History & Vision

“I will create a group of dancers who will be unique. A group who will inspire choreographers and make them want to work with us. It’s about blossoming and opening up … rebirth.”


“…beautifully controlled and engrossingly effective … creative precision and exhilarating energy.”



Sydney Dance Company is Australia’s leading contemporary dance company, presenting new works in Sydney, around Australia and internationally under the Artistic Direction of Rafael Bonachela.

Rafael Bonachela was appointed Artistic Director in 2009, giving birth to a new era in Australian contemporary dance. Rafael’s first commissioned work as a guest choreographer with the Company was 360° in 2008. Since that time he has premiered his new works we unfold (2009), 6 Breaths (2010), LANDforms (2011), 2 One Another (2012), Project Rameau (2012) and Emergence (2013); presented Australian premieres of his previous works Irony of Fate (2010), Soledad (2010), and The Land of Yes & The Land of No (2011); and new commissions from some of the worlds most indemand choreographers including Kenneth Kvarnstrom’s Mercury (2009); Adam Linder’s Are We That We Are (2010); Emanuel Gat’s Satisfying Musical Moments (2010); Alexander Ekman’s Cacti (2013) and Jacopo Godani’s Raw Models (2011).

Since Rafael Bonachela’s appointment, the company has toured around Australia and to Venice, Beijing, Germany, New York, Barcelona, London, South America, West Cost USA and Russia.


Sydney Dance Company has its origins in a company founded in 1969 by dancer Suzanne Musitz. In the early 1970s, the organisation came of age as The Dance Company (NSW) and began to receive annual government funding along with a notable growth in stature and public support. In 1975-1976 the Company was directed by Dutch choreographer Jaap Flier, before the appointment of Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy in November 1976. In 1979 Murphy and Vernon instituted the defining name change to Sydney Dance Company.

The Company was led from 1976 – 2007 by Artistic Director Graeme Murphy and Associate Director Janet Vernon. Following the death of newly appointed Director Tanya Liedtke in 2007, Sydney Dance Company spent time to find a new Artistic Director to lead the Company on a new journey of excellence.

Sydney Dance Company’s headquarters are located at The Wharf, Pier 4, in Sydney’s busy arts precinct at Walsh Bay where other arts companies, such as Bangarra Dance Theatre, Carnivale, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and ATYP, are also located. Sydney Dance Company gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australia Council, the Federal Government’s arts funding and advisory body, through the Major Performing Arts Board; the New South Wales Government through Arts NSW; and the invaluable support received from its sponsors, company supporters and partners.