Footnote dancers in Elliptical Fictions choreographed by Zahra Killeen-Chance with backdrop imagery by Richard Killeen. Photography by Caroline Atkinson Photography
Review of Balancing Point presented by Footnote New Zealand Dance at Q Theatre, Auckland from 28-29 August 2018, 7.30pm
Reviewed by Raewyn Whyte
Footnote’s latest double bill, Balancing Point, presents two strongly contrasting dance works which offer alternate perspectives on the significantly dancerly quality of “being in the moment.”
Elliptical Fictions, an absorbing, mesmerising, rigorous and deeply satisfying dance work choreographed by Zahra Killeen-Chance, is inspired by her recent experience of Tai Chi Chen during a 3-month artist’s residency in Taiwan.
The pace is mostly slow, steady, deliberate, measured, and the Tai Chi connection is evident. Set against a projected backdrop of densely linear, vertically aligned glyphs created by artist Richard Killeen, the dance closely examines the relationship between the line and the curve, the way these shapes interact and influence one another as the human body moves in space, and the constant rebalancing of yin and yang, darkness and light.
Not that you need to know that, because the movement is entrancing, and the way it plays against the continuously zooming backdrop constantly teases the eye. Ever-smaller details of both movement and design become apparent as the glyphs slowly expand, with silhouetted hands and feet on screen echoing their use in the movement sequences. Eventually the zooming glyphs swallow up the dancers into a screen almost filled by just one black dot.
The second work, A Snail Watches Dust Particles in Sunlight, co-created by James O’Hara and Eliza Sanders, is set to a suite of six songs by Nadia Reid and dressed in pastel streetwear by Kowtow. It explores the way finding home within your own body counters the restlessness of constant travel and resettlement. The up-to-the-minute look and feel provides the setting for a relatively accurate revisiting of 1970s dance styles, from hippy trance and rambling improvisation to floor-based partner work, and euphoric nakedness.
Footnote’s five dancers are an assured, cohesive ensemble who seem to relish the challenges of these two works and perform with commitment to the moment.
[This review was commissioned by NZ Herald and eventually appeared there online.]