2010 Publications

Review: Birds of Paradise at TAPAC
Published in Theatreview 9 Dec 2010
The show is a hybrid mix of burlesque (including stripping), musical and theatrical entertainment, comedy and a little edutainment. But there’s little question that the dancing is what holds the show together, and that Brownlie’s choreography is impeccably performed. Purists are bound to grumble on one score or another, and certainly there are cameo sections which could be removed in order to tighten up the narrative, and a number of “good ideas” which could take their place in some other production. But if you can set that aside and enter into the spirit of the show, it’s a lot of fun, running at two hours plus a 30-minute intermission.
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Goethe Institut Tanzconnexions Project commission
Documenting the development of contemporary dance in New Zealand via 10 biographical statements, chronology of works and an artist’s statement. Artists selected by Goethe Institut: Shona Dunlop MacTavish, Russell Kerr, Mary-Jane O’Reilly, Michael Parmenter, Shona McCullagh, Neil Ieremia, Daniel Belton, Raewyn Hill,  Malia Johnston, Louise Potiki Bryant.

Review: Fresh Cuts and Prime Cuts, Tempo 2010
Published in NZ Herald 8 Oct 2010
Justin Haiau’s vital and vigorous dance for seven men, Call to Wallis, is autobiographical, tracing his dance experiences through kapa haka, hip hop and the traditional Soamako dances of Uvea in the Wallis and Futuna Islands. Initially developed as part of last year’s Pacific Islands Dance Fono, this fluently blends traditional and contemporary moves and formations, song and chant, and is set to driving Wallisian-inspired live drumming, which quickly gets into the blood of onlookers.
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Review: Touch Compass Triple Bill 2010
Published in NZ Herald 20 August 2010
Jeremy Nelson’s SIX is a richly satisfying, finely nuanced dance in which the movement potentialities, centres of gravity, inherent contrasts of flow and dynamic variation provided by dancers in and out of wheelchairs are at the heart of the choreography. In the course of the dance, everyone gets to shine, with standout solos and delicious duets, lovely contrasts of solo and cluster, curves and spins, upward spikes and cross-floor diagonal schusses. The finer details of dynamic interactions draw on each dancer’s inner strengths, and Dan King features as the man at the centre of the action.
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Review of Grease: The Musical at The Civic
Published in Theatreview 8 Aug 2010
They are a hapless bunch, beset by inflated ideas of their own importance and cravings for rampant sex – their often lewd body language will surely result in detention more often than any kind of bodily pleasure. But Kenickie has a run-down Corvette which he intends to do up as a babe magnet, and Roger has aspirations to becoming a crooner, and they each have a fledgeling ‘significant other’ relationship to dream about.
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Review of The Imperial Ice Stars at The Civic
Published in Theatreview 22 Jul 2010
The international touring company’s latest show, the 2010 version of Swan Lake on Ice, keeps the focus firmly on the narrative and the artistry required to deliver it convincingly, rather than on the spectacular ice manoeuvres of which the company’s 26 skilled ice dancers are more than capable.  That’s not to say there is a shortage of astonishing lifts and spins, twizzles and spirals, or complex sequences of turns, but there is more emphasis on very detailed rhythmic footwork and edge work, and on interlacing patterned paths across the ice.
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Review of Etched Productions debut season at Galatos
Published in Theatreview, 24 Apr 2010
The evening closed with Sam Wood’s Puzzle, a pure movement work set to resonant music by Dirk Gillabel and Spisfire, and showing both a genuine musicality and a strong commitment to dynamic variation despite the constraints of the performance space. At times the tonal qualities of the score were echoed in the movement, or rhythmic phrases recalled.  Sudden recoiling movements were a significant contrast to slow curving, stretching sequences behind them, as were combinations of movement against stillness, rapid sequences against slow sequences. Vertical layering and off-setting of pairs in space helped to make this cohesive in movement terms—definitely worth exploring further for a more spacious venue.
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Review of Pro-posing by Anna Bate at The Basement
Published in Theatreview 19 March 2010
At times a posing sequence is extended and intensified way beyond the limits of the original, or one element is overemphasised to transform the banal into something larger than life, or the timing of a sequence is manipulated to reveal what is normally hidden. By use of such compositional strategies, slowed-down wrestling sequences are transformed into abstract choreography, cheerleader tinsel pompoms are swung so fast they blur into fireworks displays, and the over and over repetition of the flashing gestures of triumph from “the winners” become caricatures.
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Review of PO a Tribal Pop Opera by Mika at ASB Theatre
Published in Theatreview 13 March 2010
Beautifully arrayed in a voluminous red spangly Issey Miyake garment below his bare chest, with a red feather headdress and elaborately layered raised collar framing his face, Mika looks and sounds in fine form. And that fine form lasts throughout the show, with sure singing, a warm stage persona wreathed in smiles, and a gorgeous array of Issey Miyake clothing with plenty of sparkle and colour. Like Mika, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra is in fine form in a range from lush orchestration to what sounds more like an augmented rock band.
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Review of The Hungry Attic by BackLit Productions at The Basement
Published in Theatreview 12 March 2010
As dancers, the eight women of BackLit form a cohesive ensemble throughout the work, deftly and confidently moving across the floor, securely lifting and supporting one another in partner work, and competently manipulating objects ranging from giant cardboard boxes and tiny toys to glasses of water and handfuls of chalk dust. They flow easily through the solos, duos and trios which are generously scattered throughout the work, and all are eminently watchable. 
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Review of Dancing on Your Grave – NZ Festival
Published in Theatreview 28 Feb 2010
A dozen or so ditties and ballads about death are mostly delivered by the banjolele playing performer-songwriters Steve Blake and Nigel Burch, dressed as somewhat down at heel bowler-hatted undertakers. Backing vocals and some additional instrumentation (kazoo, cow bell) are provided by the dancers: woebegone Ryen Perkins-Gangnes and chic Valentina Formenti, dressed as Pierrot and Pierette, and the androgynous Maho Ihara in black taffeta overshorts and spotted halter top with cream beanie.
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