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RAW BEGINNINGS BUT WATCH HIS SPACE

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Illusion DanceTheatre
Choreographed by Patrick Suenderhauf

at Devonport Methodist Church, Auckland
From 6 Jun 2008 to 7 Jun 2008

Reviewed by Felicity Molloy, 11 Jun 2008


Patrick Suenderhauf is a dancer of the highest credentials. We actually got to see him move briefly at the beginning of the show, and my heart cracked. How is it that Suenderhauf is not performing? His elegance and exquisiteness was really something to see. He is not originally a New Zealander and not well known as a choreographer here either.

He is one of those prolific, industrious dance people who live in dance. His evident passion validated the depth of concern I had about choosing between the All Blacks v the Irish and a dance show in Devonport.

I am glad I went to the dance show, although I did whiz and watch the last part of the chunky thighs running around in the rain on my friend's flat screen...

Dancers in Patrick's show were gorgeous. Young and barely released from their apprenticeship with dance, they were at all times nicely technical.

Fleur Cameron, Rebekkah Schoonbeek and Katie-Rose Fraser held my attention particularly as they were expressive. As dancers develop, their ways of enchanting the audience shifts. Of the cast, these three dancers evidenced a mature capability to try out performance connections within an intimate and upfront situation.

Devonport Methodist Church is a small venue and the people sitting on the bleachers could see everything. I liked that - the usual artifice of ballet mode dance less prevalent.

The evenings programme presented mostly solos and an eclectic music selection. A tiny bit reminiscent of dance competitions, and ever so slightly marred by virtuosic choices -long stanzas of complicated movement fit well within a more complete ballet score, less well in a series of single dancer efforts. Suenderhauf's vocabulary is clever but not always fully formed. Movement is complicated and swirly, little time given to witness the dancer's bodies or the subtler communicative qualities which make dance memorable.

The last dance, 'Broken English', inspired by a recent movie of the same name, is a work in progress (when is a dance fully finished?). This dance revealed a different range of movement and a more accessible tempo; a sensitive attempt at a new immigrant girl story with some really lovely choreographic group moments. Raw beginnings but definitely worth watching his space.
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