Dancing composition


Sarah BlaskoAustralian singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko is internationally recognised for her haunting vocals and ground breaking original music, but she also composes for stage and film. She teamed up with innovative Sydney musician-composer Nick Wales, to create music for Emergence, a contemporary dance piece for Sydney Dance Company’s latest production, De Novo. The result is a stunning album and mesmerising musical companion to artistic director Rafael Bonachela’s cutting-edge choreography. I spoke with them ahead of De Novo arriving at Frankston Arts Centre.    

MINT: How did you two come to this collaboration?

WALES: I was playing with Sarah’s band for a couple of years touring. She invited me to write some orchestral arrangements for her album, I Awake. We loved the music we made. Rafael Bonachela asked me to be a part of a new work for Sydney Dance Company in 2012. We thought it would be great to use vocals, words and poetry to give it context. I thought of Sarah.

Nick WalesMINT: Do you think combining popular music with contemporary dance will attract new audiences?

BLASKO: I think it probably does attract some people who maybe haven’t gone to a lot of dance, but who may be into pop music. It also gave us a chance to release the music to a wider audience.

WALES: Sydney Dance Company is a really vibrant young company. It has a real edge – a very modern aesthetic, but it’s not so out there that you can’t understand it. I find their work very accessible especially this triple bill coming up (De Novo). It’s quite funny at times. There’s a piece about The Terminator.

MINT: Is the music written in response to the dance or is the dance choreographed to the music?

BLASKO: It was a two-way collaboration. We started by kind of jamming. We were in the dance studio with the dancers to see a possible direction. We worked with them on a couple of pieces to begin with and then Nick and I wrote together quite quickly. The theme emergence informed what Rafael (Bonachela) was doing with the choreography and what we were doing with the music.

MINT: Nick, how did you become involved with scoring contemporary dance?

WALES: I was involved in a work with dancer-choreographer Shaun Parker (This Show Is About People). When the next piece came up, something for Sydney Dance Company, I worked with percussionist-composer Bree Van Reyk. I met Rafael Bonachela at that time. Since then, I’ve done six or seven works with Shaun performed to audiences worldwide. When the right project came up at Sydney Dance Company (2one Another), I started working with Rafael.

MINT: Sarah, could talk a bit about your most recent work?

BLASKO: Making Emergence was a great release from the traditional songwriting structure and a chance to work on something different with sound and my voice. I’ve been working on a couple of film projects and that’s been a whole other learning experience. I’ve also just made a new album, which is quite a pop record.

See De Novo at Frankston Arts Centre on Saturday 15 August at 8pm. Bookings 9784 1060 or thefac.com.au

Local dancers will have a chance to participate in Sydney Dance Company’s advanced open dance workshop offered on Friday 14 August at 5pm in Cube 37 at FAC. Ages 16 and over ($15).

First published in Mint – August 2015

Author: Andrea Louise Thomas

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