An immersive dance hall meets dance theatre performance, The Rivoli is a tribute to the iconic dance halls across Australia that were a celebration of social life before social media. A hit at Sydney Festival 2020, this joyous production will bring local communities together.
From the early 1930s to the late 1960s, the Rivoli Dance Palace in Parramatta was Western Sydney’s favourite dance hall. Demolished in 1973 to make way for an office development, now nothing remains of ‘The Riv’ except the stories of the people who danced there. The action at the Rivoli Ballroom was broadcast on radio stations across Australia’s eastern seaboard for over a decade during the 50s and 60s. It was a place where entire families could gather to share in dancing and music. Today, the venue only exists in the memories of those who danced there.
This dance work began by imagining what such a venue would look like if it existed today. What kinds of communities would come together to reaffirm their shared identity through bodies and rhythm and music? We needed to look no further than this building to find diverse cross-sections of the community coming together to dance. Throughout this work, you’ll hear the voices of people who danced at the Rivoli, as well as the voices of those who dance now, in this town. Dance has a way of bringing people and communities together in a way nothing else can. But in reflecting and strengthening certain communities, it’s also worth considering how these spaces can exclude others.
This work mirrors the interest that Dance Makers Collective has always had in social dances. In some ways, these spaces for social dance reflect the aims of DMC itself – to gather, share ideas, and to support each other creatively, socially, and artistically. To dance together.
The Rivoli features some of Australia's best dancers and a stellar live band. We invite you and your favourite dance partner to be swept into an immersive exploration of mid-century nightlife, desire and social connection. It is Dance Makers Collective’s most ambitious work yet, The Rivoli, an ode to a bygone dance era.
“From the moment I stepped into the Town Hall I was propelled back in time.” - Vicki Van Hout, Form