Pinkly energising (2017)

Review of The Rebel Pink by Footnote NZ Dance at Q Theatre Loft 7 April 2017

This review was written for NZ Herald but was misplaced in their IT system, and then significantly altered by a subeditor before being loaded online. The original review is published here for the record.

Reviewed by Raewyn Whyte

Footnote NZ Dance in Not All Who Launder Are Washed. Photo credit: Kerrin Burns


The Rebel Pink is wonderfully energising. A shocking pink dance floor enriched by Marcus Shane’s pink lighting gives a rosy glow to the audience seated on three sides, and live music by drummer Tom Scrase keeps the senses heightened. Great dancing by all five Footnote dancers adds lustre to a triple bill of fresh new dance works.

Holly Newsome’s trio Sweet Salt starts simply and builds to a climax. The dancers (Adam Naughton, Tyler Carney and Georgia Beechey-Gradwell) make a million unpredictable movements while their faces rapidly morph through an astonishing array of expressions. There’s a strange fragmentary tale about desiccated coconut, a needle in the back of the head, balls in the stomach and earrings in the saucepan. This gives way to dramatic drumming which builds the tensions and an emerging pulse which sweeps everyone into syncopated action. The energy spills over, and before long the audience is grinning and laughing and cheering.

Not All Who Launder Are Washed by Eliza Sanders brings all five dancers on. Four dancers vocalise words and phrases while they caper, move in vigorous, frenzied bursts and take up strangely contorted positions. The fifth (Anu Khapung) makes her way very slowly across the floor diagonally, silently screaming as she goes. There is plenty of contrast and some intriguing juxtapositions, but nothing really develops, and the ending is anticlimactic despite the intensity of performance.

Nancy Wijohn’s The Silent Partner is a sensitively nuanced duet of negotiated intimacy in which the space between the dancers is as important as the closeness they achieve. The movement exchanges between Joshua Faleatua and Anu Khapung are buffeted by quickly changing emotions which flicker and flare. The dancers circle warily and keep their distance, grapple, and embrace. When the final moments bring them to rest, lying side by side, heartfelt relief seems to be shared by the audience. Hearty cheering greets the final bows.

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