St Andrews Church, New Plymouth

07/10/2023 - 07/10/2023

Production Details

Choreographers: Tabitha Dombroski and Evgenia Plotkin Mikhailov.
Taranaki Dance Trust.

Taranaki Dance Trust.

Brought to you by the Taranaki Dance Trust, ‘Contentedness’, by Tabitha Dombroski, asks us to find the connection and ‘contentedness’ within ourselves and each other – allowing waves of movement, one’s own intuition, and finding common links which create one organism working and moving in unison.

A new perspective on the four elements of AIR, WATER, FIRE and EARTH is ‘Equilibrium’ by Evgenia Plotkin Mikhailov. First performed at the Len Lye Centre in 2022, this performance looks at the element’s relationship between each other and their own internal identity.

Sat 7 Oct, 6:00 PM
Sat 7 Oct, 8:00 PM

St Andrew’s Church, New Plymouth

55 mins, no interval

General Admission
Adult: $25.00
Child: $15.00
Admission service fees apply


Choreographers: Tabitha Dombroski and Evgenia Plotkin Mikhailov.
Taranaki Dance Trust.

Dance ,

55 minutes

Young women move with precision and elegance

Review by Cameron McHugh 11th Oct 2023

I walk into the beautiful St. Andrew’s Church, knowing fully well I am about to watch dancers perform, when I am suddenly struck with an inescapable thought: “A church is a bizarre venue to host a show like this”. This is the kaupapa of the Reimagine Festival – opening doors to unexpected places, with events that are for everyone to enjoy. I did not take me long to realise how my preconceived ideas were being challenged however, as this event did an outstanding job of realising the vision of the festival. Big lighting rigs loom in the corners of the church floor, overlooking the “stage”: a beautiful wooden floor rid of the many pews that normally sit together there. The audience are seated on three sides around the performance space, integrated with the architecture of the room rather than being intrusive into it. It is apparent to me how fun it is to not only see a show in an unusual space, but have that space be a feature and a character that adds to the performance. 

This double-billed event brought to us by Taranaki Dance Trust consisted of two choreographed pieces (that’s why the title of the show may read a bit confusingly for some). CONTENTEDNESS starts the show when 14 young women enter, marching onto the floor with precision and focus — they are here to work. Their matching colour-block tops, resembling the stained windows of the building, brings you right back into the overarching theme of the festival itself. For those that have never seen contemporary dance before, or perhaps it is your first time, there is a tendency to want to lean in, squint a little harder, scratch your chin and try and “figure out what all this means”. While sometimes yes, contemporary art in all its forms can be deeply ingrained with subtext, double-entendre and parallels, it is also an individual experience: its beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 
Seeing these young women move with such precision and elegance, seamlessly swirling through sequences of choreography makes my heart glow. Each performer clearly gives their all, both in effort and intention. Every breath they take together, every time you see their eyes lock It is evident how much teamwork and trust they all have in each other — and this is beautiful to see. Seeing their live collaboration on that stage is the real star of this piece for me, expertly elevated by their choreography Tabitha Dombroski, who makes sure each dancer has a moment to lead and to show their artistry. The free tempo violin/synth soundtrack neatly wraps the piece together. CONTENTEDNESS leaves me feeling nothing but content

Choreographed by Evgenia Plotkin Mikhailov, EQUILIBRIUM first debuted last year in the Len Lye Centre. This piece is split into four movements: AIR, WATER, FIRE, and EARTH, seamlessly transitioning through the use of elegant choreography, different soundtracks and clear lighting choices. Being a musician first and foremost, I find it hard to “tune out” from any and all music, so I must admit having Hans Zimmer’s ‘Time’ from the movie Interstellar as the opening soundtrack is distracting — especially when it was intentionally only the first few minutes of the song, cut and repeated over again. Same goes for the last movement, where the backing soundtrack is to the recognisable voice of slam-poet Shane Koyczan, who you might know from his viral TED Talk “To this day…”. 

Fortunately, my soundtrack-obsessed self is quickly brought right back into the piece by some truly outstanding performances. There are more clear solo features in a few of the movements, moments where some of the dancers have the chance to really show off their story telling, strength, flexibility and artistry as dancers. A few dancers and moments have me floored — how lucky we are to have such hard-working students and teachers in Taranaki. My only complaint would be that I could not find a list of names of the performers, I would love to give them the written recognition here that they so genuinely deserve.

A massive thank you to TAFT, Creative NZ and TOI Foundation for bringing this festival to our doorsteps, giving our taiohi the opportunity to perform and for the community to experience something new is a righteous cause I fully support. Well done to those involved in this double-bill — you know who you are — I can’t wait to see more from the Taranaki Dance Trust and the rest of the festival. There are still events on for the Reimagine Festival so get in quick, you might just surprise yourself with something/someone/somewhere exciting.


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