30FORWARD- Footnote New Zealand Dance
28/07/2015 - 29/07/2015
The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch
31/07/2015 - 01/08/2015
Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland
15/10/2015 - 17/10/2015
Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga
30/10/2015 - 30/10/2015
Carterton Events Centre, Wairarapa
24/10/2015 - 24/10/2015
Christchurch Arts Festival 2015
Thirty years is a long time to be at the forefront of contemporary dance, and it’s enough time to learn that survival isn’t possible without adaptation.
Part reflection and part premonition, 30Forward acknowledges the massive contribution of New Zealand choreographers throughout Footnote’s evolution with a selection of highlights curated by founding director Deirdre Tarrant. A new commission by renowned choreographer Malia Johnston draws on the company’s history to suggest where the next steps may take us. Johnston’s piece propels us forward through a mesmerising investigation of choreographic, visual and musical archives.
We know history can be traced and remembered. 30Forward flips, samples, stretches, disrupts and regenerates the solid foundation of a dance company fuelled by three decades of invention.
Friday 28 and Saturday 29 August
Christchurch Arts Festival
Monday 31 August and Tuesday 1 September
Thursday 15 and Saturday 17 October
War Memorial Theatre
Wednesday 21 October
Kokomai Creative Festival
Saturday 24 October
Friday 30 October
Dancers: Jeremy Beck, Kosta Bogoievski, Brydie Colquohoun, Emma Dellabarca, Adam Naughton, Lana Phillips
Contemporary dance ,
Searching, experimenting and yearning choreography
Review by Gin Mabey 02nd Nov 2015
The first half of Footnote Dance Company’s 30 Forward – Footnote Fragmented – is a compilation of pieces from past years. The pieces are varied and striking and sometimes plain odd. I am drawn in by the opening piece. The dancers are all in black and the choreography mimics oceanic movement (to me it does anyway).
But I am confused by some of the following pieces. One particular piece involved the dancers speaking in repetition, but they don’t seem to be the most confident actors, it is a bit unsettling to watch them, and I inwardly urge them to dance again. One dancer comes forth and demands the audience to “stand up” and then “get out, go on get out!” – It seems a bit lost on this audience and I feel that perhaps it needed a bit more development to make the idea more accessible, though I am not sure what the idea is. The jarred nature of these fragmented pieces makes it a little hard to invest in the show fully, as the idea behind each piece fails to reach me. I can’t seem to let the pure movement and aesthetic of the pieces suffice, as there is clearly a deeper idea behind it that is not quite coming through. Even so, the dancers are engaging to watch, purely through their passion and skill. One piece, featuring the dancers wearing coloured, full-body lycra body suits and moving like a gaggle of aliens is so strange, but it’s great, I’d watch a whole show of that just to see where it went.
The second half – Flip Pivot Boom – is the current piece, and it is absolutely fantastic. Perhaps it is the cohesiveness of the piece that settles me at first, as I can follow their “story”, (am I trying to attribute too much “theatre” to this dance piece? Probably)
There are some amazingly innovative moments. At one point, the dancers drop their pants, and begin to take their tops of but stop mid-way, holding their tops over their faces, above their heads, as faces and bodies are projected onto the clothing backdrops. It looks wonderfully bizarre, all these bodies (beautiful and toned might I say) gyrating and moving with multi-media faces. They use multi-media throughout the piece and it works really well.
I love the way the piece moves between group choreography, to pair work, to solos. The audience gets to know each dancer and their particular “attitude” and movement language quite intimately. Each dancer is incredible in different ways – it is clear that this is a collaborative piece and each dancer has put themselves into the choreography. The music is a little grating, but maybe it’s a volume or acoustics issue.
It’s clear that these pieces, in both sections, have been choreographed extremely thoughtfully and with a searching, experimenting and yearning approach.
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Memorable and spirited celebration of 30 years of Footnote
Review by Gemma Begg 25th Oct 2015
What a memorable and spirited way to celebrate Footnote’s 30th Birthday! 30Forward is an intriguing performance cleverly created for this momentous occasion with a collection of fascinating moments from the last 10 years in dance.
Footnote New Zealand Dance is comprised of six diverse dancers : Jeremy Beck, Kosta Bogoievski, Brydie Colquhoun, Emma Dellabarca, Lana Phillips and Adam Naughton. Throughout the night this connected group of dancers so willingly gave their virile bodies and their emotions to the music, moving in a state of cohesion that almost became possessive in moments. Tangling and detangling their bodies and emotions in such a caring and cautious way, these dancers took on the role of storytelling through not only physical means but at times accompanied by layers of vocalisation.
Founding Director Deirdre Tarrant has carefully chosen seven of New Zealand’s most prestigious contemporary choreographers works to explore the world we cherish and share in Footnote Fragmented. Footnote Fragmented re-visits ideas from the past by reflecting back on unique memories and acknowledging and embracing what has come before them.
In Time of Flight, choreographed by Raewyn Hill with music by Nic McGowan, darkness floods the Carterton Events Centre as dancers enter the stage wearing dark floor length gowns, their presence very effectively connecting with the music. Every brilliantly choreographed canon that flows with physical grace, creatively merges strong technical focus and ease of movement together allowing dancers to bend and move between steps with such finesse.
Clever use of a simple wooden box in Miniatures, choreographed by Malia Johnston with music Eden Mulholland, is wildly inventive. The artistic lighting transformssomething ordinary into something rather extraordinary, the trio of dancers fully encompassing the square object. Nearing the end of Miniatures you become so absorbed in the moment you do not notice the lights fade before you, all that is visible now is a dancer cocooned in the dimly lit box as it is dizzyingly spun around and around before disappearing offstage. Naturally your mind starts to wonder and you too find yourself thinking outside the box.
Contemporary dance increases your awareness and expands your consciousness focusing on being present and aware of the now similar to those Footnote moments that slip into the mind. Choreographer Claire O’Neils Mtyland uses vocalisation and movement to convey an array of different emotional states. Throughout the piece you could see the dancers’ minds excitedly racing with thought, at one point the audience is told repeatedly to ‘leave, just get out!’ the moment so raw and real I almost stood up to leave, feeling a pang of guilt for not listening to what the dancer so vulnerable but so forceful was asking of me.
Throughout Footnote Fragmented intermixed messages highlighted moments within the third decade of the company, touching on strong political, social and worldly themes. Throughout the choreography grabs you with startling vividness and by the end of the first half I feel affected more viscerally than intellectually relating to all works in a deeper way than I ever imagined I would.
The celebrations continue with Flip Pivot Boom, a brand new work by choreographer Malia Johnston. Described in the programme as ‘absorbing the past whilst meditating the future’, the exciting arrangement of technical innovation is the future while skilfully incorporating written and visual material from the archives of more than 250 dances, is the past. Throughout this reflective piece, the choreographer playfully connects multiple projectors onto screens big and small, and at one point leaves dancers standing in their underwear while their tops are lifted up over their heads, transforming an ordinary piece of clothing cleverly into an elevated screen where in quick succession facial expressions from a range of different faces become almost trance like. Throughout Flip Pivot Boom, the human body seemed to form and meld so quickly and effortlessly it was mesmerising, there were moments where the dancers delicately cascaded across the stage like waves caressing the sand, then suddenly the mood abruptly changes into manic, jerky movements that mellow out into a delicate lightness that warms the body with a feeling of harmony and contentment. Malia Johnston and her creative partners Rowan Pierce and Bevan Smith have truly spread their artistic roots when drawing from the past, truly inspiring us with their creative expression.
The refreshing assortment of music was unique throughout 30Forward. From simple instrumental pieces, strange sound effects of everyday life, and remixes such as Coolio’s ‘Gangster’s Paradise,’ to the more futuristic electronic music of today, there was a consistency from start to finish. It made me wonder does clever music help guide a clever mind, or is it the other way around?
Simple but effective costumes helped choreographers share their visions, focusing on structure, soft materials and colour rather than extravagance. Neutral hues made you feel pleased, relaxed and somewhat subdued at times, where as red the most powerful of colours started off sweet and innocent then started to draw out anger, passion and power as displayed in The Status of Being, choreographed by Alexa Wilson.
I walked away with more appreciation for the world around me feeling more connected to my various emotions but still had many questions I wanted answers to. I suppose that is the beauty of contemporary dance- it’s your experience, and the interpretation of it is all yours. Now that’s something worth celebrating.
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Take a deep bow, Footnote
Review by Bernadette Rae 18th Oct 2015
Ten years ago Footnote, the little company that could – and had already served us up great indigenous contemporary dance for 20 years – instigated its Forte Season. Every year an outstanding New Zealand dance artist, living and working abroad, was brought home to make a new work for the company.
The results were memorable, and it is from these cutting-edge performances that the indomitable Deirdre Tarrant, company founder, has made a personal selection entitled Footnote Fragmented to fill the first half of this programme, celebrating Footnote’s 30-year anniversary….
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Utterly enjoyable, bright and beautiful
Review by Roxanne de Bruyn 16th Oct 2015
In celebration of Footnote’s thirtieth anniversary, 30 Forward offers a retrospective look at the company’s last decade while showing a hint of the possibilities for its future. The first half, Footnote Fragmented, is a collection of snippets from the company’s performances over the past 10 years.
Compiled by the founding director, Deirdre Tarrant, the excerpts are performed chronologically, showing the evolution of both contemporary dance and the company. Beautiful, fragmented and slightly strange, the pieces feature work by a number of choreographers including Raewyn Hill, Malia Johnston and Alexa Wilson.
The short dances offer snapshots of other performances and times, recalling dancers now gone. Watching it is almost like catching a glimpse of someone else’s memory or dream – the experience somewhat disparate and formless but still beautiful. As interesting is the resulting overview of some of the political, social and artistic commentary Footnote has made over the years. The company’s performances tend to have depth and much of their work is relevant now.
The pieces are mismatched and barely finished, lacking connection or a common theme, the transitions between them jarring and abrupt. Yet underlying it all is the sense of witnessing something personal and seeing the company through other eyes, a feeling emphasised by the dreamy, sometimes inexplicable nature of the works themselves.
After the break, Malia’s Johnston’s new work Flip Pivot Boom changes the place completely, moving from the traditional into the vibrant, noisy space of strobe lights, remixed music and mixed media. Innovative and edgy yet not futuristic, it offers another look and means of remembering Footnote’s past through archival footage and moves, while embedding it firmly in the modern world.
The work is collaborative, with the six current dancers credited as choreographers, and highly energetic. Rowan Pierce and Bevan Smith bring together the AV projections and music in a way that makes the movement work, the moving images working far more seamlessly with the live dancers than is often the case.
Abstract, with hints of different times and styles in its movement, projections and music, Flip Pivot Boom is clever and ambitious, fusing its diverse elements into something complete that somehow works and makes sense out of itself.
Small hand-held screens with images of previous performances use the bodies of the dancers themselves in an almost androgynous way. The movements are fast and challenging and often initially jarring by themselves, eventually finding their form and context within the music and imagery.
The result is bright, consuming and beautiful, a homage to the past and testament to the skill and passion of Footnote’s current dancers – the dancers adjust admirably to the constant shifts in style and place.
Utterly enjoyable, 30 Forward is utterly engrossing. It manages to celebrate the past, rather than simply getting lost in it, while promising bright things for the future. Footnote is New Zealand’s longest-serving contemporary dance company and has a special place in the dance community. Seeing this snapshot of the scope and variety of the company makes it very clear why.
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Eclectic diversity and virtuoso inventiveness
Review by Chris Jannides 08th Sep 2015
Footnote’s tribute to its 30-year history begins as we enter the theatre with projections of video footage from its past. Surrounded in my seat by ex-company members, the air is filled with ‘there I am, hanging from the monkey bars’, ‘the one in the green lycra is me’, ‘Oh, there I am again’, etc., etc. There’s a contagious buzz coming from these recognitions and spontaneous exclamations. But how might the current dancers waiting in the wings be feeling knowing that elder generations of their forbears are sitting in the audience? How well do they live up to the inherited legacy and tradition that precedes them?
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Long may it continue
Review by Julia Harvie 01st Sep 2015
Footnote is a company that has endured 30 years of changing political and artistic climates. It is our most long-standing dance company and has made a huge impact on the New Zealand dance scene during its time.
Footnote has evolved with each new generation of New Zealand dancers and dance makers. As they have cut their choreographic teeth, all seeking to establish their own unique identities, Footnote has provided an environment where our dance makers have felt nurtured and able to take risks.
Footnote is a collective archive of New Zealand contemporary dance and dancers. It has a rich history and you can see the evolution of the way we dance in the bodies of the current company dancers.
The first half of 30Forward, Footnote Fragmented, takes the audience through a retrospective of brief interludes curated by long-standing but recently retired founder and artistic director, Deirdre Tarrant. Deirdre must be acknowledged as an indomitable force. Her energy and dedication has been pivotal in the survival of this dance company and her legacy will ensure its long life into the future.
In chronological order we see works from Forte Seasons of the past ten years, from Raewyn Hill, Malia Johnston, Claire O’Neil, Kate McIntosh and Jo Randerson, Lisa Densem, Sarah Foster-Sproull, and Alexa Wilson. The diversity of our choreographers is showcased and with each work I am reminded of the dancers involved in the originals. The current company of Emma Dellabaraca, Kosta Bogoievski, Lana Phillips, Adam Naughton, Jeremy Beck and Brydie Colquhoun work incredibly hard as they constantly must make huge conceptual and paradigm shifts in the blink of an eye, further challenged by the fact that the original dancers no doubt went through rigorous processes to embody the choreographers’ visions.
For the second part of the evening, Malia Johnston presents a new work, Flip Pivot Boom, made in collaboration with the current Footnote dancers, AV Designer Rowan Pierce and composer Bevan Smith. This is a rich and more abstract tribute to the past – for those in the know, a personal trip down memory lane and for those fresh to Footnote, the very notions of tribute, memory and history can be reflected on. Through the clever use of sampling of movement, archival footage, photos and light, Malia gives reiteration a modern take. Here we really get to see the company shine and own a choreographic world. This work is deeply sentimental but does not make us cringe. Like paint colours overlapping to make new colours, this work celebrates the ways we can acknowledge the original with originality.
30 Forward is a celebration of movement and move-makers. Dance is a temporal art form but really great work will burn into your retinas, force you to think differently, change ideas of what you thought you knew, and ultimately move you. Thank you to Footnote and the 150 dancers and choreographers who have contributed to the Footnote repertoire and dedicated themselves to making dances for New Zealanders for the past 30 years. Long may it continue.
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Shifting every which way
Review by Anna Bate 29th Aug 2015
Footnote New Zealand Dance has a mighty tight schedule. A mere six weeks since the completion of NOW 2015, they shimmy on in to the Wellington Opera House with 30 Forward. This celebratory show marks 30 years as a company, a grand feat, for sure.
Company founder and director (until recent years) Deirdre Tarrant presents Footnote Fragmented, a collection of excerpts from the Footnote Forte series (of the past decade). Segments from these works are arranged in a linear timeline. Some of these quotes read clearly in this context, flooding my memory with fades and fashion, the bodies that previously filled-those-moves, phases of my life and concepts that did (and didn’t) resonate. In relation to each other, these fragments reveal shifts – in movement vocabulary, approaches to space, relations to audience and political charge – shifts that aren’t necessarily linear.
For me a layer is missing in this list of works. Another step in the process is needed to inject some heart, some specificity, some Deirdre. To be forward, I badly want Tarrant on stage! I want her to share the knowledge that she specifically has, that only she can bring to these segmented works. I want the Upbeat Radio NZ interview crossed with Footnote Fragmented. I want to hear the voice, and see the body of this remarkable, articulate woman, as she interweaves her heart with these excerpts.
Malia Johnston’s Flip Pivot Boom steps outside the classic repertoire format to produce a work that shifts every which way. Here, time is not linear. Moves from the eighties are spliced with the noughties. The process is undeniably generative. Material is sourced from a multitude of mediums from the full 30 years. Archives are embodied, inverted, spliced, projected, mashed, contorted and occasionally left to be. Ambitious. Yes! Exciting. Yes!
The space is layered with sound (Bevan Smith), recorded visuals (Rowan Pierce), moveable screens and live bodies. These most intricately intermesh when the performers use hand-held surfaces to amplify and distort the images of past dances and dancers. They do this whilst still foregrounding the fleshy now of themselves. These acts really encapsulate the sense of integrated memory and possibility that Johnston was seeking.
At times a dance party vibe fills the stage, as too many moves filter too quickly through the performers’ bodies. Travelling at speed, through time. It’s incredible to recognise a flash of a move from a specific work at a specific time. Noticing how I’ve archived material in my body, from my seat, in the audience.
I fail to find connections between some of the material and the concept, though I don’t doubt that it was missing for the makers. I was surprised to be left totally seduced by an uplifting dreamscape of under curves and over curves, feeling a glow towards this ever (r)evolving art form.
Tarrant and Johnston offer two very different approaches to re-enactment, and I love this show for that – the earlier work following a more traditional approach, and the later, opening space for new possibilities.
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