TAPAC - The Auckland Performing Arts Centre, Auckland

30/01/2012 - 30/01/2012

Production Details

The show is directed, produced and choreographed by Mila Barach, but also features new fresh choreography by Amy Yorke, Molly Taylor and other special guests. Don’t miss out on this amazing and inzpiring production – join us on the journey.

There is one Auckland show only on the 30th January 2012 at 7pm

$1 from each ticket sold will go to our charity of choice – BOP @ heart

Tickets on sale from the 12th of January from

More info:

Dancers: Hawke Vermeulen, Remma McArdle, Kirsty Dalton, Delwyn Wilkinson, Leigh-ann Bennett, Lichelle Leckner, Sophie Offner, Tiana Offner, Maddie Hughes, Steph Montgomery, Anya Dyvestyn, Louise McAllister
Sara Lewis
Photography - Toby Barach
Backstage / Technical  - Jay Hadfield, Jordan Baldock, Shane Murphy
Costumes - Claudia Billinge, Kirsty Dalton, Angela Wilkinson, Kim Stenning-lethbridge, Kirsten Addison, Michelle Dalton, Mila Barach
Guest choreographer on Ruby Red - Amy Yorke
Live music - Brayden Jeffrey
Art - Maddie Hughes

1 hour

Entertaining, enjoyable and uplifting

Review by Julia Barry 31st Jan 2012

A small but appreciative audience attends the one and only performance of Canvas by Tauranga-based Inzpire Dance Company on Monday January 30 at TAPAC.  Company Director and Head Choreographer, Mila Barach, runs a dance school in Tauranga and has established Inzpire Dance Company to address what she sees as a “lack of opportunity in the industry, as well as an overload of talent, so what better than to form a group of the Bay’s most talented and versatile dancers”. 

This production comprises 25 short dance pieces with titles relating to art, including a wide range of descriptively named colours – presumably from a paint palette.  Choreography is mainly by Barach, with some pieces by other members of the company.  Throughout the programme a film is projected of artist Maddie Hughes working on a canvas (hence the production title) to create a colourful complete painting, which we see in its final form by the end of the performance.  The gradual development of the full artwork over the course of the evening is interesting, although perhaps being rather less drawn out might  retain greater interest over the more than two hours of dance performance.

The programme includes contemporary, jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet and hip hop genres, with some pieces reflecting an interesting fusion of a number of styles within the choreography.  Musical accompaniment is mainly taken from currently popular artists, with the occasional venture into other musical styles.  Highlights for me in the programme include: Blood Red – a contemporary solo choreographed by Barach, performed with eloquence, power and strong intention by Tiana Offner, to the insistent quality of the vocals, drum and piano beats of Tore my Heart by Oona and Dave Tweedie.  Smoky Black – an interesting trio by Barach for two dancers en pointe and one tapper (Delwyn Wilkinson, Leigh-Ann Bennett and Lichelle Leckner) set to Heavy in Your Arms by Florence and the Machine.  The unusual combination of tap and modern ballet with jazz overtones emphasizes both contrasts and similarities of genre and creates a fusion of these styles into a new direction.  The dancers perform with assurance, showing good line and control and ample flexibility.  The simple costumes of black shorts and top were embellished with black fabric drapery, which the dancers removed and used in various ways.  At times the use of these long pieces of fabric could be more smoothly co-ordinated to maintain focus on the choreography and support the otherwise secure performance of the dancers. 

Two cabaret-style numbers are presented:  Scarlet Red, choreographed by Kirsty Dalton and Anya Duyvenstein, is a sassy Burlesque-style cabaret piece for 5 female dancers with chairs to Put your hands on me by Joss Stone.  The dancers initially immerse themselves in the spirit of this style, which they clearly enjoy performing – it would be good to see this energy and fire maintained throughout and for some variation to the unison choreography to be added.  The costumes of simple red singlets over black shorts could perhaps be altered to be more representative of cabaret-style attire to enhance the impact of this piece.  Ruby Red, which opens the second half of the programme, is choreographed by Amy Yorke to Ruby Blue by Roisin Murphy.  This piece is more suitably costumed with black leotards and red and blue net skirts, with black tights with ladders and holes in them over red and blue coloured tights – creating a ‘sleazy cabaret bar’ atmosphere.  This is readily reflected in the sexy and extrovert style of performance of the large group of female dancers.  Again, the dancers revel in their interpretations and the fun they are clearly having is infectious.

Forest Green, by Barach, is set to music played on reed flute and drums: Red Ribbon by Guo Yue and Joji Hirota.  The dance for Tiana and Sophie Offner begins in silence with smooth, liquid floor movements, developing into the dancers working in opposition, pacing around each other as though in a contest of wills.  As the music becomes rhythmically animated, the shape and intensity of the choreographic content develops accordingly, showcasing the two strong and capable dancers.  The snug-fitting green slashed tops allow every sinuous movement of the dancers’ bodies to be clearly defined.  Moonstone Blue – a delightful, graceful and flowing dance by Barach set to a lyrical gospel-style song performed by what sounds like an acapella choir: Down to the River by Alison Kraus.  The female dancers are simply attired in long white skirts and crop tops and the choreography shows some intricate interlacing of arms and bodies, with a particularly appealing final pose with the dancers layered over each other from the floor up.

The first half concludes with one of two dances on the programme reflecting currently topical social issues.  Well done to Inzpire for providing an artistic platform to promote awareness of and openness about experiences which affect many in our society.  The first of these is Lemon Yellow, choreographed by Barach and sincerely performed by Remma McArdle and Hawke Vermeulen to a cover version from Sara Bareillies of Yellow by Coldplay.  The theme of the piece is infertility, as indicated by the statements projected on the cyclorama as the dance opens.  Beginning with a haunting single note played continuously on a piano, intense partnering and dramatic movement dynamics reflect the depth of emotions such as anger, frustration, despondency and despair.  Vermeulen provides tender and caring support for McArdle, who gives a very genuine interpretation of suffering.  Periodically throughout the piece, petals flutter down from the roof – perhaps representing each disappointment experienced.  The partnering here is well rehearsed and flows seamlessly, with the dancers responding to each other with both well-coordinated movement and artistic integrity.  A final bittersweet touch is when Vermeulen exits briefly, returning with a flower to offer small solace to his partner.  

Of particular note in this production is the live accompaniment provided for certain pieces by the very talented young guitarist, vocalist and composer, Brayden Jeffrey.  Jeffrey’s emotionally sincere and moving interpretations are highlights of the performance, especially his own composition of Lost and Found for the Quartz Grey solo in the second half, which is performed with expressive authenticity, strong elevation and dynamic intensity by Hawke Vermeulen.

Science Fiction, an improvisation also composed and performed by Brayden Jeffrey, is accompanied by a strong contemporary style trio of female dancers, featuring effective use of individualized choreography in canon.  The third dancer in this sequence is particularly articulate and graceful in her movements. Twilight Lavender, choreographed by Barach, shows energy and fluidity of movement by a large group of dancers working in unison and features creative use of gesture integrated with movement to reflect the lyrics of the song Turning Tables by Adele.  Terracotta is a striking Hip Hop solo choreographed by Molly Taylor and Biani Hoskins-Peri, which shows detailed rhythmic movement at speed with strong accents and dynamics.  This was ably performed by Molly Taylor to Where have you been? by Rihanna

Stormcloud Blue is the second piece relating to a social issue on the programme.  This contemporary solo by Barach for Sophie Offner explores the conflicting emotions surrounding family violence and is set to the aptly titled The Lonely by Christina Perri.  The phrase projected of “It’s hard to see the light when you’re lost in the darkness” is expressively reflected in the contrasts of fluid and sharply angular movements.  Offner expresses the theme with deep conviction and strongly dramatic movement quality.  The use of movements over and around a lone chair, the simple midnight blue dress and the subdued lighting emphasize the intensity of interpretation.  Nadeshiko Pink is a happy, energetic and animated solo for Remma McArdle, choreographed by Barach, on the simple theme of the music Are we there yet? by Ingrid Michaelson.  Clad in a pretty floral summer dress, complete with small suitcase, McArdle gives a sweet and carefree evocation of summer and the joys of holidaying away.   A welcome and well-timed light relief from the darker mood of Stormcloud Blue. 

The programme concludes with a spirited and vibrant jazz dance by Barach and the Company, The Masterpiece to Sing by My Chemical Romance.  Further attention to some technical detail would enhance the cohesion of this piece and the enthusiastic performance qualities seen earlier in the evening could be more consistently maintained by some of the dancers.  This has been quite a long programme, with many quick changes of costume, so perhaps understandable exhaustion is setting in!

This Company as a whole has a powerful raw energy and the dancers, ranging in age from 16-20, show a high level of passion for and commitment to both the choreography and to performing for an audience.   Overall, there is an easy flow of movement with awareness of breath providing good use of gravity, momentum and suspension, fluid transitions into and out of the floor and articulate use of the spine.  A range of dance genres and fusion styles are featured and there are some strong performances by Company members, particularly in solos, duets and trios.

At times, elements of technique could be enhanced with greater attention to detail, such as lines of legs and feet in extensions and leaps and control of turns, particularly multiple pirouettes, posé turns and fouettés ronds de jambe en tournant.  Further development of these aspects of technique would provide consistency of performance level, to meet the high standard shown in musicality, dynamics of movement and whole body co-ordination and expression.

As the Company continues to progress, perhaps a broader range of musical styles can be explored, prompting further expansion of the choreographic content, to increase the breadth of movement vocabulary the dancers are exposed to.  Somewhat longer works could also provide further interest for the audience and additional challenge for the dancers in the future.

Congratulations to Mila Barach and Inzpire Dance Company for developing a forum for young and enthusiastic dancers in the Bay of Plenty to gain performance, choreographic and production experience in a professional setting.   This was an entertaining, enjoyable and uplifting performance and I hope we will see more of Inzpire Dance Company in Auckland in the future.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council