2009 Made in New Zealand

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

28/05/2009 - 28/05/2009

Hawkes Bay Opera House, Hastings

06/06/2009 - 06/06/2009

Southwell School Performing Arts Centre, Hamilton

12/06/2009 - 12/06/2009

Repertory House, 167 Esk Street, Invercargill

24/05/2009 - 24/05/2009

Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago, Dunedin

02/04/2009 - 04/04/2009

Opera House, Wellington

20/05/2009 - 20/05/2009

Production Details

Footnote Dance presents

2009 Made in New Zealand

Dunedin gets first look at home-grown dance

New Zealand’s national contemporary dance company Footnote Dance returns to its favourite stomping ground Dunedin for a special preview season. 2009Made in New Zealand is a unique showcase of original home-grown dance works set to New Zealand music.

Directed by Deirdre Tarrant with lighting by the incomparable Martyn Roberts, this popular event returns to Dunedin, premiering at the Allen Hall on April 2 – 4 at 7pm.

For the 2009 Dunedin Fringe Festival, Footnote is unveiling its new season 2009Made in New Zealand featuring graceful and gut-busting dance works by some of this country’s best contemporary choreographers including Michael Parmenter, Malia Johnston, Raewyn Hill, Deirdre Tarrant, Katie Burton and Sarah Foster.

Foster’s work, Quick Unpick takes its stimuli from her Grandmother and the North Otago Embroiderer’s Guild. Company dancer Jesse Wikiriwhi also makes his choreographic debut with Little Sister – a work based on his own family’s experiences in Christchurch.

The Made in New Zealand series is unique because, unlike most contemporary dance works, each piece is a collaboration between the choreographer and composer, who toil back and forth to create an original piece from the ground up, rather than choreographers setting dance works to already-composed pieces of music.

Composers featured in the 2009 season include Eden Mulholland, Josh Rutter, Andy Foster and Dudley Benson.  

Footnote Dance director Deirdre Tarrant said Dunedin audiences will enjoy a unique opportunity to see this new selection of New Zealand dance in its final stages of development.

"Lovers of dance in Dunedin should think of this special preview season of 2009Made in New Zealand as an off-Broadway style show," said Ms Tarrant.

"We’ve pulled together some of New Zealand’s greatest choreographers, coupled them to fantastic home-grown music and together they have created works specially for the fabulous Footnote dancers who are among the best this country has to offer – a triple win situation!

"Anyone who appreciates dance and movement will be impressed by the athleticism and captivated by the emotive journey of this 2009Made in New Zealand preview season," she said.

Since establishing its identity as a unique programme of kiwi repertoire in 2007, Made in New Zealand has become a touchstone in the New Zealand dance calendar. Choreographers previously featured have included Jeremy Nelson, Merenia Gray, Julia Sadler, Moss Patterson, Tim Fletcher and Sarah Knox.

2009 Made in New Zealand PREVIEW
Dunedin: Allen Hall Theatre – 2, 3, 4 April, 7pm
Tickets: 0800 4 TICKET or www.ticketdirect.co.nz

Wellington – Opera House: May 20, 8pm

Invercargill – Repertory House: May 24 1.30pm & 4pm

Auckland – SKYCITY Theatre: May 28, 8pm

Hastings – Hawkes Bay Opera House: June 6, 8pm

Hamilton – Southwell School Performing Arts Centre: June 12 8pm 


Celebrating NZ Music month with music by Kiwi composers:
Eden Mulholland:  Josh Rutter
Josh Tilsley:  Sally Nicholas
Andrew Foster:  David Long
Dudley Benson:  Fly My Pretties

Footnote Dance directed by Deirdre Tarrant:
Jesse Wikiriwhi:  Sarah Knox
Claire Lissaman:  Anita Hunziker
Jeremy Poi:  Francis Christeller  

Lighting Design: Wendy Clease
Photography: Dean Zillwood
Graphic Design: Chrometoaster
Publicity: Phil Reed - Message Traders
Administration: Nina Baeyertz, Rowena Coleman, Phoebe Heyhoe

Choreographer: Raewyn Hill
Music: David Long
Costume/ Lighting concept: Raewyn Hill
Dancers:  Jesse Wikiriwhi, Jeremy Poi and Anita Hunziker or Sarah Knox 

Carry the Boy
Choreography:  Katie Burton & the dancers
Music:  Sally Nicholas   Josh Tilsley
Dancers:  Jesse Wikiriwhi, Sarah Knox, Claire Lissaman, Anita Hunziker, Jeremy Poi, Francis Christeller

Little Sister
Choreography:  Jesse Wikiriwhi
Music Composer:  Joshua Rutter featuring The Willow Singers
Costume Design:  Sopheak Seng
Dancers:  Anita Hunziker   Sarah Knox   Claire Lissaman

Crash test dummies
Choreography:  Malia Johnston & the dancers
Music:  Eden Mulholland
Dancers:  Jesse Wikiriwhi,  Jeremy Poi,  Francis Christeller

Quick Unpick 
Choreography:  Sarah Foster
Music:  Andrew Foster
Dancers:  Sarah Knox, Jeremy Poi, Anita Hunziker, Claire Lissaman, Francis Christeller, Jesse Wikiriwhi

"I Don't Mind"
Choreographer:  Michael Parmenter with Jesse & Francis
Music:  Dudley Benson 
(Songs from The Awakening - 'On the Shoulders of the  Earth', 'Rapaki' and 'I Don't Mind')
Dancers:  Jesse Wikiriwh, Francis Christeller

The Time of Our Life
Choreographer:  Deirdre Tarrant and the dancers
Music:  Fly My Pretties (All the Goodness)
Dancers:  Anita Hunziker, Jesse Wikiriwhi, Francis Christeller, Sarah Knox, Jeremy Poi, Claire Lissaman


Reflective flights and figurative falls

Review by Celine Sumic 30th May 2009

Footnote Dance presents their 2009 showcase of contemporary New Zealand dance:  a considered cross-section of home-grown work at varying stages of development.

1. Time of Our Life
– choreography:  Deidre Tarrant
and Footnote dancers
– Music:  All the Goodness
by Fly My Pretties

An exuberant feel underscores Tarrant’s opening work in a rapidly stepped entry of strong, clear lines.  Individual dancers’ expressive gesture and diverse geometries merge, gathered together in moments of synchronised unison.  Distinct roles swell into the collective roll as each dancer’s colour is both celebrated and integrated into the company prism. 

All the Goodness presents a consciously joyful face; simple in delivery but disarming in its reflection on dance as an ineffable expression of life.  An off-centre tableau vivant concludes the work as the company casts its energised gaze towards an expectant horizon.

2. Carry the Boy
– choreography:  Katie Burton
and Footnote dancers
– Music:  Sally Nicholas
and Josh Tilsley

A clearly articulated study of gendered social order, the scene is set by a shadow image of washing on the line.  Announcing man’s entry upside down and supported by a trio of women, a suggestive gong sounds, its acoustic mixed with a spadeful of gravel. 

As two men sit watching on either side of the stage, their backs to the audience, the moving figure of four (the three women and the carried man) begin a visibly strained play of balance and transfer of weight.

The considered use of sound continues as a percussive rattle announces the separation of gender as the women transition to masculine, cartoon-like dolls with heavy fists and a rigid walk.

A collision of bass and tinkle suggests either a broad spectrum of male identity or a great divide as the shift in music effects an exchange of focus to the men.  With knotted hearts and clipped wings, the men make unified balletic leaps lending skippy toes a Scottish flavour. 

In the end the ensemble all line up to fall in and out of a cascading wave.  The work finally resolves in a reconstruction of the opening image but with less symmetry and with man supporting man in the reconstructed frame.

3. Crash Test Dummies
– choreography:  Malia Johnston
and Footnote dancers
– Music:  Eden Mulholland

Shifting male energies of mal-intent make several sliding and short-stopped entries as exploded chests jam to the sound of battle.  Man is alone.  He is broken glass in a monochromatic myopia of angered black pants and white singlets. 

Eventually a gentle collision of three tumbles into gunfire.

The use of the landscape of the body echoes Johnston’s earlier work Terrain as bare back and rippling shoulder muscles dance in isolation, exhibiting the dancer’s skin.

Rugby and floral snatches of movement to the lyrics "love you, love you long time" are followed a short time later by "I’m gonna find you /I’m gonna kill you," consciously integrated with the lingering sound that pushes like an insistent head butt of movement against the reverb.

There’s a beautiful big break and some spinning reaches in which I wish I lived.  In the end though the trio collects to the corner with heads down and arms over in a cowering pose like birds in the rain. 

4. Little Sister
– choreography:  Jesse Wikiriwhi
– Music:  Joshua Rutter
featuring The Willow Singers 

A child-like collage of crawl, leap and upside down legs weave together an awkward conversation.   Jesse Wikiriwhi’s choreographic debut comes into its own however in the second half of this work as bunchy short overalls transform to dresses printed with leaves, introducing a more defined dynamic.

Prior to this section, the generative force of the movement is unclear.  Faceless walking and the peripheral use of stage, while establishing a sense of loss and oppression, reduce the dynamic needed to carry the work.

The final phrases of Little Sister feature an emotionally powerful combination of music and movement imagery as two dancers, restrained by black bands of fabric extending to off stage, exhibit a slow motion run. 

Perhaps the contained suspension and powerful imagery of these final moments is where the work really begins as I re-imagine Little Sister with this as its new point of departure.

5. "I Don’t Mind"
– choreography:  Michael Parmenter
with Jesse Wikiriwhi and Francis Christeller
– Music:  Dudley Benson
songs from The Awakening 

With a poetic depth and lyrical colour that I have come to recognise as Michael Parmenter’s dance signature, I Don’t Mind is a circular waltz of dreamy dance sketches that explore the way in which we move one another.

Despite technical glitches with the sound, dancers Jesse Wikiriwhi and Francis Christeller maintain the travelling duet of which I Don’t Mind is composed, easily absorbing unplanned interruptions within what appears to be a structured improvisation.

As the work unfolds I find myself drawn into a danced Deposition; Christ’s descent from the cross after death.  Spinning accents of joy upon edges of surprise, the recurrent motif of a collapsed Christ echoes through this work in a gentle, reflective tide.  

As the dancers fall and collect each other I interpret the subtext of this dance as one of a forgiving exchange.  A call to consider reaching beyond the spear that pierces our side or tears at "the heart in these ribs," to ask what it is we can offer each other, as opposed to what it is we can take away.

6. Nest
– choreography:  Raewyn Hill
– Music:  David Long

I saw this work last year and seeing it again it is with interest that I note Nest was inspired by the choreographer’s experience of "men in Hong Kong who take their birds to a park to socialise them."

With both costuming and movement somehow otherworldly, i.e. removed from the earthly quality that characterises the balance of works in the current showcase (poetically described in an earlier review by Lyne Pringle as ‘a fecund mulch,’) Hill’s work appears to sit rather precariously at the edge of a different nest.

Like a delicate, oriental egg carefully suspended over said mulch, Nest announces itself in classy suits (minus the shirts…) and a pretty blue frock.  The work that ensues paints a picture of what I would describe as an artistically athletic ménage-a-trois.  "Gender neutral" I read in the program notes; thus it is with renewed focus that I attempt to re-interpret the lovely bird, busy making pliés in the air off men’s chests (with an admittedly bird-like disdain), as anything other than a woman engaged in a romantic game.

However, with music box weight and a back arch of romantic steam-train sound, a boom storm feather flurry and a tom tom drumming underground, the bird doll is down and going round and round in clawing circles like an abandoned broken musical duck and its difficult not to assign a strongly human dimension to the narrative as it comes to a close before me.

7. Quick Unpick
– choreography:  Sarah Foster
– Music:  Andrew Foster

Based on the movement iconography of a picking knitting stitching conglomerate, Quick Unpick features notably short black dresses on the women embroidered with a skull.  A witchy central figure soon emerges to thread her way through a dark constellation of deftly constructed duets enacted under a starless sky.

An elastic weaving creates a grim maypole of sorts; a tangle of notions (possibly all equally incorrect).  While I’m loving this dance because its making me laugh I am not convinced by the witchy conjuring hands of the central protagonist:  they remind me too much of a disco form of Kate Bush and her ‘Wuthering Heights’ (woooooooOOOoo). 

Actually I love Kate Bush.

The prism of elastic bands appears to be colour blind as I see only red and green and a shaking head, making me wonder about the things unsaid and the stitches unseen.  A moment of high-pitched brilliance occurs in the thrown figure of Anita Hunziker as she stabs her naked legs with great skill into the height of the material air. 

This is a beautifully executed work, the tone of which reminds me of Mary Jane O’Reilly’s Witch Bitch, performed earlier this year at Te Karanga Gallery.  The eventual release of elastic bands brings a moment of upended freedom although the dancers appear to nonetheless remain isolated, still trapped perhaps within the imagined machinations of the knitting and the picking.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 



Celine Sumic June 17th, 2009


Dane, you seem to have misunderstood my last comment - perhaps understandably?

So to clarify, my reference to the suggestion within the discussion above that Jack's comments were "divisive" was drawn from Kristian's comment to Jack ("In raising a very contentious issue your comment, apart from being unthinkingly divisive has only a semblance of legitimacy")

Having cleared that up, Dane you respond that the insults you choose to make in your comments (calling Jack ignorant for example) are not directed at Jack, but rather at me.

To quote from your comment "So why is a Pakeha only cast seen as not diverse? As non-inclusive? It's plain ignorance, really, and an offensive assumption" - and further "It also seems strange to me that you write, Jack, as if the dance/theatre you speak of never happens, and Celine's reply is equally perplexing. Having a multi-cultural cast would be a step forward? A new innovation? Did you just wake out of a coma?!?"

Firstly, whether you are speaking to Jack or I, your comment is redundant as neither Jack nor I discussed the Footnote cast at any point in this dialogue.  Our discussion has instead been centred around the subject of choreography in the context of NZ /Aotearoa contemporary dance.  Secondly, whether it is Jack or I you are calling "ignorant" /suggesting to have just "woken from a coma" the effect is the same - ie either way it reflects badly upon yourself.

Terri Crawford June 16th, 2009

Kia ora mai tâtou,


Made in New Zealand IS the pakeha model. 


For dance in education purposes I take my hat off to Footnote in the maintenance of their program that fosters the emergent dancer.  Made in NZ is a Pakeha model of dance.  The Pakeha model differentiates as much as the Mâori model.


From an indigenous perspective we see our worlds differently, and we see Aotearoa differently. 


The best summary I can offer to outline a different worldview is the gorgeously designed bodies creating the map of NZ on the program cover, an absolutely stunning visual.  The female North Island is especially clever, beautifully shot and well executed by the dancer. 


Except from a Mâori point of view she is upside down.  As the head of Mâui’s fish points in the opposite direction (Te Upoko o te Ika). If she was, the other way around, she would be kissing the canoe, biting the bait, not presenting excreta in this young man’s face. 


There is no right or wrong, tika or teka, its about perception and world view. 


Made in NZ represents a Pakeha view of New Zealand and in the eyes of Footnote it’s as valid as anyone’s.  Does it represent New Zealand Colonial settler worldview dreams and impact? Absolutely 10/10. Although Malia and Eden’s work is a composite of negotiation and leans more towards the ethos of “Made in Aotearoa” perhaps.


Now, if the work were called “Made in Aotearoa”, then this would be a completely different discourse.


Good luck footnote!



Sarah Knox June 5th, 2009

Hi Everyone, 

It has been with great interest that the dancers have been following the weeks posts on this topic. Instead of adding to the fire I will simply say this...

If you would like to see some really fantastic choreography to some really great music, danced by some amazing dancers in a show directed by an amazing woman (Deirdre Tarrant) then please come and see our two remaining performances of Made in New Zealand. (Which simply means it was created within New Zealand by New Zealanders with inspiration from New Zealand experiences, to New Zealand music. Pretty cool.)

Saturday 6 June - 8pm - Hawkes Bay Opera House www.ticketdirect.co.nz

Fri 12 June - 8pm - Southwell School Performing Arts Centre www.ticketek.co.nz

Please don't come with preconcieved ideas about what you would like to see but come with an open mind and take what you are given. You might even enjoy it. Perhaps if we put all this discussion into creating really great art and supporting those doing it then I think we'd be doing pretty well in this country.

Dane Giraud June 4th, 2009

Celine. When did I even imply these thoughts you accuse me of?! Who, what, where do I say that the asserting of Maori indentity is not welcomed? I say the opposite if you were to actually read the post. 
What I said, in simplest speak, is that a Pakeha cast can and is diverse in and of itself... and that the room to explore a single culture in a single performance could/would should lead to a more exhaustive exploration, and, for an audience, a more total culteral experience.
Most telling is the end of your post where you say that I called Jack ignorant for the suggestions he made on the footnote performance! I use the term ignorant once and (now here's the irony) it was actually directed at you! 
I argued for... and will always defend, any single cultures right to assert their own voice even claiming at one point to looking forward to a day when Maori and Pakeha voices are compelled to strengthen... Yet, you manage to twist that into my finding the terms Maori and Pakeha divisive?!
Wow! You're good...
I seems that in order to assert your own arguments you are prepared to steer mine anywhere you please. A sure sign you are asleep at the wheel.

John Smythe June 4th, 2009

Settle down Neil. Hitler's warped rationalisations have nothing to do with this discussion.

neil furby June 4th, 2009

Hitler referred to the Third Reich as a revolution of moral principles of man rather than "merely a political and social one.

Celine I can hear the stamp of jack boots in your writing

Celine Sumic June 4th, 2009

Dane -

People's use of language reflects the current (social-political) 'state of the nation,' as, arguably, should a Showcase titled "Made in New Zealand," by a company that defines itself as "New Zealand's National Contemporary Dance Company."

While the terms Maori and Pakeha may appear to be divisive, the use of these terms serves a purpose in the ongoing social-political dialogue of our nation.  The employment of these terms foregrounds the current situation where, in a conscious reversal of earlier policies of assimilation (later referred to as 'integration'), the rebirth /reestablishment of autonomous Maori idenity is in process.  (Please correct me if I'm wrong).

This process may make you (and I) uncomfortable, but it is a necessary process of redress.  Although you may feel personally eclipsed by the terms 'Pakeha and Maori,' the focus of the use of these terms is positive; ie the point is the reclaiming of Maori identity and authority and with this, a restoration of personal and collective dignity.

Language, education and the arts play a significant role in this process.  Suggesting that these issues are considered in Footnote's Showcase is not 'ignorance' but timely and intelligent.  To fail to see this, and further to insult Jack with the suggestion that his approach to these issues is ignorant strikes me as highly ironic.


Dane Giraud June 4th, 2009

Celine. I can't see the connection between the peoples lumping together of the many cultures that make up Pakeha and the idea of redress. Could you elaborate? 

Celine Sumic June 4th, 2009


yes, to confirm - it was an effort albeit boring, to lighten the tone here...

With regards your comment on pakeha being lumped into one group and this being offensive to you, I have a mixed ancestry, and I admit, while I wouldn't say it offends me, sometimes I do find it frustrating to be lumped into this category, but I understand where its coming from... this country is in a period of redress...

Dane Giraud June 4th, 2009

Celine, I am assuming that was a joke but you never can tell these days. If it wasn't I congratulate you on suggesting possibly the most boring idea for a dance show in the history of civilisation. Anyone got a better one?
I agree with John. A New Zealander makes New Zealand art and it's all valid. I start to sympathise with you Jack when you call for a more socially conscious theatre/dance but your right way to go about it seems to be to impose subjective perspectives on other peoples companies. Was that the purpose of the treaty? My reading is that it supports creating the distance cultures need to express themselves just as strongly as it promotes partnerships.
And what is a Pakeha? Someone of French ancestry? Irish? Yugoslav? Someone Jewish? Dutch? German? All of the above in one! So why is a Pakeha only cast seen as not diverse? As non-inclusive? It's plain ignorance, really, and an offensive assumption, though a further assumption seems to be that Pakeha don't get offended by being lumped in one big group. I do. 
It also seems strange to me that you write, Jack, as if the dance/theatre you speak of never happens, and Celine's reply is equally perplexing. Having a multi-cultural cast would be a step forward? A new innovation? Did you just wake out of a coma?!? I would argue that this is almost a passe idea now. I, for one, want a cultural experience not a political one. We have opportinuties now with the many new peoples arriving in New Zealand to view African theatre, new European forms. And the stronger these individual voices become the more, I hope, Maori and Pakeha voices in the arts feel compelled to strengthen. Yet politics attached to funding etc.is supressing these new voices because they are not expressing a New Zealand voice. We have some maturing to do.

Celine Sumic June 3rd, 2009

Well - that's a great idea for a company work Nik, and would certainly contribute depth - as well as texture?, but what we're looking for here I think, is a thematic thread.  Something to tie the showcase together while allowing the individual choreographers room to fly...  Perhaps that iconic Kiwi hot spot, Rotorua, or to be more specific the mud pools of Rotorua... I can see it now;  "Postcards from the Edge of Reason /The End of the Tourist Season" by Malia and Guy, "Bridge Over Troubled Sheep" by Liana, "Diasporic Dreams of a Steamy Political Princess" by Jack, and perhaps a very open-ended "Furnace of Fallen Ideals" by Kristian? 

nik smythe June 3rd, 2009

I confess to not being a great fan of Opera or Ballet, but I'd be first in line to purchase tickets to the RNZB's Foreskin's Lament...

John Smythe June 3rd, 2009

‘Made in New Zealand’ does not have to mean ‘Made About New Zealand’ and I certainly don’t think it is Footnote’s aim to deliver an annual ‘State of the Nation’ or ‘current affairs’ report in dance.

The argument goes that any art work made by NZers inevitably comes with a Kiwi perspective. I certainly buy that when it comes to original work (which is what Footnote does). Many classics are resurrected because of their current relevance and quite often in theatre a consciously Kiwi context is brought to the work (notably Shakespeare and Ibsen over recent decades). I’m not sure the same has happened with classical ballet and opera … (anyone?)

Jack Gray June 2nd, 2009

Kia ora one and all...

Just to make it clear...I was actually commenting more on the issue of 'perceptions' (that arise from reviews, marketing, media etc etc) than literally about the show or company itself (it was as I said for 'arguments sake').

My opening statement was effectively:


......just in case you may have thought that slipped my own attention (it hadn't)..

Therefore I said hmm...whats the title?


- what does this title/show mean??? (Pondering)

Then...what is in this show (reading reading...)?

Prompting me to..

Think about NZ and current affairs....from MY perspective (a valid one seeing as its MYSELF)..

Then wondering broadly- does Dance have a place in society (I would sincerely hope so for all of you)....?

If you look closely you'll see I actually  do not degrade anyone -as quite rightly you're all entitled to do as you wish (and you will so anyway..) so...kei a koe (as you will).

Besides that I think it just enlivened Footnotes review status anyway.

Celine Sumic June 2nd, 2009


- and the inappropriately heavy-handed comment award goes to...?

Seems we're spoiled for choice!

Getting back to the topic of Footnote's current Showcase, I'd be interested to know what you thought of the work (Kristian, Neil and anyone else who would care to comment).  Specifically I'd like to know what you most enjoyed about the Showcase, which work(s) /aspect of work moved you or made you think, and whether you agree with Bernadette Rae's comment that "this format makes the experience very much a sampler rather than a truly satisfying one, and keeps Footnote forever skimming along the surface."

This is perhaps another angle on the issue of depth raised earlier?

Kristian Larsen June 1st, 2009

Stretching the bounds of credibility aren’t you a bit Jack? In raising a very contentious issue your comment, apart from being unthinkingly divisive has only a semblance of legitimacy given that:

  • By your own admission you didn’t even attend ‘Made in New Zealand
  • You laid the whole Hikoi / Supercity issue on Footnote. Inappropriate – irrelevant - heavy handed - WTF?
  • You didn’t happen to show up at ‘Playing Savage’ either which addressed a lot of these racial / colonial / Key government issues you raised directly.
  • Footnote actually has worked with Maori choreographers throughout its history.
  • Currently working in the company there is a Maori, a Nuien. and of course Pakeha, one of whom has worked in a local multicultural dance company, and none of those dancers are naïve or uninformed these issues.
  • Right now at the very visible forefront of the NZ contemporary dance scene we have Mau, Black Grace the Tama Ma boys, and of course Atamira.
  • Foregrounding Maori and Pacific arts is not only high on the arts funding agenda, it’s an explicitly stated criteria for assessment within the CNZ funding context.
  • Atamira haven’t from memory ever worked with Pakeha choreographers, and PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong - have no stated intention to. 

Footnote is what it is and does what it does  Ultimately it contributes and answers to itself, its audience, its board, its staff and its funders. It doesn't and never has had to answer to anyone who thinks they know how it should be run. And neither should you.

Jeremy Poi June 1st, 2009

hi there, i'm one of the dancers from the made in nz show. 

just wanted to share my thoughts on some of the things that have been said....

i think if your gonna get deeper and closer on examination jack... hahaha which i find very funny considering you didn't even come to the show to get the 'authentic' made in new zealand experience, i just wanna say is it really that bad if majority of  the choreographers were pakeha?? would you be just as up set if they were all polynesian or asian or even maori??

do we have to have to cater for all cultures and traditions, cause if we did, we would have shows that would go on for days. why can't we just let people who are right for the job do it! i know as a performer i wanna work for the best at what they do, and because they deserve it, not because we have to be sharing and caring.... i thinks thats a load of pc bull!!

and yes, footnote has been around for 25 years which i think is amazing in this country and i take my hat off to deirdre tarrant, and for your information, in the company, the dancers, we have pakeha, maori, niuean/pukapukan and australian, sounds like a pretty diverse range to reflect nz i think, but if not then please let me know how we can be more true to representing what it is to be 'made in nz'. oh and the music is composed by nz musicians. we even had or shows on during nz music month, this is something great i feel, we support our fellow artists.

alot of the things you have pointed out have already been put into practice in the past and what is currently happening is a development of those events.

these are my own personal thoughts and feelings,

i do enjoy what people have to say, it makes you think, food for thought. chur.

Celine Sumic May 31st, 2009

Well of course the artistic experience is intimately tied to everyday human existence it's reflection of which is inarguably part of its reason for being. 

Inclusive, intelligent and creatively astute, Jack has tabled an interesting suggestion.  I support the sense that the Footnote Showcase could be richer, which is not to invalidate the company's current value.  While the existing program is interesting, it could be better - and as an enterprising company seeking to flourish in its role of representing contemporary New Zealand dance, Jack's ideas point to one way to achieve this.

Following this line of thought, choreographers I'd be interested to see commissioned by Footnote for a future "Made in New Zealand" showcase would include;  Jack Gray, Maaka Pepene, Liana Yew, Sefa Enari, Karen Barbour, Suzanne Cowan, Kristian Larsen and Wilhemeena Gordon to name a few.  This is by no means a comprehensive list but rather an indication of the wider range of choreographic talent in our midst that could add value to the company.

neil furby May 31st, 2009


The arts should have no truck with politics and cultural equal opportunities . The wonderful thing about the art experience is that the human endevour to express  the intangible morass of creative juice should  not be a part of the dross of everyday human existence .

It does of course reflect everyday experience and incident but the resulting product has another world quality that lets  the viewer or listener  have respite from all the cares and responsibilities of the real.

Go and watch a performance Jack It will do you good

Celine Sumic May 30th, 2009

Valid comment from Jack, whose suggestions if employed could enliven and give greater depth to the company's repertoire and bring considerable benefit to Footnotes future...

Jack Gray May 30th, 2009

I didn't see the show unfortunately so am reading the review to find out what I missed. 

The title of the show is "Made in New Zealand"......

In reference to this then- my first thought is how do these works currently reflect our authentic New Zealand identity (culturally, politically and socially)?

So there are 7 choreographers who are 'made in NZ'. It bears pointing out-for arguments sake-that they are mostly Pakeha (with the exception of Jesse Wikiriwhi).

The themes they explore that reflect their 'New Zealand-ness' variously deal with; gender relations, bodily forces, childhood memories, embroidery and bird cages...in Hong Kong.

But on a closer and deeper examination-is this where we really at as a nation?

Recent events in Tamaaki Makaurau included the Hikoi to "protest" the lack of Maori representation in the new Auckland Supercity. The ignorance of the Key led government is perhaps more of an indication/inditement on our current political climate. NZ race relations can be fraught with political correctness. Prospective employees are mandatorily asked "What do you know about the Treaty of Waitangi and how do you think you could acknowledge it?"  

Mere lip service-unless certain priorites such as the inclusion of our indigenous voices, traditions, concepts and protocols (traditional and contemporary) are part and parcel of our everyday consciousness. And not an oversight.

Footnote is a 25 year old national institution that could possibly do well to build a capacity to include relationships with other emerging and established contemporary indigenous artists (Maori, Pacific, Asian, etc) that truly represents a broader palette of what being Made in NZ could/should be all about.  

Make a comment

Too wholesome, joyful and enthusiastic to excite

Review by Bernadette Rae 30th May 2009

Footnote Dance is very wholesome, curiously adolescent after 25 years of existence, and not very sexy.  

Enthusiastic, joyful, adventurous and inarguably an important nurturer of talent, yes. But in spite of the calibre of some of the choreographers – Michael Parmenter, Raewyn Hill and Malia Johnston rate among the country’s finest and all contribute works in this season – their programmes never quite deliver an adult frisson of excitement, tingle the spine or bring a rush of blood to the head.

Perhaps it’s a Wellington thing? [More]
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Make a comment

A deep and fecund mulch

Review by Lyne Pringle 23rd May 2009

Footnote Dance Company’s Made in New Zealand programme is an important event on the annual dance calendar; there is always a warm buzz in the Wellington Opera House as the occasion unfolds. This is a testament to the stoic web of relationships that the company and Deirdre Tarrant have built with their ‘home’ crowd over the years.

Like a treasured midden that accumulates layers and textures over time, this choreographic showcase is enriched by the work of seasoned choreographer Michael Parmenter and next generation choreographer Raewyn Hill – the ongoing relationship that Deirdre is nurturing with a particular stable of artists is reaping benefits. The evening is a deep and fecund mulch; an archaeological site of tenacity. This deserves celebration.

Deirdre Tarrant should give herself the time and the space to choreograph a major work for the company, now there’s an idea – we only ever get glimpses of her craft in works such as The Time of Our Lives to music by Fly My Pretties with its satisfying texturing of phrases. Her dances always bring a sense of levity and ensemble to the evening and I value them for this.

Michael Parmenter‘s work has me teasingly sitting forward – I am unsure where to place it in my expectation and experience of it – somehow delightfully perplexing. You’ve got to take your hat off to this guy for sticking to his guns in terms of presenting the exact nuance of performance research that is fascinating him at present.

Set against the context of his lifetime devotion to somatic expression, "I Don’t Mind" sits as a corny, sweet, tender, kind of ‘feeling its way’ duet between Jesse Wikiriwhi and Francis Christeller – dancing with brilliance and beauty.

For years Michael has investigated the possibilities of momentum and lifting, the endless possibilities of two bodies in close weaving proximity; using – on a mechanical level – grips levers and angles, to make – on an artful level – sweeping arcs as one body helps another to defy gravity.  In his latest investigations all is pared away; there is a new sense of guiding, of a willingness to share control and see where the movement goes – not so spectacular, more introverted, more tender.

His quest for the poetic language of two bodies in absolute synchronicity reaches deeper to the expression of two souls communing in sweet yearning for I suspect complete transcendence of the individual. As such this choreographer’s bold quest deserves respect. I felt as if I was seeing something contemporary.

Dudley Benson’s music is so distinct and idiosyncratic ‘time is a rascally burglar’ that at times I felt overloaded with the complexity of the visuals and the demands of the lyrics – there is relief when they move in silence.  Two people I spoke to after said they enjoyed it immensely; that this choreographer can still surprise and delight speaks volumes.

Beginning his choreographic journey is Jesse Wikiriwhi with his work Little Sister, about his mother’s experiences of abuse in a catholic boarding school. He manages to distil imagery and movement vocabulary to successfully capture the impact these experiences must have had on her life.

An ingenious use of costume (designer not credited in the programme) provides a real surprise as the three sisters, lovingly danced by Anita Hunziker, Sarah Knox, and Claire Lissaman, support and cajole each other through an emotional minefield. The forlorn and melancholic atmosphere of the work is supported by images of legs dangling into space, giving a sense of being ungrounded as well as a repeating motif of falling backwards into each other’s arms as if sucked into the past.

Meaty subject matter was moulded into a satisfying structure and tone: a promising debut.

What I enjoy about Malia Johnston‘s work is that she manages within the first few moments to conjure a distinct world.  This is in part due to the relationship with long time collaborator Eden Mulloholland who has created a gorgeous richly textured score (he gets better and better), and the placement and quality of the movement on stage, so that we are drawn immediately into the work.

Crash Test Dummies uses exactly this concept as well as the issue of repeated violent images prevalent in our society – yes another deeply serious concept in the programme but this is leavened by the clever sound-scape which introduces a tickle of humour and a unique vocabulary of flung head, body shifts and flick leaps.

The somatic personalities of Poi, Wikiriwhi and Christeller are revealed as they move through repeating patterns of support and fling. The men shine in this programme; they are working well together. 

Carry the Boy by Katie Burton, for the whole company, hasn’t yet made the transition from workshop idea to fully-fledged dance piece. Her desire to mix up the gender roles that are so prevalent in dance is a nice and much-needed area of investigation; there are some strong movement ideas that could have do with more cooking to bring out the invention

The three men of the company dancing on toes with arms tucked like flightless chicken/swans bring an element of humour but the unison dance phrases need more texture and the overall structure of the work doesn’t arrive.

Sarah Foster is moving from strength to strength. Her second work for the company, Quick Unpick, to music by Andrew Foster, pays tribute to the North Otago Embroiderer’s Guild both in terms of the intricacies of the craft and the social milieu. It is clever and unpretentious: a rich, simple yet complex concept for a dance piece. 

The vocabulary swings between tight quirky phrases for the upper body and long cool needle gestures with the legs with some original partnering, where Anita Hunziker – a focussed, precise whirlwind of energy throughout the evening – is tossed and threaded by the other dancers.

Coloured elastics emerge and surround Sarah Knox in a solo of breathtaking Balanchine-ish beauty. Knox is stunningly elegant amidst the tense architectural shapes of the elastic as the other dancers create lines of energy around her.

Foster’s vocabulary becomes more luscious as the work progresses. To the clicking of knitting needles we are lulled into a meditative space as movement patterns are repeated over and over to conjure the peace, companionship and claustrophobia that would pervade a country guild.

Nest by Raewyn Hill is beautifully danced by Hunziker, Wikiriwhi and Poi and [like Finders Keepers, which premiered last month in Wanaka at the Southern Lakes Festival of Colour] is inspired by men in Hong Kong who take their songbirds to socialise in a local park. [Nest premiered in the Footnote Forte 2008 season and is discussed in more detail in that review.]
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Make a comment

Voyages of exploration

Review by Jennifer Shennan 23rd May 2009

This programme of 7 short works showed the company in good form as they tour to several centres, helping to mark New Zealand Music Month.

It seems superfluous to have all the programme details spoken in voice-over at the beginning. Those with a printed programme don’t need it, folk without one won’t remember anyway. It sets a "dance in education" tone which is perhaps why the first two works seemed like demonstrations.

The third work, Testing Crash Dummies, made immediate impact however. Its convincing dynamics of movement were choreographed by Malia Johnston, on and against Eden Mulholland’s lively score. Three men and issues of masculinity explored.

Jesse Wikiriwhi made an impressive first work for the company. Little Sister is based on his mother’s early life, referencing all too painfully the hardships endured by children whose families cannot give them the upbringing that is their birthright. The poignant ending, to a snatch of E Hine, allowed a glimpse of release for at least one of the children. Three girls and issues of sad childhood explored.

"I Don’t Mind", by Michael Parmenter, is a duo for two men. Its beguiling quality seemed mysteriously like weightless slow-motion jiving. The performers, Wikiriwhi and Francis Christeller, shared leading and following, leaning and lifting, giving and taking, from an improvisation technique to provide the movement vocabulary.  A couple and their relationship explored.

Raewyn Hill’s Nest is a beautiful meld of encaged dark with aspiring hope of release. It gave Anita Hunziker a heightened role of the evening and she did not waste the opportunity. The final sequence of flying towards light, seemingly on the ground, through water and airborne all at once, proves memorable. Chiaroscuro explored.

Sarah Foster made an intriguing work with a strong expressionist design that was a good foil to he rest of the programme.  Titled Quick Unpick, its nervous electricity of arm gestures evoked an insect kingdom, yet the abstract nature of the movement also allowed us to read it as pattern or allegory if we chose.

Sarah Knox had the central role in this very interesting choreographic concept, with echoes of Oskar Schlemmer and Bauhaus art.  Perhaps I glimpsed in Knox’s dancing some inspiration from the company’s recent workshop with the remarkable Susanne Linke, visitor from Germany?  20th century dance history explored. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Make a comment

Performed with passion and commitment

Review by Sofia Kalogeropoulou 04th Apr 2009

Footnote Dance Company makes a comeback to the Dunedin Fringe Festival with a whole new repertoire. 2009 Made in New Zealand includes works created by New Zealand choreographers in collaboration with New Zealand composers.

Carry The Boy, choreographed by Katie Burton and the company dancers, addresses gender equity. The girls flex their biceps, tap their chests in a haka fashion, while the boys execute funked-up ballet routines to the underlying sweet tunes of the Nutcracker. Overall, the choreography is a bit tentative and the theme slightly contrived.

A scene at a Hong Kong market where birds are captured and caged ready to be sold sparked the idea for the amazing work Nest, by Raewyn Hill. The piece soon picks up pace and achieves an intense climax with breathtaking lifts and falls. The choreography is seamless and the dancing by the trio of Jeremy Poi, Sarah Knox, and Jesse Wikiriwhi is effortless and inspiring. 

Malia Johnston’s Crash test dummies teases our imagination, tackling the hot issue of violence, especially amongst youngsters. Without actual physical confrontation, only quirky movements and body isolations, the three boys engage in the most convincing fight, complemented by music composed by Eden Mulholland. The piece ends on a different note as the dancers follow each other across the stage in slow motion with fluid, eloquent moves.

Little Sister by Jesse Wikiriwhi is devoted to his grandmother’s growing up in an orphanage. In this work, Wikiriwhi has laid the key foundations for his first choreography for the company, which he can now develop by expanding the movement vocabulary. Throughout the piece he captures the essence of growing up in an orphanage and conveys the various emotional states, particularly in the powerful ending.

The last piece, Quick Unpick by Sarah Foster, is about tapestry classes and everything that goes with them. It is an intriguing work with innovative movement vocabulary. The ordinary actions of threading a needle or cross-stitching are abstracted and manipulated rhythmically often to a frenzy which is juxtaposed to elegant and beautiful moves. It is a strong and coherent piece that showcases the company.

Overall, an enjoyable night of homegrown works performed with passion and commitment by the whole company. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.    




Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council