Musician artist Warren Foster Jr will play the role of “story keeper” in the show, with a monologue that begins, “My body is a story and I can extend it to yours.”
The show also includes a soundtrack recorded by Jodi Phillis of The Clouds and The Go Betweens’ Amanda Brown, and performed by the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra.
“The music feels to me somewhere between an Almodovar film and an extremely cinematic open sonic expanse that’s as big as the impression we get watching the sails of the opera,” Saunders said.
Dancer Josh O’Connor said dancing outside the iconic building was “definitely a challenge” for performers whose backgrounds include Highland dance, samba and musical theatre.
“It’s totally different from being on a stage where you know where everyone is, where the light will hit you, and where the audience is seated,” he said. “Let’s hope no one trips, knocks on wood.”
Meet Sydney will be presented on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House from May 18-22 as part of the UnWrapped season of performances by independent artists.
Sydney Opera House programming manager Fiona Winning wanted to bring the dance show to the city after seeing it perform in Parramatta at the 2020 Sydney Festival.
“A lot of outdoor works build great infrastructure, but this work relies on the energy and visibility of dancers in an urban space,” she said. “Its combination of great music, performed text and physicality is powerful and thrilling to watch.”
Winning said the show was “a joy bomb in many ways, an eruption of raw energy and physics.”
“Emma Saunders’ work with these young dancers uses simple provocations responding to the actual site – the monumental steps, the catwalk and the expanse of the forecourt towards the city,” she said.
Winning said UnWrapped was designed to support an industry brimming with energy and innovation but few resources.
“We support the creation and presentation of new works and the presentation of recently created works that are unique and have something to say about contemporary life,” she said.