Preview: Dance at NZ International Festival 2008
Published in DANZ Magazine Dec 2007
The 2008 New Zealand International Festival offers much to delight dance lovers, a “best of” selection from the world’s festival circuit, ranging from the purest of pure dance set to gloriously live music to technology-based installation, viscerally gritty dance theatre, and family-friendly cirque.
Book Review: Laughing Mirror by Douglas Wright, Steele Roberts September 2007
Published in DANZ Magazine Dec 2007
The poet examines with a good degree of discipline and intensity his own experiences and aspects of his existence ranging from aspects of gay sexuality, through heard-through-the-wall domestic arguments, horrifying nightmares, and being no-one from nowhere, to the desire to be desired and the need to avoid another’s pain. In dithyramb, there’s a hint of the sorrow of giving up choreography, but everywhere in the book there is such joy in word-play that the sorrow is elided.
Review: Works in Progress – Paper Tiger and A Glimpse of a New World : Mondo Nuovo
Published in DANZ Magazine August 2007
Showings of work in progress are full of promise and discoveries.At the very least, they let the choreographer and performers test the limits of what has been realised to date, and they satisfy the curiosity of peers and supporters. Hopefully, they also affirm that the creative team has indeed created something of value from their raw material.
Two recent works in progress showings did all this, and also provided opportunities for potential presenters, promoters and funders to get a first-hand experience of works which the presenters hope to perform during the next two years.
Postcript Review: Dance at AK07
Published in DANZ Magazine June 2007
Auckland Festival 2007 was a huge step up from AK03 and Ak05, considerably more international and more diverse in its array of selected artists and productions, and resolutely contemporary in its programming of dance, theatre, music, forums, visual arts (including the Turbulence triennial), film, Spiegeltent entertainment, and family-focused events. It created a buzz in and around the city which previous festivals failed to achieve, and healthy attendances were achieved across the board.
Review: Tempo dance festival 2006
Published in DANZ Magazine, Jan 2007
Tempo 06 offered a wide range of experiences and approaches to dance, opportunities to sample work by companies that may not perform in Auckland on a regular basis, and projects which are off to one side from the regular productions which companies undertake.
Preview article: Looking ahead to dance in 2006
Published in NZ Herald 12 December 2006
Auckland dance fans have much to look forward to next year.
Two major festivals each bring rich dance-viewing opportunities for three weeks at a time. Between are new works by established choreographers, the return of Cirque du Soleil, this time bringing Varekai, and the Late Night Choreographers’ showcase to look forward to.
AK07 from March 9-25 is resolutely contemporary, with five dance seasons on the roster.
And from September 28-October 14, Tempo Dance Festival will present an array of performances in different styles from professional and community-based companies, supplemented by forums and showings of dance on film. [Read the article]
Commissioned contributor to Stephanie Burridge (ed) Shifting Sands: Dance in Asia and the Pacific Australian Dance Council, October 2006
Review: Trinity Triple Bill, the Royal NZ Ballet at ASB Theatre, Auckland, August 2006
Published in NZ Herald, 3 August 2006
In Banderilleros by Javier de Frutos, the dancing is fluid, sensuous, the movement complex, with hips and pelvis circling horizontally, or passing an undulant ripple vertically, the torso spiralling, and arms adding calligraphic flourishes. [Read the review]
Review: Swan Lake by the Imperial Ice Stars, The Civic, Auckland, July 2006
Published in NZ Herald 28 July 2006
This production ups the stakes on what can be achieved on a pocket handkerchief of ice stage, thanks to sophisticated choreography which has as many as 14 skaters at a time tracing intricately choreographed patterns across the ice. They create interlocking circles, overlapping spirals, flower blossoms, slow serpentines threading their way between spinning soloists and pairs. [Read the review]
Discussant with Deborah Jowitt via satellite at US Embassy arts writing session February 2006 for Creative NZ Arts Critics Workshop
Black Milk – some after thoughts
Published in DANZ Magazine, August 2005
Taken in context with previous Wright works, Black Milk can be seen as extending earlier approaches and developments in logical directions. Illuminating solos and duets and trios performed with consummate mastery are of course a Wright hallmark, and all his previous works have included stunning cameos of the kind included here. (Indeed, it was a delight to see some of those earlier cameos returning as quotations). The inclusion of dark and violent material is not new in Wright’s work, either — Now is the Hour (1988), How On Earth (1989) and As It Is (1991) included segments which drew attention to social inequities and the barbarity with which we treat our animals in New Zealand; and in Black Milk the perspective is extended to include the whole world.
Profile of Malia Johnston: Full-on and fruitful
Published in Creative NZ On Arts magazine – June 2005
Miniatures, as its name suggests, takes its focus on small things rather than grand ideas, and it is structured more like an art exhibition than a dance.
“The original idea was to explore very short sequences of movement to find out how little you need for something to be complete. I did a couple of workshops with musician/producer Eden Mulholland, on beginnings and endings, and with sculptor Dion Hitchens on creating stage environments… Miniatures is as much about objects in space and what animates and connects them as it is about movement.”
Review: Royal NZ Ballet Triple Bill
Published in NZ Herald Thursday, May 19, 2005
The award-winning Milagros is an hypnotic contemporary work with a strongly ritual form created on the company in 2003 by Javier de Frutos. Set to a pianola recording of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and following the music’s division into 14 segments, the ensemble dancing is beautifully arrayed in space, marking repeated pathways which curve and cut through the dark.
[Read the review]
Feature on MAU Forum for City Mix Magazine, March 2005
MAUFORUM Ideas + Art + Community is an annual two week festival of performances, ceremony, forums, workshops, and food hosted at the MAU studios in the Corban Estate in Henderson and running 1-15 March 2005.
“MAUFORUM is an intimate coming together of leading artists working on the edge of their arts practices, and leaders from the heart of their communities. It emphasises the relationship of artists to communities.” Lemi Ponifasio says, “It’s great for the brain, imagination and the stomach.”
Feature article: Fired up with Flamenco
Published in NZ Herald, 26 July 2004
Flamenco is one of the world’s most passionate and richly musical forms of performance, communicating profound emotions through an exhilarating blend of dance, singing and guitar. The music and dance are highly responsive to one another, sharing an improvised structure and constantly communicating.
The songs are poetic and heartfelt, speaking of love and joy, death, despair and oppression, accompanied by delicate nuances of guitar and percussion. The emphatic gestures and drumming heels of the dancer intensify the mood of the song, make the story richer and draw the audience into an emotional vortex. [Read the article]
Dance editor, City Mix magazine 2003-2009
Contributor to submissions, funding applications, media releases, communications strategy, business case and business plan developed by the executive of the New Theatre Initiative as proposed to Auckland City Council for the establishment of Q Theatre (2002-08)
Creation of tailored modules (on screen instructions, print manual) for continuously improved CMS developed by @URL Internet Consultants for use by clients.
Programme essay: Mark Morris Dance Company’s L’allegro, il Pensero ed il Moderato for the NZ International Festival 1998
External examiner for University of Waikato and University of Auckland (MA projects involving dance), Auckland Institute of Technology (MA projects involving web design).
Undergraduate degree course development – full year dance studies courses at levels 6, 7, and 8 of NZQA Framework for UNITEC BPSA 1995-98
Buried Venus: An Interview with Douglas Wright in LANDFALL: New Zealand Arts and Letters #191, Autumn 1996 p37-49
Programme essay: Douglas Wright Dance Company Australian tour of Forever (1995)
Programme notes for NZ International Festival of the Arts 1994, 1996 – artist bios and/or company descriptions, genre backgrounders
Policy analyst. Ministry of Education, March 1993 – February 1995 with responsibility for developing final document for “Education for the 21st Century” project, including public consultation, interdepartmental consultation, obtaining Cabinet approval for project costings and associated legislation.
Dance Works of 1993 in ILLUSIONS #23, March p28-35 1994
Voices He Putahitanga: Work in Progress in Midwest #3 p12-13 1993
Art Form Overview Project Papers (unpublished) commissioned by QE II Arts Council of New Zealand 1992
Robbie McCauley: Speaking History Otherwise in Linda Hart and Peggy Phelan (eds) Acting Out: Feminist Performances Michigan University Press 1992, p277-294
Indexing a wide array of books for Sydney Wolfe Cohen and Associates – biographies, histories and other non-fiction publications in the areas of visual art, sculpture, cooking, interior architecture, sailing, marine conservation, sports and receation, dance, music and performing arts, self-help … Notable books I indexed included biographies of American ballerinas Suzanne Farrell (Holding on to the Air) and Gelsey Kirkland (Dancing On My Grave), and basketball star Magic Johnson (My Life), and Jung Chang’s autobiography Wild Swans.
Selected contributor to the New York Public Library archive of dance writing, 1987-92.
MA Thesis – Writing dancing: the scope and limits of contemporary modern dance criticism, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, completed August 1989
Dance columnist for The Georgia Straight weekly newspaper, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA – contributing a monthly dance column and weekly reviews; regular contributor to VANDance quarterly Magazine
Editor, NZ Dance News quarterly journal 1981-87 – contributing numerous articles as well as soliciting and editing content, proofreading and working on distribution.
Dance writer for The Dominion newspaper, 1983-87; columnist for Dance Australia Magazine 1984-87; dance writer, NZ Listener, 1984-87; theatre columnist for Agenda magazine 1985-87; occasional contributor to a number of small publications including That Other Magazine and W5.
Some examples from this period:
Review: Limbs Dance Company in Lift Music, State Opera House, Wellington, 17-19 October 1985
Dance commentator for Radio New Zealand Arts, 1983-87; programme writer/broadcaster for Access Radio Arts Blast 1984-85.
Editor Voices in New Zealand newsletter for Bridge in New Zealand 1981-83
Curriculum developer/writer and technical writer/documentor at the NZ Correspondence School, 1978-87. Created course materials for Social Studies, Home and Family Living, co-developed and delivered radio broadcast scripts. Team member with responsibility for user needs analysis, system documentation and training within the computerisation of the School’s delivery systems.