Getting six of Australia’s top dance companies together on the one stage on the one night sounds practically impossible. But that is precisely what Garry Stewart, artistic director of the Australian Dance Theatre, has managed to make happen for a one-off charity performance in Sydney this week.

The Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australian Dance Theatre, Chunky Move and Lucy Guerin Inc will take to the stage of the Sydney Opera House this Sunday for Unified, a fundraiser for UNICEF.

I felt that as the director of a major arts organisation, at some point we should try to do something for various groups, Stewart said.

Working in the arts I’m aware we’re often fairly myopically focused on our own survival.

He decided to raise money for UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, because he thought it would be an organisation the dance companies would be passionate about helping.

And he was right.

All the dance companies, all the directors, were instantly supportive. Everyone got on board and wanted to make it happen, Stewart, a former choreographer who has been artistic director of the Adelaide-based ADT since 1999, said.

And UNICEF was delighted.

All ticket sales will be split between two of UNICEF’s programs. One is for children affected by HIV/AIDS in East Asia and the Pacific; the other is the Australian Indigenous Children’s Project.

In Unified each of the different dance companies will perform an excerpt of work from their repertoire.

Stewart’s troupe will perform part of their acclaimed production The Age Of Unbeauty, which they’re taking to Europe on tour later this month.

The SDC will show part of their award-winning Grand, Bangarra will do an excerpt from Rites, The Australian Ballet is performing part of Giselle, Lucy Guerin Inc is doing Melt and Chunky Move is showing I Want To Dance Better At Parties.

It’s going to be a night of the best dancers in the country all assembled on one stage, which is a really unique and rare opportunity, Stewart said.

Unified is on Sunday 9 April, 7pm, at the Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Book on 9250 7777 or at the Sydney Opera House website.

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