Rafael began his early dance training in Barcelona and was a member of the legendary Rambert Dance Company, both as a dancer and Associate Choreographer. He established the Bonachela Dance Company (BDC) in 2006. As a choreographer, he has been commissioned to make works for Candoco, George Piper Dances, ITDANSA, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Transitions Dance Company and Dance Works Rotterdam amongst others.
Rafael Bonachela has been the Artistic Director for Sydney Dance Company since 2009. He has created several pieces for Sydney Dance Company including 360° (2008), we unfold (2009), 6 Breaths (2010), LANDforms (2011), 2 One Another (2012), Project Rameau (2012), Emergence (2013), Les Illuminations (2013), 2 in D Minor (2014), Scattered Rhymes (2014) and Frame of Mind (2015). In addition, he has remounted outstanding repertoire from Bonachela Dance Company such as Soledad and Irony of Fate (2010) and The Land of Yes & The Land of No (2011).
Rafael’s Frame of Mind won the 2015 Helpmann Awards for ‘Best Choreography’ and ‘Best Dance Work’. 2 One Another won the ‘Best Ensemble’ Award in the 2012 Green Room Awards and the 2013 Australian Dance Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Choreography’ and ‘Outstanding Performance by a Company’.
In 2013, Kaldor Public Art Projects brought Rafael on board to develop the choreography for artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s work Revolving Door, which was part of the acclaimed live performance art exhibition 13 Rooms. For Sydney Festival 2015, Rafael collaborated with artist Mira Calix to choreograph for the Inside There Falls installation at Carriageworks.
His internationally recognised talent has seen him work not only with contemporary dance at the highest level but also with artists from popular culture, such as Kylie Minogue, Tina Turner, Sarah Blasko and Katie Noonan as well as leading fashion designers Dion Lee and Toni Maticevski. Such collaborative efforts reflect the inspiration he finds and utilises from culture today.
In February 2013, Rafael was honoured with an Officer’s Cross of the Order of Civil Merit by His Majesty the King of Spain.