An iconic social scene destination located in Western Sydney from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, the Rivoli Dance Palace in Parramatta was a music mecca for the masses of the metropolis and earned the reputation as Sydney’s favourite dance hall. Demolished in 1973 for a new office development, the Rye Waltz, Rumba, rhythm, and rock of ‘The Riv’ were consigned to the memories of those who once graced its grand dancefloor, or listened to the live action from the ballroom on the wireless for over a decade in 50s and 60s. Gone, but not forgotten, the Rivoli now lives on in a dance theatre performance of the same name

Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre (DRTCC) presents Dance Makers Collective’s THE RIVOLI, directed by Miranda Wheen. Set in a time when a ‘social community’ meant people coming together, talking face to face, enjoying each other’s company, listening to music, and the idea of doing that via social technology was purely the stuff of science fiction, THE RIVOLI plays homage to music and dance of the era.

“Dance Makers Collective, based on Darug land in Western Sydney, is Australia’s only collective-led professional dance company. Formed in 2012, its members are all independent artists with a vast range of unique practices, and we’re very excited they are bringing ‘The Riv’ to the region,” said Linda Christof, DRTCC Manager. “THE RIVOLI is an unmissable immersive dance hall meets dance theatre performance well suited to the Convention Centre performance space.”

“It’s a joyous tribute to the iconic dance halls across Australia, something some members of the community would still vividly remember from their youth. It’s something a whole new generation could easily share in and enjoy through the rich and immersive energy of this performance,” said Ms Christof. 

THE RIVOLI mirrors the interest that Dance Makers Collective has always had in social dances. “Dance Makers Collective are continuing to expose the secret pockets of dance. The Rivoli was such a loss to our dance history,” said Director Miranda Wheen. “Just imagine 400 or so people every Friday and Saturday night coming together, across generations, to dance together. We need this back! That’s why we made this show.”

As part of THE RIVOLI experience, producers of the show travel ahead of the performance to capture the stories and memories of locals across the ages who enjoy dance.  Those tributes and recollections form part of the overall experience – a truly immersive experience guaranteed to pull theatre goers into the energy of live performance and live music.

“Throughout the performance, you’ll hear the voices of local people who dance here in this region, including Ruth Carney, Paul Martin, Helen Emblem and Farhana Chandran. Dance has a way of bringing people and communities together in a way nothing else can,” said Ms Wheen.

“THE RIVOLI features some of Australia's best dancers, including 10 local contemporary dance students, and 10 rock’n roll dancers from the region. The Tin Roof Big Band will top and tail the performance, and patrons will be able to join in too,” said Linda Christof. “DRTCC invites you to be swept into an immersive exploration of mid-century nightlife, desire and social connection.”

Tickets for the 1st and 2nd April shows are on sale now and people are encouraged to book now through the DRTCC box office; visiting the website; or by calling (02) 6801 4378.  

Producers have heralded it as Dance Makers Collective’s most ambitious work yet.THE RIVOLI, an ode to a bygone dance era.

Last Edited: 17 Jul 2023

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