Richard Cilli enters the Matrix with Expressions Dance Company

richard cilli expressions dance company qpac
Richard Cilli in rehearsal for Matrix. - Photo: Yin Sir

In an exhilarating double bill, Expressions Dance Company collaborates with one of China’s leading contemporary dance companies – Beijing Dance/LDTX – to present Matrix at QPAC this November. Renowned Australian dancer Richard Cilli joined Expressions Dance Company for the Chinese Australian Dance Exchange Project. Matrix came about as a result of the collaboration.

Richard Cilli

Richard Cilli first began dancing at the age of 12 after previously seeing STEPS Youth Dance Company performing.

“I immediately knew that I wanted to do that. I took part in a program that encouraged boys to dance, but never really considered it as a career. A few years into uni while studying Law, I just decided that I had to make a go of it. I auditioned for WAAPA, and never looked back.”

Later, his dance career took Richard around the world.

“I think my attraction to travel and experiencing new cultures is closely linked to my love for dance. In a dance studio, a lot of things are communicated physically. There is a certain level of detailed information that only the body can convey. I think the exposure to different cultures and work ethics, and how they unfold in the studio has been a very valuable skill. It gives you more scope for understanding what underpins people’s actions, in dancing and in life!”

richard cilli expressions dance company qpac
Photo: Leia Sidery

“Culture affects how people approach dance. In Europe, there is more of a tradition of seeing dance, particularly contemporary dance. In Taiwan and China, audiences for dance are also very dedicated, and contemporary dance is inspired by the long tradition of folk dance, Chinese opera, and martial arts, along with western techniques like ballet. However, while dance enjoys good audiences in Australia, there’s room for expansion. Australian dance has a freshness and expansiveness and also often includes tongue-in-cheek humour.”

richard cilli expressions dance company qpac
Matrix by Stephanie Lake. Photo: Jade Ellis.

Expressions Dance Company in Beijing

Richard recently traveled to China where Expressions Dance Company collaborated with Beijing Dance/LDTX with MATRIX the end result.

“The creation in Beijing was both intensive and immersive. The Australian dancers felt really open because of the foreign environment, so we worked differently than we would at home. Despite the language barrier, we communicated easily – through dance. It was magical.  We quickly became friends and worked so closely together!

“The combination of the two companies made for very interesting work that would not have arisen in any other circumstance! I think the resulting work blends the two companies seamlessly. It also showcases the varied skills of all the dancers from so many different backgrounds.”

Richard describes MATRIX as a double bill of impressive dance, performed by two companies of incredible dancers.

“Two very different works: Stephanie Lake’s is entrancing, high-energy and deliciously detailed, with a pumping soundtrack by Robin Fox. Ma Bo’s work is a more meditative work with some very beautiful and thought-provoking imagery.”


Matrix (noun) – a cultural, social or political environment or context in which something develops.


13 – 16 November

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