The Dream Dance Company: A new era in Australian Dance
The Australian Dance industry has unequivocally earned it's place on the International Dance scene.
For a country with one fifteenth the population of the US, Australian dancers are impressively over-represented in the international arena - the renowned Moulin Rouge is famously rumoured to favour Australian dancers, and many of our own Ambassadors and dancers have journeyed abroad in order to accept offers from institutions and companies the world over (including most recently, Prix de Lausanne Finalist Jessi Seymour). Ballet and contemporary in particular have long been well regarded as valuable contributions to the Australian arts (the Australian Ballet has been established for almost sixty years now). However other dance forms have not enjoyed quite as much coverage, in spite of the increasingly prevalent demand for commercially trained dancers in the industry.
With everything from Indigenous dance (Bangarra Dance Company, and Marrugekku) to contemporary ( ADT, Sydney Dance Company, Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc, etc.), Dance Theatre (Force Majeure) and Tap Dance (Raw Dance Company) represented to high standard, the lack of commercial companies is rather conspicuous, especially when commercial dance continues to remain one of the most popular and employable styles in today's industry (just look at the re-emerging popularity of dancers in music videos these days). Classes tailored towards commercial styles have always been popular in Australian dance schools, however before The Dream Dance Company came along, the future prospects for attendees were either purely recreational, or involved relocating to the US or Europe in search of professional opportunities. Australian Choreographer Stephen Tannos expressed similar frustration; “You’ve got your Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Ballet and then you’ve got commercial back-up dancers, but there’s been nothing between those two things.”
It's no wonder then, that when the Dream Dance Company announced itself as an emerging commercial company in 2015 - Australia's first ever commercial Company - people took note. Considering the major deficit until this point, any company offering professional opportunities for commercial dancers was bound to be well received, however the Dream Dance Company far exceeded anyone's expectations. Panzic's is a company with a powerful vision and identity, and it's debut puts Australia's emerging commercial dance industry into the top-tier around the world.
“I wanted a company that would house some of the greatest dancers in the country and bring them together to inspire the next generation of dancers.”
~ Founder and Director of the Dream Dance Company, Marko Panzic
Unprecedented, not just as a genre, but in it's formation as a company, The Dream Dance Co is incomparably versatile; and whilst other companies subscribe to the need to specialise in one genre (favouring homogeny in their performers) DDC turns that completely on it's head. Instead we get a collective that's hand-picked dancers who specialise in their own unique style across the entire spectrum of commercial dance and all that it encompasses. And the fact that these dancers are masters of all trades as much as they are specialists means that audiences are guaranteed to witness something wholly original at every turn. In 2016 the company was nominated for an outstanding achievement by the Australian Dance Awards for it's founding year's production, Genesis (choreographed by Stephen Tannos and Marko Panzic) which was audaciously bold, dynamic contemporary movement at it's best. The same year they debuted their second stellar production: The Secret Society, featuring a mix of new and veteran cast members performing sleek, sophisticated, urban/hip-hop with explosive energy, and cementing themselves as a company with vision, purpose, and talent of the highest calibre. This year the evolution continues with 'Enter the Vortex', premiering in Sydney on May 5th, which promises to be more ambitious than ever.
“There’s nothing like it, there’s been nothing like it before, it’s really one of a kind”.
Choreographer and 'Genisis' Co-creator Stephen Tannos
It's this attitude towards style and genre; this uninhibited freedom to push the boundaries of dance and innovate in new directions that makes the DDC true chameleons on-stage, and injects an element of the unexpected into every show. Most excitingly, the Dream Dance Company hasn't just given a platform to an underrepresented style and calibre of dancers, it's changing the formula, and at a time when it's never been more customary to forego some profound artistic and emotional depth, or musical congruence in favour of brazen physical feats (performed on top of the music rather than in response to it), this is exactly the kind of heart-and-soul movement that's been in danger of disappearing behind the abundance of 'jazz hands and glitter' of modern performances. Instead DDC are demonstrating that dance doesn't need to sacrifice it's artistic authenticity for 'tricks' in order to be engaging - it turns out that the limitless potential of modern dance choreography is more than enough to captivate audiences. Especially when you've got a company that's embracing the fusing of genres and the freedom to create works that fearlessly transgress the existing margins of the art-form.
“I feel so lucky to be a part of this movement that is just raising the bar and the standard in the Australian Dance Industry”
Cat Santos, Energetiks Ambassador and Dream Dance Company member
Clearly, the Sydney-based commercial dance group is still in it's formative years, yet after the spectacular triumph that was 'Genesis', then 'The Secret Society' and now Boulter's highly anticipated 'Enter the Vortex', there's little doubt that wherever the Dream Dance Company goes next, they'll be forging the path for Australia's dance future, and enthralling audiences every step of the way.
Don't miss your chance to see The Dream Dance Company live this month in 'Enter the Vortex'.
Details and tickets available here:
Article by Elly Ford.