The opening commands our attention. Even as we return to our seats after interval, a lone dancer is on a silent stage.
Smoke from the smoke machine, is the first indication of what's to come. If the hint hadn't already been given away by the Forever & Ever composer.
As a long line of hooded trance-like figures meander onto the scene, it feels a bit spooky, and a bit of a puzzle.
Then the party is unveiled as layer upon layer of clothing is shed on stage amid phenomenal movement. The layers of debris remain there.
Although I'm not admitting to having been there, it's your best chance to catching an underground warehouse party, if you've never been to one. Or, reigniting that flame as a voyeur if you have.
Yet whatever your taste in music, this new work by talented Australian choreographer Antony Hamilton delivers the goods. And although themes of activity vs chaos vs order are explored "the central idea for this work has been to organise the body into curious formations, and to push the formidable dancers' abilities with technically challenging material." And that he did.
And the composer? Antony's brother Julian Hamilton (of The Presets) makes sense now, if you know his stuff.
In Forever & Ever, Sydney Dance Company and the Hamilton brothers, with costume design by Paula Levis, and lighting by Benjamin Cisterne, is the most radical and unique expression of the new and contemporary dance wave. Shut up, just change your plans and get yourself to Forever & Ever while you can for the best dance party Sydney is seeing. Albeit you are in your seat, you can stand up to dance when you applaud.
First up though in this double bill, we are treated to a repeat of the Helpmann award winning Frame Of Mind. Even from that original performance we get an upliftment in the 2018 performance. Strangely the music by Bryce Dessner, though hugely contrasting to the music of the second act by Julian Hamilton, is also somehow in the totality of the night in simpatico. The lift in this rework comes in the live music, in the space in front of the stage, by the Australian String Quartet, which brings as Dessner describes "a freshly visceral element" to the performance.
<i>Forever & Ever, with Frame Of Mind, is performing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre until 27 November. Photo by Pedro Grieg.</i>