CounterMove | Sydney Dance Company | 2016

Feb 25, 2016

Photography: Images by Pedro Greig

Sydney Dance Company opens 2016 with CounterMove — an exhilarating double bill that will intrigue, move and entertain you.

Rafael Bonachela’s world premiere, Lux Tenebris explores light and darkness with fiercely physical movement and deep, electronic beats by composer Nick Wales (long-term collaborator of Sarah Blasko). While Alexander Ekman’s Cacti is a brilliantly conceived, laugh-out-loud funny piece that dares to poke fun at contemporary dance. Featuring a string quartet live on stage, Ekman’s witty and energetic choreography returns to Sydney having left a global trail of rapturous reviews. 

The highlight of last week was a special invitation to The Sydney Dance Company (my happy place) to an open rehearsal with Rafael and his amazing team of dancers rehearsing for CounterMove. During the performance Rafael spoke passionately about ‘finding the light in the darkness’ the inspiration behind his latest Sydney Dance Company production.  With the contrast of 'positive and negative light' as a central theme throughout, CounterMove is rich with “brutal salsa, tribal beats, intimate moments and a hint of sparkle” says Bonachela. The highly acclaimed Cacti is sure to leave everyone smiling. “From one of Barcelona’s most successful choreographers, Cacti is a show that the Australian audience will connect with” says Bonachela.

What an honour it was to be invited to watch this sneak peek performance and catch up with the dancers afterwards. From what I have seen of rehearsal, CounterMove is sure to delight an eager Sydney audience at the World premier on Friday night. Thank you to the Sydney Dance Company for this wonderful opportunity. 

With limited performances in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra be sure to get your tickets as they are sure to sell out fast!

Follow #SDCCounterMove @SydneyDanceCo on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Choreography + Costumes: Alexander Ekman
Stage Design: Alexander Ekman and Thomas Visser
Lighting Design: Thomas Visser
Lyrics: Spenser Theberge

Lux Tenebris
Choreography: Rafael Bonachela
Composer: Nick Wales

Lighting Design: Benjamin Cisterne

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TRAVEL | Valentines Day with Mr & Mrs Smith

Feb 13, 2016

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, so a lovely excuse to plan a romantic getaway with your loved one. Away from the office, the deadlines, and the pressures of balancing a family, a romantic weekend away can be just what is needed to recharge the batteries. So if you are thinking you might like to surprise your significant other with a weekend away, or a longer holiday together, here are some suitably romantic destinations from the boutique hotel experts, Mr & Mrs Smith.
Halcyon House
, Cabarita Beach, NSW

Take one part faded-surf motel, one part Mediterranean pool chic, one part breezy Californian cool and one part Long Island nauticalia. Shake well and serve over a laid-back Cabarita beachfront. Garnish with a crowd-pulling restaurant and lashings of sunshine. Sit back and drink it in. 
Highlights - Eye-popping design details 
- Secluded beachfront setting
- Paper Daisy restaurant to write home about.
Eagles Nest
, Bay of Islands, NZ

A luxurious estate atop a private peninsula overlooking New Zealand's Bay of Islands, Eagles Nest hotel has five ultra-contemporary, individually designed villas with spectacular views. This North Island boutique retreat is the ultimate in exclusivity and beyond-five-star hospitality, encompassing 75-acres of sub-tropical native bush with secluded beaches and more than 144 islands to explore. With private chefs, infinity pools and even a Porsche at your disposal, you can do as much or as little as you like.
 - Luxe modern villas with breathtaking views.
- Opportunity to see kiwis in their natural environment.
 Driving (or being driven) around Russell in a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. 
Matakauri Lodge, 
Queenstown, NZ
Just seven minutes drive from New Zealand’s adventure capital, you'll find jaw-dropping, view- flashing Queenstown hotel Matakauri Lodge. With 11 luxurious rooms – all with majestic alpine and lake views – this boutique beauty is blessed with flawless natural assets. Immaculate service, uncontrived dining and light-filled interiors by Virginia Fisher add to the wow factor
 - Majestic alpine and lake views
- Warm but professional service
- Skiing, trekking and boating beckon
Alila Semiyak, 
Bali, Indonesia 
A modernist vision in dark wood and floor-to-ceiling glass, boutique hotel Alila Semiyak sprawls sultrily along a stretch of volcanic sands on Bali’s buzzy southern coast. It may house a traditional temple in its grounds, but its enticing spa, ocean-view restaurant and three sleek infinity pools showcase a thoroughly modern take on hospitality.
 - Ocean-view pools
-  Steps from Seminyak’s buzz
- Tantalizing spa
Likuliku Lagoon,
 Fiji Resort

Romantic, adults-only Likuliku Lagoon Resort boutique hotel in Fiji seduces with the country's only over water bungalows, spacious beachfront bures and sea views. Smart dining, stylish design and a serene spa up the luxe factor, or let loose with snorkelling sessions, jungle walks or a spot of island-hopping.

- Romantic overwater bungalows, rare in Fiji
- Fabulous food and a strong spa
- Seductive lagoon location, handy for snorkelling and diving
Enticed? Whatever destination you've fallen for, you best get booking quick. Head over to Mr & Mrs Smith for the best available rates, money back with every booking, and a free extra on arrival.

Visit their website here or call 1 300 89 6627.

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STAY | The Old Clare Hotel | Sydney

The Old Clare Hotel has dusted itself off and has cleaned up pretty well indeed! Stretching across two iconic heritage-listed buildings – The Clare Hotel pub and the Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building is now a 62 room boutique hotel retaining the buildings long Sydney heritage with all of the fit outs of a luxury boutique hotel. The rooms have all of the creature comforts we love - Nespresso machine, extra large King Beds, magazines, and  bespoke linen.

Situated along the fabulous and vibrant re-developed Kensington Street precinct, The Old Clare Hotel is the first Australian hotel from the unconventional Unlisted Collection in Chippendale, right by Sydney's UTS and a stones throw from the CBD and Broadway. This area with its rich and varied history is home to some amazing restaurants, art galleries, design studios, caf├ęs and bars.  The Old Clare Hotel is home to three new restaurants from esteemed chefs Sam Miller, Clayton Wells and Jason Atherton. Spice Alley is just across the path, with an abundance of noodle and dumpling bars, dessert bars and some of Sydney’s most colourful and cute little terrace homes.  

Kensington Street Social provides flexibility, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, from sharing plates and snacks to multi-course meals. From the mind and hardworking hands of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.

Its important to remember to look up when you are walking through the Old Clare Hotel. Whether it be the contemporary windows contrasting with the original brick work, vertical gardens towering high above, or the original lighting and marble detail in some of the rooms, there is something unique in every corner. The perfect blend of old meets new, with enough of the building's original features in tact, with all of the modern luxuries you expect from a Sydney hotel. The original Pub downstairs is the perfect place to drop in for a casual cold beer. 

The Old Clare's passionate and super helpful concierge Martin Bray took us for a tour of the building, including this beautiful polished concrete staircase leading up to the private board room and meeting facilities. This is probably my second favourite feature of the hotel. Can you guess what the first one might be...
...the rooftop pool and bar of course. Equipped with an uber cool cocktail bar and crowd to match, this is the place to chill out over a Aperol Spritz and watch the sun go down over the city. There was such a great vibe on Sunday afternoon, and the next morning when the crowds had all gone back to work, I had the pool all to myself.

We stayed in one of the fabulous Clare Rooms, with the original marble lobby and corniced ceiling in the former C.U.B administration building lobby, with the original curved glass window and the original Tooth & Co sign visible from the street. Loved the old bikes in theology too. 

All photos by Natalie Hayllar of Eat Read Love
The Old Clare Hotel is the perfect place for your next Sydney 'staycation', or for the interstate tourist or business traveller looking for a stylish and more friendly relaxed alternative to a big chain hotel. With walking distance to the heart of Sydney, fabulous eateries, three restaurants on site, a rooftop bar and luxury suites and rooms, this historic part of Sydney has been lovingly restored into a cool and classy boutique hotel. Walking along the Central Park precinct, and looking up I had the strange but welcome sensation of being in Brooklyn NYC. Go and check it out, I know you will love it. For bookings go to The Old Clare Hotel

Unlisted Collection: is the umbrella brand that comprises unique, high quality boutique hotel properties and restaurants in Singapore, London, Shanghai, and now in Sydney, including seven boutique hotels and twenty restaurants in these major cosmopolitan cities, including London’s Town Hall Hotel, Singapore’s New Majestic Hotel and Shanghai’s The Waterhouse at South Bund.  
Happy Weekend. 

*Eat Read Love was a guest of The Old Clare Hotel. 

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STAY | Luxury Travel with Mr & Mrs Smith

Photos by Nadean Richards

Planning a Holiday with Mr & Mrs Smith Luxury Travel Guides
It is with much excitement and anticipation that I will be living out my bookish fantasy and road tripping around the UK and Europe with my family in May this year. It will be a 10 week book/movie tour of sorts, with planned visits to the locations from my most beloved books and movies. Starting in London (Notting Hill), through Oxford (Harry Potter, Discovery of Witches) via the Cotswold's, down to the Cornish Coast (Jane Austin), with a bit of surfing along the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales. Perhaps a visit to Beatrix Potter country in the Lakes District on our way to Scotland. Of course I will follow the Outlander trail in search of Jamie Fraser and his Scottish Clansmen (it's no secret I am a huge Outlander fan) in the Highlands. Then it's across to Copenhagen in Denmark (home of Ragnar's Vikings), and from there... well who knows. Perhaps Sicily, The Greek Islands and the Croatian coast (Game of Thrones' Kings Landing), with our final stop a Midnight in Paris. 

Planning a trip is half the fun, and Mr & Mrs Smith is my go to travel guide. I have a copy of the UK/Scotland and Italy Guide books in my hot little hands and cannot wait to start exploring, planning and booking some fabulous properties. Some of Mr & Mrs Smith's most romantic getaways are featured on the blog this week too, just in time for Valentines Day. 

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