Rafael Bonachela is a choreographer, Artistic Director and curator whose career has seen him successfully span high art and popular culture, working across a range of art forms, including contemporary dance, art installations, pop concerts, musicals, film, commercials and fashion.
Rafael Bonachela has been the Artistic Director and resident choreographer for Sydney Dance Company since 2009.
Rafael Bonachela’s work is strong, sober and sharp. The exploration of pure movement is where he finds his unmistakable style. The result is an incandescent dance that springs from the power of movement, in which energy and muscle strength combine with a great emotional sensitivity.
Rafael Bonachela was born in La Garriga near Barcelona (1972) where he began his early dance training before moving to London to join the legendary Rambert Dance Companywhere he danced from 1992 to 2004. He was appointed as Rambert's Associate Choreographer in 2003, a position he held until 2005. In 2006 Rafael Bonachela was invited to become one of the first Artists in Residence at the South Bank Centre at which time he successfully set up the Bonachela Dance Company to concentrate on the rapid rise of his choreographic career.
Rafael Bonachela has created and collaborated with companies worldwide including Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, the Ballet Boyz, IT Dansa, Candoco, Dance Works Rotterdam, among others. He curated 62C at the Royal Festival Hall in London (2009) and The international festival Spring Dance for the Sydney Opera House (2012).
Rafael Bonachela and his ensembles are the recipient of multiple awards, most notably in February 2013, he was honored with an Officer’s Cross of the Order of Civil Merit by His Majesty the King of Spain. His work has been presented in major international galleries - recently he created Nude Live, a dance installation which was performed as part of The Art Gallery of NSW’s exhibition, “Nude - Art from the Tate Collection” Sydney (2017). His collaborations with artists from other disciplines include exploring ways in which dance can operate outside the usual theatre forum. Liquid Landscapes with architect Nigel Coates and filmmaker John Maybury, Venice Biennale (2008). Revolving Door, with artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s, 13 Rooms by Kaldor Art Projects Sydney (2013). Inside There Falls with artist Mira Calix installation at Carriageworks as part of Sydney Festival (2015).
In 2002 Rafael Bonachela’s career took an interesting turn when he was commissioned to choreograph Kylie Minogue's routine at the Brit Awards. His unique approach to choreography, combining contemporary dance within a more mainstream context, was so highly acclaimed that he went onto work extensively with Ms Minogue along with other pop artists and commercial clients including; Tina Turner, The Kills, Primal Scream, Jaguar Automóviles, Siemens Mobile, Hugo Boss, and Lexus.
Photos by Peter Greig