Artist and musician Warren Foster Jr will play the role of “story keeper” on the show, with a monologue beginning, “My body is a story and I can stretch it to yours.”
The show also features a recorded soundtrack by Jodi Phillis by Amanda Brown of The Clouds and The Go Betweens, and performed by the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra.
“The music to me sounds like somewhere between an Almodovar film and a huge cinematic open space of sound as vast as the impression we get when we look up at the sails of the opera house,” Saunders said.
Dancer Josh O’Connor said dancing outside the landmark building was “definitely challenging” for the performers whose backgrounds include Highland dance, samba and musical theatre.
“It’s completely different from being on a stage where you know where everyone is, where the light will hit you and where the audience is,” he said. “Hopefully no one will stumble, knock on wood.”
Meet Sydney will be performed in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House from May 18-22 as part of the UnWrapped season of shows from independent artists.
Fiona Winning, Sydney Opera House’s head of programming, wanted to bring the dance show to the city after seeing it perform at Parramatta during the Sydney Festival 2020.
“Many outdoor works build a large infrastructure, but this work relies on the energy and visibility of the dancers in an urban space,” she said. “The combination of great music, lyrics and physicality is powerful and exciting to watch.”
Winning said the show was “a joy bomb in many ways, a burst of raw energy and physicality”.
“Emma Saunders’ work with these young dancers uses simple provocations that respond to the actual location – the monumental stairs, the stage and the expanse of the forecourt back to the city,” she said.
Winning said UnWrapped is designed to support an industry buzzing with energy and innovation, but with few resources.
“We support the creation and presentation of new work and the presentation of recently premiered work that is unique and has something to say about contemporary life,” she said.