2011 Publications

Review of This Is The Stand I Made (Home Edition) by Georgia Giesen 
Published in Theatreview 18 Dec 2011
Giesen is a powerful presence, crouching swooping, swirling, delivering threatening moves and volleys of punches with a good deal of relish. The dance (co-developed with Rutter) is a brilliant series of accumulating moves intercut by reversed sequences, a mix of bboy/bgirl, video game, martial arts and boxing, sports and WWE, monsters and villains, supplemented by those flickering micro-gestures of face and body of which Giesen is the master,  punctuated by bursts of coloured light and sound. 
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Profile/Feature article: Ballet greats honour teacher’s 60-year career
Published in NZ Herald 10 December
Elegantly coiffed, and standing regally tall in the way that ballet teachers do, Valerie Murray is a graceful woman with a definite presence. As she walks around the studio in her Mangere Bridge home, photos of former students on the walls provide a vivid feeling that class is always in progress here.
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Review: The Beaten Track curated by Flux Productions at Musgrove Studio
Published in NZ Herald 8 Dec 2011
A delightful quirky miscellany of approaches to contemporary dance comprise The Beaten Track, a collection of seven mostly solo works which branch out into new structures and movement vocabularies and offer seven very different moods and settings for the audience.
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Review: This is a Trans-World with Sam I Am, Auckland Old Folks Association Hall
Published in Theatreview 12 Nov 2011
A wide range of performance modes is used to canvass the various themes and issues communicated. There’s a good deal of talk in some sections — most notably a series of wry (and often funny) personal anecdotes about growing up in Helensville;  while others are utterly wordless,  comprised solely of immersive cellular improvisation — one of these focuses on Gay Shame. Talk and cellular improv are combined in a section which considers the notion of straightness and where it is determined, in the body and/or the mind, with various kinds of kinked-ness, twisted-ness and bent-ness demonstrated along the way to arriving at the logic that straightness is relative.
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Review:  Sacre, The Auckland Dance Project 2011
Published in Theatreview 15 Oct 2011
Accompanied by the Introduction section of Stravinsky’s famous Le Sacre du Printemps, played by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra under conductor Eckehard Stier, the opening section of the once-only presentation of Sacre: The Auckland Dance Project is utterly riveting, showing the first sighting of the land of Aotearoa from the helm of a far-voyaging waka carried steadily on the crests of ocean waves through a dark but calm night. The stage has a dusting of haze and very low lighting, and the first impression is that we are looking at a huge painting, with an ocean of glowing jewel tones – gorgeous, inky blues and blacks, glowing teal greens, splashes of scarlet and brown and aqua.
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Review: Tempo Dance Festival 2011 second week (Prime Cuts showcase, Rifleman Productions with Footnote Dance Company in body fight time) and Verse 2 by Black Grace
Published in NZ Herald 10 Oct
The richly referential and metaphorically layered new body/fight/time was the final main bill work in Q’s auditorium for Tempo. Collectively developed by choreographer and director Malia Johnston and co-director Emma Willis in partnership with the dancers, this presents a series of bodily encounters, some with catastrophic impact,  affecting our perceptions and the future we anticipate as a result.
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Review: Tempo Dance Festival 2011 first week (Tertiary Colours showcase, Southern Lights Dance Company triple bill, Footnote Dance Company in Hullapoloi)
Published in NZ Herald 6 October 2011.
Footnote Dance Company’s highly engaging and physically demanding hour-long Hullapolloi, by contrast, is a postmodern fable about the crushing impact on our lives of capitalism, consumerism and greed, co-developed by choreographer Kate McIntosh and writer Jo Randerson. Despite being fully enveloped in extraordinarily stretchy, neon-coloured, zipped-up impersonal body suits, the dancers convey highly individual personas as they go about their strange rituals, acquiring more and more stuffing for their suits, seizing any opportunity to acquire, and then suffering the consequences before starting to look for new ways to live.
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Review: NZ Body Art Awards Show 2011, ASB Theatre
Published in Theatreview 2 Oct 2011
The real focus of the show, of course, is what the models are wearing on their skins – the outcome of 8 hours of work on the day, and  for the categories such as Special Effects – Fantasy  and Fluorescent Illusion which  allow and require more than paint, there is the  addition of objects and pre-crafted elements. The array of designs is extraordinarily fanciful, covering the models from head to toe. The theme is relatively prescriptive, so of course elements of the New Zealand landscape, flora and fauna, and iconic kiwiana abound. Paint is supplemented by makeup, glitter, ferns and feathers and woven objects, masks, sculptured body parts, prosthetics of many kinds. As we move through the categories, the focus shifts from painted skin alone to the most astoundingly elaborate augmented designs, and the audience becomes increasingly vocal about their favourites in each category.
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Review: Tuakana Showcase of Maori Contemporary Dance, Tempo Dance Festival 2011
Published in
Theatreview 1 Oct 2011
Kapa haka and Maori contemporary dance are not often presented on the same stage, even though both are contemporary art forms  which publicly express and celebrate Maori values and examine social issues, both rely on choreographic structures for their effectiveness, and seek the continuing development of artistry and virtuosity for their performers. Their juxtaposition in Tuakana highlights what both forms share — respect for the art form, its protocols, and one’s fellow artists, respect for the mana of senior artists whose many contributions have inspired others to follow a similar path, and for the passion and commitment which performers at all levels bring to their performance. Both forms also reach out to their audience, seeking to engage them viscerally, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually —  though the way this is done is perhaps one of the major differences between the two.
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Review: Te Houhi by Atamira Dance Company at Q Theatre, Auckland
Published in NZ Herald 23 September 2011
Like a Renaissance triptych, the work is structured into two smaller sections which act as bookends for a more substantial core, at the same time creating an overarching narrative which links all three together. An interspersed voiceover narration ensures that the key aspects of the overarching story are not missed, and the stream of video imagery subtly draws attention to the symbolic interconnections between the various elements.
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Review: Venus Is… by The Dust Palace at Q Theatre  Loft, Auckland
Published in Theatreview 9 Sept 2011
Transformation is the watchword throughout this show, with twists and turns and sudden changes of scene which keep the audience engaged with events and redirect their attention to whatever it is they need to be looking at while performers slip away from what is now ended. Venus, for example, becomes a sultry, sequinned songstress who delivers a series of bluesy, regretful songs made famous by Nina Simone.  The monumental satyr figure (Ebon Graymon) whose presence implies more sinister kinds of sexual interactions, is also the one who hilariously delivers voiceovers from what sound like romantic movies of an earlier era, whilst plying selected audience members with a good deal of personal attention.
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Review: HEAR ME : The Producing Project at Auckland Old Folks Association Hall for Live Series 2011
Published in 
Theatreview 30 July 2011
Molly Bloom from James Joyce’s Ulysees (1922) is distinctly here in the room with us for the duration of the beautifully nuanced Bloom (1989) choreographed by Canadian Margie Gillis and impressively danced by Lydia Bittner-Baird. This is no work in progress, it is whole cloth — a very tricky interpretive dance set to the eight extraordinarily long sentences of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, echoing the flickering cadences of the stream of consciousness text and its fleeting references to the thoughts passing through Molly’s mind as she lies in bed beside her husband. The choreography masterfully interweaves naturalistic, figurative, symbolic and abstract movements to reflect a selection of the umpteen events recounted in the text, and the dancer magically flickers in and out of the multiple personas introduced in the recounting of events, revealing the real amidst the poetic, and ending on an exultant Yes!. which is corporeally shouted.
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Overview: Dance at Auckland Fringe 2011
Published in DANZ Magazine, June 2011
At its best, Fringe performance is profound and luminary, enthralling and engaging, exceeding all expectations. Fringe approaches often re-invent old genres in new ways, pay homage to formerly revolutionary works or ground-breaking artists, combine strange bed-fellows or juxtapose practices which have seldom been placed together. Whatever the art form, the Fringe approach runs against conventional practice in some way.
In Auckland Fringe 2011, the usual rich Auckland array of contemporary dance, cirque, burlesque/cabaret, movement-based outdoors performance and multidisciplinary improvisation genres took their place at venues ranging from The Basement, Galatos and Mangere Arts Centre, to Myers Park and the Parnell Saltwater Baths.

Review: The Stravinsky Selection, Royal NZ Ballet,  ASB Theatre
Published in Theatreview 26 May 2011
The world conjured in Milagros, choreographed by Javier de Frutos,  is built equally by movement, design, and music, by the play of light on moving bodies as they endlessly circle their dance floor, or prowl the invisible perimeters of their territory, awaiting the outcome determined by the patterns of fate. It is not a pleasant world they inhabit, and by turn they may be harshly handled, or provided with pleasure, subjected to torture and pain, or transcend all else in moments of ecstasy. The dancers are obviously attuned to that place, and their focus never wavers, and though the impact is never electrifying, it still carries a chill. The poignancy of the lambent piano roll version of the music to which we are treated seems entirely appropriate here.
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Review: Live Live Cinema – Carnival of Souls, Mercury Theatre for Auckland Arts Festival 2011
Published in Theatreview 5 March 2011
The once-plush surroundings of the Mercury Theatre – most recently home to an evangelical congregation – are a fitting setting for this production. It still feels like a theatre, and the plush-covered seats look the part. A big screen high up on the back wall of the stage shows the projected movie. On the stage below, the orchestra is arrayed at stage right, the actors occupy centre-left, and a brightly lit, object strewn foley booth sits to stage left.
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Review: Loin… [Far…] Rachid Ouramdane, Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland Festival 2011
Published in NZ Herald 4 Mar 2011
French dancer-choreographer Rachid Ouramdane’s multimedia performance installation Loin …(Far … ) is a very personal meditation on the nature of identity and the ways in which it is shaped by violence, aggression, war, politics, destruction, and by the legacies of the past we carry with us, especially in our bodies.
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Review: Who Are You?  Black Grace UrbanYOUTHMovement, Musgrove Studio, Auckland Festival 2011
Published in NZ Herald, 3 March 2011
The most compelling content is wordless and bathos-filled when the dancing follows an arc from a quiet party with a few drinks to the variously disposed and inebriated partiers, to alcohol-fuelled drivers and passengers who end up as bodies scattered across the stage. The coda that follows feels very much anti-climactic.
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Review:  When Animals Dream of Sheep, Winning Productions in Myers Park for Auckland Fringe Festival 2011
Published in Theatreview 26 February 2011
The upper section of Myers Park forms a somewhat precipitously sloped amphitheatre bisected by a set of stairs and a pathway leading down into the park. A large statue of Moses is sited near the bottom of the stairs on the right, and there is vegetation dotted about – clumps of trees and bushes and several gigantic palm trees.  Apartment and office buildings merge on the right-hand rim, and a large parking building perches on the edge of the slope. On the left, a sizeable area is simply a grassy slope which ends in a rock face. Back from  the edge, more buildings, with bush edging the pathway below. It’s a great place for an outdoor performance on a summer’s evening, with the audience perched on the left-hand slope, and with some watching surreptitiously from apartment balconies.
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Review: Mixed Nuts by Lima Productions at Mangere Arts Centre for Pacific Fringe Festival 2011
Published in Theatreview 26 Feb 2011
The Mixed Nuts variety showcase at Mangere Arts Centre is great fun and an impressive introduction to local talent. It also introduces the multiple spaces of the beautiful new building which opened just four months ago. The twenty-six (mostly emerging) artists able who comprise Lima Dance Productions are dancers, actors, comedians and singers, and they are confident performers, well able to hold the audience in the palm of their hands. Under the overall direction of director/producer Olivia Taouma, and with some support from Pacific Institute of Performing Arts, they aspire to a future in performance.
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