AXIS - anatomy of space

Stardome, Auckland

21/06/2017 - 22/06/2017

Perpetual Guardian Planetarium, Otago Museum, Dunedin

22/03/2017 - 26/03/2017

iD Dunedin Fashion Week 2017

Production Details

World Premier: AXIS – anatomy of space

Acclaimed New Zealand Choreographer and dance filmmaker Daniel Belton and Good Company Arts present a compelling new Dome Cinema Dance project hosted by the Otago Museum Planetarium. Featuring guest artists from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Singapore’s contemporary music scene, and couture from Tanya Carlson, AXIS will draw audiences into a kaleidoscopic journey full of movement.
Perpetual Guardian Planetarium at the Otago Museum, $15, book online at

7.30pm, Wednesday 22 March

5:30pm and 6.30pm, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March

$15 per person with complimentary programme

Limited numbers, bookings essential

Admittance to planetarium restricted to ages 4 years and over.

Book tickets:


Auckland – 21 & 22 June at the Stardome. Multiple sessions daily

Good Company Arts with Joyce Beetuan Koh, PerMagnus Lindborg, Tanya Carson, Jac Grenfell, Donnine Harrison and artists of the Royal New Zealand Ballet .

Multi-discipline , Dance ,

1 hour

All-encompassing engagement

Review by Jennifer Nikolai 22nd Jun 2017

Axis – anatomy of space is a collaboration between Good Company Arts and renowned artists Joyce Beetuan Koh, PerMagnus Lindborg, Tanya Carson, Jac Grenfell, Donnine Harrison and artists of the Royal New Zealand Ballet with director Daniel Belton (Program note).

Axis – anatomy of space is poetry.

This 360-degree full dome cinema work is pioneered by an extraordinary collaborative interdisciplinary team. New Zealand audiences are fortunate to have the opportunity to experience this work with such high calibre artists in the accessible and experientially inviting venue, the dome.  360 dance can more traditionally be viewed on mobile devices, through VR headsets or projected in cinematic venues but this reflection of light and the relationship we have to natural light extends us through the capacity to be able to look around the night sky. 

The venue itself, The Stardome Observatory and Planetarium makes possible an experience otherwise non-achievable.  This is a venue that urban dwellers may go to, to connect with our night sky, with the solar system.  The technology of a 360-degree cinematic experience takes us through an illuminated constellation surrounding us as we sit back, lean back, look around, and choose the 360-degree perspective we wish to experience.  

Looking into the cinematic dome, we see our solar system illuminated.  But this work is more than just the exceptional opportunity we have to experience this genre in a public space.  The collaborators in this exquisite work, has significantly created that all-embracing principle of higher unity (Good Company program notes: from Lama Govinda) that unfolds in the experience of being part of this experience. 

It is rare to feel such a sense of all-encompassing engagement with what we humans may recognize as space, the universe, natural forces, the breath of life and the relationships all things living, the sun and the moon, the waves we hear on coastal shores in New Zealand and the connection we have with that vast open sky that we look up to each night.  This too, is the relationship we have to the physical self and our breath, our blood and life force… all in the poetry of Axis – anatomy of space.

So beautifully solar and sonic is this experience of staring up and around at high contrast black and white dancers, illuminated shapes and the occasional, highly impactful blue ball that represents breath, water, the moon, or the circulation of all things connected.  The significance of black and white in the conception of moving image, although dominant, is contrasted minimally with a radiant blue, but only occasionally.  With the subtle teasing of blue illuminations, the blue circle or cycle concludes the work, as the crashing of waves also closes the mesmerising sound-score.

Environmental, found sound is sourced from insects, and waves in contrast to vocal sounds that play in an extraordinary range through its musical score. Voices in nature, in symphony; also move the visualisations of the artists of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The quality of dance in motion is slow and repetitive. Sequencing of images are meditative.  The repeated variation of solos and duets colliding as do stars, shape pathways and particles in the geometry of space. The ethereal essence of the dancers guides the overall quality of the work, with subtle movement choices that punctuate anomalies in nature, or rest as in the breath, within a musical score. 

The sound creates a cosmos.  Dancers are the cosmos. The human form interacting with line in the 360-degree perspective fully respects and challenges the technology in an affective and rare viewing experience.  Axis – anatomy of space is poetic, meditative and harmonic.

In the tradition of Good Company Arts, the development of optical devices and sound technologies with the divine performances of Royal New Zealand Ballet artists creates once again, a stunningly unflawed work.  Good Company Arts, director Daniel Belton and collaborators set the bar for optical, moving image experiences and dance.

As a taster repesenting the calibre of The Tempo Dance Festival 2017, this work is an extraordinary initiator of so many more, strong dance works to come.



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Celestial inspiration

Review by Nigel Zega 26th Mar 2017

Ancient civilisations made sense of the stars by joining the dots of light to create worldly figures living high in the heavens.

Clusters of stars became dogs, fish, crabs, bears and humans, all going about their celestial business from dusk to dawn.

Now there are new inhabitants of the imagination in the night skies, thanks to Dunedin dance doyen Dan Belton and Good Company Arts.

Belton has focused his creative team’s collective genius on the stars, making a giant leap into space with his latest work, a world-first immersive dance film designed primarily for screening in domes.

Axis — Anatomy of Space premiered at the Otago Museum’s Perpetual Guardian Planetarium, juggling light, dance, music, costume and film to deliver a captivating, beautiful, perplexing and sometimes unfathomable yet ultimately satisfying experience.

For Belton, the recent construction of Dunedin’s planetarium was the perfect excuse to indulge a lifelong fascination with astrophysics and space 

With a film for a 360-degree dome in mind, Belton marshalled an international team of new and old collaborators to contribute their imagination and skills so he and his co-producers could manipulate them into Axis.

Singapore-based composers Joyce Beetuan Koh and PerMagnus Lindborg brainstormed the concept, and fashion designer Tanya Carlson’s ethereal costumes inspired dancers on loan from the Royal New Zealand Ballet to develop phrases for the choreography.

As audiences lie back inside the dome, all of this translates to an other-worldly show of innovation and thought-provoking sound, images and movement.

Soundscapes shift emphasis on an ever-changing background. Heavenly figures rise and fall, angelic dancers ebb and flow to unfamiliar rhythms, light plays tricks and varying focus makes dream-like changes. Mythical Atlases balance planets on their extended arms, century-old strongmen carry the weight of worlds, and disc-carrying athletes like Greek statues emerge from frozen time to come jerkily to life.

Figures are often controlled, confined or supported by lines that could hold the score for the music of the spheres. Are the dancers trapped, or are they directing events?

New lines of what could be gravity’s pull connect and release, and everything waxes and wanes, irregularly shifting, apparently as uncertain as the principles of extreme physics.

Multiple duplicating dancers defocus over time; limbs become weightless, then formless; kinetic sculpture hints at a measure of design, and the firmament is filled with star trails that could chart visions of heaven for a secular society.

It’s not always an easy ride, and deliberate disconnects between sound and motion could signify light years of distance between the dancers and the audience

But in the end, beauty is the strongest memory. Exquisite pairings of dream-like dancers merge and blend like white flame or white water, both strange and familiar at the same time.

Axis is a scintillating show in every way, sometimes unattainable, often reflective, always doing what Belton has consistently done so well — pushing the boundaries and breaking new artistic ground.

Following shows in Dunedin, future slated performances are in Singapore, South America, and Auckland later in the year.


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Celestial beings in a swirling cosmos

Review by Penny Neilson 23rd Mar 2017

The world premiere of Daniel Belton’s latest work, Axis – Anatomy of Space, was a 360-degree aural and visual immersion.

This is a work of collaboration across media and artistic disciplines – film, photography, kinetic sculpture, couture, contemporary composition and dance.

Belton’s creative team consists of Singaporean-based composers Joyce Beetuan Koh and Permagnus Lindborg, who created the predominantly choral soundtrack; Tanya Carlson, designer of the beautiful and voluminous costumes; producer Donnine Harrison, film-maker Jac Grenfell and artists from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, most notably Abigail Boyle, Jacob Chown and Laura Saxon Jones.

Inspired by his childhood fascination with deep space and astrophysics, Axis is innovative and dynamic.

The creation of Otago Museum’s planetarium provided the impetus for this visually stunning work…

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