Aware that Sydney Dance Company would be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela has spent the past few years quietly pondering how best to mark the milestone.

Sydney Dance Company Us 50 Kip Gamblin, Linda Ridgway, Rafael Bonachela, Gideon Obarzanek, Sheree da Costa, Lea Francis and Bradley Chatfield. Photo © Pedro Greig

“I had my list of what could be done, and so much could be done if you had more resources and time,” he says. “There have been five artistic directors in the 50 years [Suzanne Musitz, Jaap Flier, Graeme Murphy and Tanja Liedtke, who tragically died shortly after being appointed to the role, followed by Bonachela]. But there have been over 260 dancers, and I thought that maybe one way we could celebrate the past was to celebrate something that has always been at the heart of the company, which is the performers, the dancers.”

“[The question was] how to elevate that and how to celebrate it in a way that is about ‘the now’ – which is what we do, commission new work,” he says. “That eventually took me to the idea that maybe we could...