From the concept and direction of Rafael Bonachela in collaboration with Italian composer Ezio Bosso we unfold is quite simply, oceanic.
This highly modern work emerges from several collaborations between both artists over recent years. ‘we unfold’ traverses epic themes like the cosmos and migration, and introspective themes which Bonachela himself suggests, “lamentation, being at one with nature, life and madness.”

On the eve of this Melbourne Premier season SDC dancer Richard Cilli was awarded the prestigious 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Male Dancer. Australian Stage’s Paul Andrew speaks to Richard Cilli about how a dancer plunges the waves of a remarkable artistic collaboration.

Richard CilliYour earliest memory of dance?
The best early memories of dance for me are from my early teens. Fleeting flashes of movement and light, that exhilarating feeling of hurtling around a stage with all your energy like a stunt pilot.

And when did you know and feel that dance was your calling?
I don't think there was ever an actual moment when I knew it was for me. I guess it has been some kind of marvelous quicksand that I am continuing to sink into, the more I do it the deeper my love for the art form grows.

I never really pictured myself getting to where I am now, and sometimes on stage I catch myself - usually during some really complex choreography - reflecting on how I got to where I am now. And then I answer: hard work and love and all that stuff.

What inspires you?
I was always - and still am - inspired by my peers. I am always trying to glean flecks of interesting movement information from my immediate environment. Even from non-dancers. An idiosyncracy, or an interesting way of sipping coffee, or a glance.

What was the most challenging aspect or experience during your years of study?
The most challenging part of WAAPA was to try balance a normal life with my study. It is such an immersive and amazing experience, it requires almost all of your time and energy. So balancing that with trying to earn money and stay connected with loved ones was tricky. But I'm very glad that I had a very supportive environment to help me get through the course.

Your most cherished memories from WAAPA?
My fondest memories would be learning and performing world renowned pieces of repertoire. To be able to give my own inflection to a part done by many of the world's best dancers really captured me.

What did you enjoy most about joining SDC in 2009?
It all happened so fast - it's still happening - the learning curve was very steep. But I jumped in and it all just happened. I felt a great sense of accomplishment after performing and holding my own on stage among such a beautiful and inspiring group of dancers.

How do you describe 'we unfold' ?

The early developmental stages of 'we unfold'?
Yes, it was a unique process in that to make it we improvised with other dancers we had never touched before with a choreographer we had never worked with before. It was about forging into new exciting territory for all of us. It was a very energetic period of artistic passion pouring forth in the rehearsal studio every day. I'll never forget it.

And how this work grown and changed during development?
Over the past two years the work has been polished and refined. We're all still finding new things in it too. It is still such a powerful piece.

What inspires you about Rafael's artistic vision and passion?
What inspires me most of all is his ability to speak to any audience without saying a word.

What inspires you about his choreography?
Rafael gets excited as we dancers do things or move in ways he doesn't expect. He is able to draw the best out of each and every dancer. His style is vigorously physical, it feels like you are articulating with every cell in your body.

What challenged you the most while rehearsing this work?
The process of ‘we unfold' flowed for me quite freely. The challenge was to be creative and keep on creating every day, which I love doing.

'we unfold' is such an evocative title for a choreographic work, what feeling does this title evoke for you?
Yes, the feeling of entering a new time in my life. The amazing and dramatic score composed by Ezio Bosso provides me with an outpouring of emotion through all the muscles in my body.
{xtypo_quote_right}it has been some kind of marvelous quicksand that I am continuing to sink into, the more I do it the deeper my love for the art form grows{/xtypo_quote_right}
Ezio Bosso's Symphony No. 1?
The music is so wonderful. I can still feel swept away by it just like the first time I heard it. During the creative process I was staying in Manly, so I would listen to the music as I caught the ferry to and from work. It conjures the images of ploughing through waves, and Ezio knows so well how to use the right interval or progression to give you goosebumps.

In September you were awarded the 2010 Helpman Award for Best Male Dancer, how does this feel?
It feels... amazing. I never expected to be recognised in this way. I feel now that I have established a unique perspective and expression of 'dance' for myself, I am even more motivated to push that in every different direction and to explore my best creative, physical and performative abilities in every way.

Who inspires you now?
I am inspired by Rafael and his growing relationship with his dancers. I am always inspired by my fellow dancers of course, and by the phenomenal international choreographers that Sydney Dance Company has programmed recently including Kenneth Kvarnstrom, Adam Linder and Emanuel Gat.

we unfold is currently playing at the Arts Centre, Playhouse until November 13. It opens in Brisbane at the QPAC, Playhouse November 18, 2010. Read our review (Melbourne season)»

Image Credit:-
Top right - Richard Cilli

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