnaves Foundation which supports New Breed, was represented by Hamish Balnaves who said, ‘We support New Breed because young artists are the future of our arts industry and the art that is created for the next 50 years.'


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