Kuranui College, Greytown, Greytown

22/10/2017 - 22/10/2017

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

27/10/2017 - 27/10/2017

Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Gillies Avenue (Cnr Silver Road) Epsom, Auckland

01/11/2017 - 01/11/2017

Mayfair Theatre, 100 King Edward Street, Kensington, Dunedin

11/11/2017 - 11/11/2017

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

03/11/2017 - 04/11/2017

Papa Hou Theatre at the YMCA, 12 Hereford Street, Christchurch

09/11/2017 - 09/11/2017

Blyth Performing Arts Centre (Iona College), 42 Lucknow Road, Havelock North

25/10/2017 - 25/10/2017

Kokomai 2017

Tauranga Arts Festival 2017

Production Details

Choreographer: Super Ornate Construct - Sarah Foster-Sproull
Choreographer: Participation - Emma Murray

Presented by Footnote New Zealand Dance


A double-bill of exceptional new dance work from Footnote New Zealand Dance, CONTRAST is the combination of two distinct choreographic voices, Sarah Foster-Sproull (Auckland, New Zealand) and Emma Murray (Bern, Switzerland).

Sarah Foster-Sproull’s Super Ornate Construct invites you into a cut-out world. A man stands alone with his thoughts while carefully placed scenes morph around him. With musical composition by Andrew Foster, this energetic new work vibrates with rich imagery and original sound.

Melding, merging, blurring. In Participation Murray considers how we are built up and subsequently undone by those around us. Swiss sound designer, Till Hillbrecht, provides a musical backdrop to this exploration of first encounters and layered identities.

Suitable for all ages with adult supervision (occasional strong language).

Footnote would like to thank the following organisations for their support: Wellington City Council, Wellington Community Trust, Tarrant Dance Studios, Havana Coffeeworks, Staples Rodway, Les Mills, JacksonStone & Partners, Te Aro Physiotherapy



Sun 22 Oct, 7.00pm (80 mins including interval)
Kuranui College Auditorium, Greytown
Adult $39 / Child $20

Hawke’s Bay
Blyth Performing Arts Centre
Iona College
25th October 2017

Tauranga Arts Festival
Addison Theatre, Baycourt Community Arts Centre
27th October 2017

Raye Freedman Arts Centre
Epsom Girls College
1st November 2017

Hannah Playhouse
3rd and 4th November 2017

Theatre Royal
7th November 2017

Papa Hou (YMCA)
9th November 2017

Mayfair Theatre
11th November 2017


TYler Carney, Joshua Faleatua, Georgia Beechey-Gradwell,  Anu Khapung, Adam Naughton

Dance-theatre , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

80 minutes

Spellbinding the audience

Review by Hannah Molloy 12th Nov 2017

Contrast by Footnote Dance Company is two disparate works that combine to elicit a feeling of repletion and connection. Emma Murray’s Participation and Sarah Foster-Sproull’s Super Ornate Construct are markedly different in style, sound, and shape but they make perfect sense together and, for the most part, the audience seemed to be spellbound, immersed in the theatre of the movement and the implicit and explicit storytelling.

The five dancers, Tyler Carney, Joshua Faleatua, Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Adam Naughton and Anu Khapung, inscribed the works with their bodies and such expressive and individual movement but the choreographies held them together as though bound with thread.

Participation is a partially improvised work, and at the end of the tour, the dancers looked completely confident in their ability to anticipate the potential of their co-performers. It must be difficult to prevent ‘improvisation’ from becoming ‘choreography’ at this stage of a tour, but it felt fresh and impulsive, constrained inside a militaristic rhythm of four steps and a 90s style chicness, but with seamless transitions of shape and power from one to the next.

It offers interpretations of the evolution of individuality, inclusion and exclusion, control and manipulation, togetherness, and experimentation with sense of place. Faleatua, Carney, Beechey-Gradwell and Naughton maintain their rhythmic march, with each making subversive digressions into larger or smaller movements and directions, drawing the others with them. Khapang slinks onto the stage and watches, like a cat assessing the best place to curl up and make itself the key consideration for everyone around it. She inserts herself deftly into the rhythm, separating and then unifying the group which moulds itself around her to bring her inside the collective.

Sproull’s Super Ornate Construct articulates a thought process, an internal dialogue expressed by a third person, and it is funny. Cut-out shapes and a voiceover provide the vehicle for more overt story-telling while the dancers tell the deeper, more emotional layers, giving the audience the opportunity to just revel in the beautiful movement or to relate to the different facades (or constructs).

Neither choreography leaves space for anything less than perfect timing, and this is a group of very skilled and cohesive dancers, with distinct and beautiful styles of movement. Each dancer calls for the audience’s full attention at different moments, both in their solo moments and together. Khapung has a particular tautness to her movement while Faleatua and Beechey-Gradwell have a smooth roundness, and Carney and Naughton a composure and vigour that make each of them irresistible to watch.

I would like to watch this work again sometime. I left the Mayfair Theatre with a sense of comfort and thoughtfulness and I think a show like Contrast lends itself to multiple viewings, perhaps not all at once but over time, allowing for the layers of the choreography to fit against the layers of my own experience and deepen my experience of the work.  


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Energy, conviction and intriguing contrasts

Review by Dr Ian Lochhead 10th Nov 2017

Footnote Dance’s 2017 national tour provides the welcome opportunity for New Zealand audiences to experience the work of both expatriate and New Zealand resident dance makers in two thirty-minute works that provide, as the programme’s title suggests, intriguing contrasts both in the character of the works and the choreographic strategies involved.  For Christchurch audiences, in particular, this was an especially significant event since Emma Murray began her career in dance in the city before performing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and subsequently moving to Switzerland in 1997 to dance with Konzert Theater, Bern for eight years.  Murray now works as a free-lance performer and choreographer and earlier this year Footnote dancers travelled to Bern to commence the process that has resulted in the opening work in the Contrasts season, Participation.

Beginning from the germ of a simple motif for four dancers of two steps forward and two back, followed by a pivot and a repeat of the same sequence of steps, the work evolves through the repetition and gradual transformation of this initially unpromising sequence.  At the start the only accompaniment is the squeak of basketball boots on the floor until Till Hillbrecht’s electronic score takes over.  The repetition has a mesmeric effect, building tension as we wonder who will first break the pattern.  When change occurs it is through the simplest of hand gestures but in this context it has a transformative effect, leading to the introduction of movements of the shoulders, head and ultimately the entire body.  This process is complicated by the arrival of a fifth dancer on stage whose interaction with the initial quartet provides a stimulus for further change until the entire stage is occupied as movements expand to fill the space.

Comparisons with the minimalist scores of composers such as Philip Glass and John Adams, in which small shifts in harmony or rhythm disrupt extended passages of repeated motifs, inevitably come to mind, although Hillbrect’s score has its own distinctive character.  Murray’s programme note reveals that improvisation is an essential part of the work, although the full impact of this is impossible to judge from a single viewing.  What does emerge, however, is the attentiveness of the dancers to one another’s movements as they interact within the boundaries established by the work, establishing a bond that leaves no place for ostentatious individualism.  Participation reminds us that human beings are truly social animals and that responsiveness to others is ultimately essential for our survival. 

Sarah Foster-Sproull’s Super Ornate Construct explores the myth of the ‘man alone’, although not the rugged out-doors type pitted against the natural world of Alan Mulgan’s literary figure but an archetypal male, self-satisfied and self-obsessed.  Foster-Sproull quite literally turns this idea on its head as, in the final tableau of her work, the dominant male of the opening sequence lies with his head beneath the feet of the female other. While in Murray’s work there is a clear progression from the confined movements of the opening sequence to the expansive gestures of its later evolution, it is difficult to detect such a clear line of development in Foster-Sproull’s piece.  The use of voice-over to comment on and explain what we are seeing on stage fails to add a significant dimension to the work, although cut-out symbols and signboards are deftly used to highlight the self-protective shell that individuals build around themselves.   Foster-Sproull’s intention to explore narrative in this new work is only fitfully revealed, with ideas appearing to be imposed on the dance rather than emerging from it.  With greater focus on its central theme, Super Ornate Construct has the potential to engage viewers more fully than in its present somewhat diffuse form: Murray’s contrasting work demonstrates how a single strong idea can sustain a thirty minute performance.

Footnote’s dancers bring energy and conviction to their performance of these very different works although it is Murray’s Participation that offers them the greatest scope to demonstrate their skills.   


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Review by Brigitte Knight 04th Nov 2017

Contrast presents works from two choreographers of significant national and international standing: Switzerland-based choreographer, dancer and teacher Emma Murray, and Creative New Zealand’s Choreographic Fellow 2017-2019 Sarah Foster-Sproull. Potentially, the season was named before the works were created – they share similar general concepts but strongly contrasting realisation.

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Deftly danced double bill

Review by Raewyn Whyte 03rd Nov 2017

Two dance works examining aspects of human interaction comprise Contrast, Footnote New Zealand Dance’s double-bill show now midway through a national tour. Deftly performed, these works were enthusiastically received by a capacity Auckland audience.

Sarah Foster-Sproull’s somewhat experimental Super Ornate Construct is an existentialist comic strip which reconsiders the “man alone” stereotype. It combines blocks of movement structured as if dancers are conversing, a musical collage and the wielding of cardboard cutout objects to amplify the stereotypical characteristics of the man alone figure. Andrew Foster’s voice-over narration is somewhat obtrusive given the movement makes clear what’s going on.

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Review by val smith 03rd Nov 2017

CONTRAST is a double bill from Footnote New Zealand Dance, currently touring the country with dancers Anu Khapung, Adam Naughton, Joshua Faleatua, Tyler Carney, and Georgia Beechey-Gradwell.  The event presents new dance works, Participation by Emma Murray and Super Ornate Construct by Sarah Foster-Sproull.  I attend CONTRAST on 1st November 2017 in Tāmaki Makaurau at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom Girls Grammar School. 

I am considering the kind of information a conventional dance review presents.  I am wondering how I might rethink this traditional approach to foreground an open-ended and curious response to the event.  So, I develop a vague plan as to how I might respond in the moment to the live event.  Rather than discussing the choreographic works, which dance reviews conventionally describe, analyse, interpret and evaluate, I want to attend more closely to the dancers (and their powers).

Can I frame the embodied knowledge produced, generated and invited by the dancers, the space, and the event as a w/hole – from tickets and foyer – to halftime – to post-show interactivity?  The material and immaterial relations, the socio-politically charged sensations, the awkwardness, the tensions, the avoided encounters, the hugs, the dreams and passions, the memories, the crushes, the shadows, the throw of light from the wings, the fall of dust through strips of light.

I reimagine the ‘dance review’ as a kind of map.  Not an illustration, nor an archive of the event.  Not a representation of the choreographic material.  Rather, an oblique paraphrasing, or a failing translation.  Can I map CONTRAST to spawn and summon new meanings, new ideas, or conjure new choreographies?  How can this cartography be co-extensive with the entire expanded social field of the Nov 1st CONTRAST Footnote NZ Dance event?  An impossible task perhaps, but this paradoxical map keeps calling me.  It makes no distinction between its content and expression.  It is a formation, no, it is a forming, that others may see and feel and enact through a YELLINGMOUTH web space. 

This map of CONTRAST is a multiplying diagram with many folds and arrows.  My attention leans into the event as an alive sensorium held open (and closed) by the dancers.  

I approach this ‘review’ then, as an opportunity to share the peripheral effects of the performance, and maybe some of the mundane details, or the accidental joys of the dance.  I want to touch and socialise with you the event as an unfinished assemblage.  How might the thousands of vibrating micro events, generated through the liveness, create an environment of Contemporary Dance?

I am wondering how the five dancers might

      bring to life the audience’s experiences,

        vibrate with techniques, processes and the politics of dance,

        interrelate with each other,

        impress into us their unique expressions-perspectives,

        impact the space with their pasts, futures and presents.

The following link connects to a fragmented assemblage of image & text elements developed through a 48-hour creative practice that responds experimentally to the live event CONTRAST, and to the event’s promotional and programming materials.  From 9am Tuesday 1st November – 9am Thursday 3rd November, 2017, I play with drawing, writing, sensing-feeling-moving, photography and reflective/editing/composing processes.  I hope you enjoy.


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Dynamite dancers, thought-provoking choreography

Review by Gin Mabey 28th Oct 2017

Friday night, Footnote takes the stage at Baycourt’s Addison Theatre, with their 2017 show CONTRAST.

This show comprises of two creations, one by choreographer Emma Murray, a New Zealander who has been living and working in Bern, Switzerland. The second piece is by Sarah Foster-Sproull, Creative New Zealand’s Choreographic Fellow for 2017-2019.

There are many dancers in the crowd, young people sporting their local dance school’s jerseys, come to find inspiration from these pros, it’s lovely to see.

Emma Murray’s piece, Participation is described in the program: “a partially improvised structure and simple movement strategy demand the performers to interact with one another through accumulative pattern, formation, tempo and rhythm. It is through these conditions that they experience themselves, and each other, as being simultaneously entwined and separate.” Simultaneously entwined and separate. These words stay with me long after I have read them before the show starts, as they are strongly and beautifully apparent throughout the piece. Entwined and separate – sounds like the title of all of our life stories if we were to boil them down to the essence.

I like how Participation plays on the audience’s (or mine, at least) sense of impatience, anticipation, and the anxiety that comes with both. The piece starts with repeated movement that lasts a long time with only very subtle changes. At first, I feel the panic of what’s going to “happen”, when will it “change” – this piece is already reflecting the inner workings of life as we deal with the passing of time alone and in relation to others. Not that I want it to change, it’s mesmerizing, in fact. But at the same time, it does awaken that anxious thing inside that says “what’s happening next and what will it do to me?”. 

There’s a moment when the dancers finally touch, they hold hands and link up. I am surprised at the sense of relief this brings me, as though seeing them for so long in such close vicinity but without embracing or touching is sad, but why is it sad? Perhaps their touch is a signal that they are okay, that they see each other, and that they accept each other. The dancers smile as they touch flesh, which makes the moment even more soothing. Speaking of smiling, Tyler Carney suppresses a giggle here and there, teeth glinting as she grins…I wonder what she’s thinking about? It adds to the presence of “separation” – they’re dancing together in unison, but each and every mind is ticking over in a different way as they see and experience the motion as a solo being.

The dancers lead and follow, offer and accept, and the tiny changes they make as individuals turn into a transformation of the group as a whole. They are all powerful and at the mercy of each other’s power at the same time.

When a lone dancer enters the stage, she watches the other four bodies. She moves among them, between them. She grabs them, holds them. I wonder if she is trying to stop them, change them, or join them. Eventually she becomes part of the unison. I love the way they eventually break off into little alliances, little groups where they move together with one or two other dancers, on the same wavelength, and letting each other influence their movements as they too, influence.

The sound is very effective and at times, satisfyingly invasive (sound by Till Hillbrecht who has done an awesome job). There are a few moments when I notice the sound, only to realize I wasn’t noticing it before, as it has been floating with and against the movement beautifully.

These dancers are something else. All five of them are electrifying to watch, and they show a freedom and spontaneity that makes the experience even more special. The pure skill and strength is something to behold (and be envious of! To dance like that…oh if only).

The second piece is called Super Ornate Construct, by Sarah Foster-Sproull. “The work seeks to consider how our reality might be a series of facades, a super ornate construct if you will, that stands between people and our true feelings…”. This piece is accompanied by a man’s voice, introducing us to the “man alone”, the dancers, and his unnamed lover, or “you”. I really like the way the narration uses “you” because it nudges the audience to put themselves in the situation being described. “You think of the rain…”, we think of the rain, as well as knowing the man on stage is being narrated and even ordered, to think of the rain. “He yelled at you…”, we feel yelled at, while we see the dancer react to being yelled at herself. This draws a thread between us, the dancers, and the story they are telling.

The choreography in this piece is really breathtaking. I keep thinking of the words “peeling away” as I watch. The dancers either peel themselves away from each other, or they are peeled away by the hands of other dancers. The use of simple cardboard cutouts in the shapes of arrows and clouds punctuate the piece extremely well, and it almost makes it look like stark cartoon figures hovering in and around the dancers. The movement is sharp and fluid, large and minute, flowing and jarring.

Sarah lets us know in her foreword that she has been working on incorporating narrative and character in her choreography, and I think she’s really succeeded with this. The narrative of a couple who have fought but both have different feelings and interpretations of the what, why, and how is a brilliant way to deliver the theme of facades and constructed reality. “…stands between people and our true feelings”, yes – even in the most intimate of relationships, are we ever truly there as ourselves, free of all those particles of dust that coat us and stop us from really uniting? The dancers shed their clothes and come together, head on top of head, body on body, but I know (or, I think I know) they’re still alone. What does it take to shed the facades and truly expose what’s underneath? Is it even possible? I like that this show has led me to these questions.

These five dancers are dynamite. I could rave about each one individually but I would spin off into even more of a ramble! I’ll just say: they are all very special, they’ve found where they’re truly meant to be, and I can’t wait to watch them again. 

I hope my words have adequately communicated the thoughtfulness and incredible quality of this show. Not sure if my interpretations and observations are what were intended by the creators, but I feel very enriched after the experience. 


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How do people fit together..?

Review by Kim Buckley 26th Oct 2017

Two New Zealand choreographers working from different sides of our planet couldn’t be further apart in contrast. Each of the choreographic styles, formats, tones are different up until the content of humanity. Until I realise I am watching the question: How do people fit together..? This is where tonight’s program fits together.

Emma Murray’s Participation is, on the surface, a simple accumulation of movement by four dancers. The music by Till Hillbrecht is, to start with, a droning rhythm that gets inside my skull. I am reminded of  Accumulation, an early work from Trisha Brown, New York, 1971. A fifth dancer enters and gradually, mathematically, she entwines herself with the larger group. We are faced with the question of participation on every level, individually, or with a collective of others. Either way, if one looks deeper than the surface, this work is challenging and begs existential questions of belonging through transformation.

Super Ornate Construct is choreographed by Sarah Foster-Sproull. Working with dramaturg Andrew Foster for this piece, the composed sound is the male voice asking questions about A Man Alone. This work deals with the Ego. Who are we really? Inside and underneath our ornately constructed selves..? Sproull has asked deep questions and creates movement which manages to go only some way towards an answer. I feel this work has the potential to go deeper and longer.

The Footnote dancers are to be proud of themselves. A new generation of dance athletes showing us the breadth and width of the fantastic dance talent we have here in New Zealand.


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A fitting festival footnote

Review by Tania Kopytko 24th Oct 2017

Footnote New Zealand Dance premiered Contrast at Wairarapa’s Kokomai Creative Festival and the dance company was the festival footnote – the last performance in that great regional festival – last, but not least.

Contrast comprises  two works. It opened with Emma Murray’s Participation, a mesmerising abstract work which quietly lends itself to myriad interpretations as it unfolds and develops. New Zealand born Murray is now based in Bern, Switzerland. The soundtrack is by Swiss composer Till Hillbrecht. I found the works’ twists and turns pleasing, amusing, absorbing. Beginning with a simple repetitive rhythmic foot pattern performed by four dancers (Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Tyler Carney, Joshua Faleatua and Adam Naughton); and moving in unity, the pattern and body movement starts to develop and change. First one dancer deviates from the pattern through a simple change of direction, then another. Gradually we see subtle changes which present tiny “pictures” of interaction. The dancers are not facially interactive or particularly expressive and so the interactions are caused by juxtaposition and layering like a complex game, and we are drawn in and enjoy the changes.

The body movement gradually becomes larger, elbows swing and variations within the 4 change around – 2 and 2, 1 and 3, facing inwards or outwards. As we sink into and absorb the pattern, another dancer enters, the more dramatic Anu Khapung, with a contrasting floor-based movement vocabulary. She joins, confronts, and latches herself on to the different unison-moving dancers, creating a strong impact. Invading their space, trying to belong and fit in, looking for acknowledgment or affection perhaps – the fleeting images are many. This lifts the pace and energy of the work. Participation then develops into a much more varied and broader movement phase – variations, echoes of movement – as people join together in duos, trios, or are solo. This allows more layers of meaning – sharing, loneliness, and disharmony.

The programme notes tell us that Participation “champions and challenges our notions of individuality, observing how ‘being one’ arises out of the composition of many”. Yes, the dance could be about many things – how an individual fits into a community, perhaps by latching on, wheedling their way in, being part of the crowd, being different from others. At times it was reminiscent of a multi-directional pedestrian crossing as people come together as a sort of one, and then disperse again. At other times there was a more psychological tension in being together or apart. Participation is an absorbing and satisfying work.

The second work, Super Ornate Construct, by Auckland-based New Zealand choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull, enters the male world. It is accompanied by a soundscape/voiceover by composer Andrew Foster. Super Ornate Construct explores “the man alone” archetype, universal but also a particular Kiwi symbol. A man (Adam Naughton) stands alone with his thoughts and grapples with questions and his responses, in a more stereotypical sense. The four dancers amplify his anxieties, uncertainties, decisions, ego and anger as a carefully crafted movement chorus, almost in the form of a Greek chorus in an ancient Greek tragedy. They and he have cardboard cutouts of arrows, clouds, a glass of wine. These are intriguingly manipulated to amplify the narrative and place focus on the lone man.

As in John Mulgan’s famous Kiwi classic “Man Alone”, there is an existentialism and starkness about this work. This modern man alone cannot find a satisfactory relationship with his girlfriend or partner (Georgia Beechey-Gradwell) and much of the narrative is the man questioning what he should have done or said following some incident. As the work progresses, we find out there was an argument and he yelled at her – that movement expression cleverly “amplified” by a cutout megaphone. There is no gentle reconciliation of partnership, or respite, for the alone man here. But by contrast, the woman, with the group, clearly has support and solace. She shows softness and empathy and so receives empathy and sympathy from her chorus – her community, family or friends. This is beautifully expressed in a delicate layering of heads one on the other, a signature style of Foster-Sproull’s choreography. And so at the end he is alone, a Super Ornate Construct – and forever locked up and alone by that construct.

Contrast may be such because we have two New Zealand choreographers who come from different sides of the planet, but the works have a similar theme and tone. This is a programme which allows us to reflect on how we live and interact with others. It is intriguing and absorbing. Good luck on your tour Footnote!


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