Preview: Union Dance, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

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The Independent Culture

Rafael Bonachela, an associate choreographer with Rambert Dance Company, knows all about moving between the worlds of pop and art: in January, he began choreographing half of Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour.

Rafael Bonachela, an associate choreographer with Rambert Dance Company, knows all about moving between the worlds of pop and art: in January, he began choreographing half of Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour.

When not working with pop stars - his clients include The Kills and Primal Scream - he deals in pure movement in contemporary dance. His new work is part of a double bill called Sensing Change, along with a piece by the Malaysian choreographer Mavin Khoo. Bonachela's dance has been created for Union Dance, a company that mixes dance, hip-hop and martial arts.

Bonachela's life changed in 2002 when Minogue's creative director, William Baker, came to watch his Linear Remains at Sadler's Wells. "It was the least like pop choreography you can imagine," Bonachela says.

He "went into shock" when he suddenly received an e-mail requesting him to choreograph for Minogue. Avant-garde movement in a pop context was exactly what the singer and her creative team had been looking for.

"At first I thought it was a joke," Bonachela says. "Then I found myself having tea at her house. I was not a fan of her music. I dashed into a shop and bought her greatest hits. She was very sweet and said I shouldn't have bothered. She would have just given me some of her music to listen to." The resulting dance routine was for Minogue's huge hit, "Can't Get You Out of My Head".

"Then Kylie gave me my first big challenge. She asked me to choreograph the Fever tour in 2002, influenced by sci-fi, immediately after the Brit awards. It was my first full two-hour show," Bonachela says.

"Coming from a contemporary dance background, I did wonder what I was letting myself in for. Luckily, it was a positive experience. Kylie is not a diva. She works very seriously. She is very sensual, a beautiful mover. I was not a safe bet either. You aren't a real artist if you do not take risks."

11 and 12 May (0870 401 8181; www.rfh.org.uk; www.uniondance.co.uk)

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