On the cover of Brolga 26, Janet Vernon rises (Venus from the waves) out of water into the light and air of a new world. An invisible god carries her skyward; she and he form one composition; the bathtub is momentarily her shrine, the sacred shell bearing her to shore, and all the scene is filled with magical light.
It was true: the Sydney Dance Company showed us life raised to the intensity of myth, and, as often happens, the creativity emanating from one enterprise energized the surrounding scene. Some Rooms premiered in 1983. These were great days for Australian dance.
Brolga 27, by contrast, is shadowed by loss. Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon have left the company they fostered with such dedication. SDC’s incoming Artistic Director, Tanja Liedtke, was killed in a road accident in the early hours of August 17, and her outstanding talent will never be seen by the audiences it deserved. And just a few weeks earlier another great contributor to the Australian dance scene also died.
Geoffrey Goldie designed the productions of Chandrabhanu and the Bharatam Dance Company from 1974 onwards. Few designers have been so consistently vital and attentive to the possibilities of each new work, and while his stage was radiant with colour and pattern, sets and costumes—however sumptuous—never overwhelmed the dancing. He will be greatly missed.
Special thanks to Lee Christofis, Stuart Hodes and Jordan Beth Vincent for assistance with images for this issue.