Included on the tour will be Murphy's full-length work Grand, which won the 2005 Australian Dance Award for Best Choreography. The piece is structured as a series of vignettes set to music by Bach, Gershwin, Ligeti, Ravel, Henry Cowell, Rachmaninoff, Fats Waller and Debussy. Costumes are by Australian fashion designer Akira Isogawa; Gerard Manion's set incorporates the shell of a suspended grand piano and the onstage piano. The music will be played live by pianist Scott Davie.
Grand is scheduled for the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA (March 6); Yardley Hall in Overland Park, KS (March 10); Meany Hall in Seattle, WA (March 15 _17); Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park, PA (March 22); Byham Theater, Pittsburgh, PA (March 24); Rose Lehrman Arts Center, Harrisburg, PA (March 27); and the Zellerbach Theatre, Philadelphia, PA (March 29 _31).
Stephen Petronio's Underland is a "non-linear, non-narrative exploration of the dark, emotional work of Australian-born, contemporary composer Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds." The piece features designs by Australian video artist Mike Daly and American lighting designer Ken Tabachnick; costumes are by American fashion designer Tara Subkoff/Imitation of Christ.
Underland premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 2003; during the U.S. tour it will be seen at the Mondavi Center in Davis, CA (March 2 & 3) and at Keller Auditorium in Portland, OR (March 13).
Petronio has also created commissioned dances for Ballet Frankfurt, the Deutsche Opera Berlin, Maggio Danza of Florence, London's Ricochet Dance Company, the Hebbel Theater in Berlin and Lyon Opera Ballet, among others.
Graeme Murphy began his dance career as a performer with The Australian Ballet, for whom he also created his first ballet, Ecco le diavole, in 1971. He went on to dance with the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet and the Ballets Félix Blaska in France. He has created about 70 new pieces for Sydney Dance Company as well as numerous works for other Australian and international companies. Also a director and choreographer of opera, Murphy has worked on productions for the Canadian Opera Company, the Metropolitan Opera and Opera Australia.
Sydney Dance Company has been headed by Murphy and Vernon since 1979. Both resigned from the 18-member company last July.