Dance Danced Dancing 2021
05/08/2021 - 06/08/2021
10/08/2021 - 11/08/2021
29/07/2021 - 30/07/2021
16/08/2021 - 17/08/2021
Hannah Playhouse, Wellington/Pōneke – 29th & 30th July
Toitū Settlers Museum, Dunedin/Ōtepoti – 5th & 6th August
The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, Christchurch/Ōtautahi – 10th & 11th August
Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre, Hawke’s Bay/Te Matau a Māui – 16th & 17th August
From the creative team behind the NZ Fringe multiple award-nominated, crowd-favourite show, New Dance Group, comes a unique show designed to pull the curtains back on the delightful oddities of creating live dance. This is a dance show about dancing.
DANCE DANCED DANCING (2021), presented by Footnote New Zealand Dance and choreographed by Josie Archer & Kosta Bogoievski, takes the essence of their 2020 ChoreoCo work New Dance Groupand blows it up. Brimming with punk-like energy and beautiful urgency, DANCE DANCED DANCING (2021) takes great pleasure and care with the improvisational possibilities of one single performance. As each very different venue nationwide will be incorporated into the world of DANCE DANCED DANCING (2021), the five Footnote company members will embrace and commit to their tightly constructed performance scores* as they take to the stage alongside a sixth performer, the playful and unexpected lighting design by Tony Black.
“A provocative, energetic delight.” Claire O’Loughlin, Pantograph Punch
“Delicious and funny” Amit Noy, Theatreview
Please note: This show may contain traces of nudity and/or coarse language. There will be occasional strobe lighting.
*Performance score: A series of instructions for the performer.
Choreographers: Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski
Footnote Company Dancers: Nadiyah Akbar, Oliver Carruthers, Sebastian Geilings, Veronica ChengEn Lyu, Cheyanne Teka
Lighting Design and Operation: Tony Black
Experimental dance , Dance , Contemporary dance ,
It is a suspensive sculptural experience.
Review by Megan Seawright 23rd Aug 2021
Long standing contemporary dance company Footnote New Zealand Dance visited Hawke Bay for two performances. It’s great to see dance company’s touring here as they are meet by appreciative audiences. Choreographers Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski’s most recent work Dance Danced Dancing (2021) offers a resilient exploration of what dance is through scaffolding choreographic structures and improvisation. This is a refreshing work responsive to experimentation.
Staging is floor level, and the audience is separated by lighting. There is no accompanying sound, and the start is left as a guess between arriving in and watching. Pure movement takes shape through the warm gestures of everyday – dancers play with a lamp, a hula hoop, a basketball, and a couple roll across the floor in a long sleepy hug. Gradually this casualness blends into contact improvisation that curls back into collective forms, five second freezes and intimate overlays. Dancers lean in and exhale ease with osmotic stretching. This positioning and folding finds a balance, and between dancers Nadiyah, Akbar, Oliver Carruthers, Sebastian Geilings and Cheyanne Teka separation begins. They release from each other into singular spacings, through a lush shaping of soft, at times swift movement. It is disconcertingly lulling, immediate and quiet.
Throughout this meander, the dancers frequently align directly into a common body language while sinking further into their bones and muscles to decide their next motion; the ballet tip toes, the press up swimmer, claps and clicks and pirouette. Pauses act like a meditation to the next placement of energy and Cheyanne Teka slows her movement with tucks and gathers until achieving a still point. It is a suspensive sculptural experience. There is an intentional lax of boundaries offered to the viewer and performer. Often the ‘dancer’ falls aside, and the person remains – Sebastian Geilings diving into a quick rest on the mats in front, Oliver Carruthers’ recovering air on the floor and Nadiyah Akbar’s delightful laughter when they’re taking a water break.
Significant elements enter the work – verbal clues that guide the audience to know how theme and marking is determined and eventually a score is read out through a fun lampshade mic. When music arrives, it is loud and frantic with an influential presence. The improvisational response is sharp, moody, and stereotypical with eyes rolling, heads flicks and fuck you finger gestures alongside thumbs up and a kiss blown again and again. Innovative explorations happen throughout, with a visible and constant effort to shift the boundaries of what could be next. Free forming of movement as an instant response seeps into your cells building momentum and a wish for more. The accompanying musical tracks break reliance on any actual audience response. Often live recordings, the mass cheering is louder than the audience could make and ensures the theme of public crowd like spaces are made real. It’s an irony for viewers. And when lighting designer/tech operator Tony Black steps onto the floor as a dancer we are delighted that he is getting in there.
These gregarious sequences are matched with honest and vulnerable moments where the private self becomes public. The audience is exposed as the gaze. A golden lit floor beholds each dancer in naked solitude and with this hush settlement a gradual gathering of flow moves across the stage in delicate finger touching, contact curves and small crossings. And then looking is taken away and the view is turned within. Dance to a blind audience. The audience is asked to close their eyes as a narrator describes movement. The speaker reminds us not to peek as some people do. By this time our senses are alive as we inwardly piece step by step together.
Now the lights are up, and our eyes are open both to the process and the experience. It’s a wonderful reveal. And Tony Black has made his mixing desk portable. Dancers are limbering into the music with peaks and gravities, stops and balances. Physical elation tires back into the everyday, paper planes fly though the air, someone does a headstand, the basketball is bounced. Dance is often about fun and the rolling of time into freely moving places inside and out. It’s a joyful feeling to let sound slope movement, to release from convention and lift off into your own expressions. It is this collaborative trust between choreographers and dancers that makes this work a celebration of dance unbounded – to dance, be danced and to be dancing.
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Stripping back of the so-called real and metaphoric smoke and mirrors.
Review by Julia Harvie 17th Aug 2021
Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski live for dance. This perhaps would be an assumption one would make about anyone who makes the huge life decision to make a career in the dance industry. But, what I think makes Archer and Bogoievski’s particular passion distinct is that their work directly engages with choreographic ontology, that is, they ask what is choreography, and what does it do? There is an obsessive quality to their fascination and as the title would suggest, DANCE DANCED DANCING 2021 explores, and divulges the dance making process and what it means to be dancing. This is not about recreating the rehearsal studio but rather reveals slowly the choreographic constructs at play. It is like an X-Ray, or a stripping back of the so-called real and metaphoric smoke and mirrors and yet as such is still highly crafted and considered, leaving us questioning what is real and what is fiction.
Perhaps ironically, I found myself wanting to know how they made the work, even though it is about revealing process in realtime. Yes the work is improvised but it is underpinned by a choreographic score – so while the movement is improvised in realtime, the directions they are working with have been devised, refined, revised and rehearsed. The dancers know the structure and framework and within this framework, there is ample room to play but I would also love to know what got left on the cutting room floor. In some ways then, while we feel like we are being let in, there is also a sense that we’re only getting a glimmer through the door, watching the glow of the room from the darkness of the hallway.
For the Ōtauatahi presentation of the work (their hometown crowd), the audience is gathered intimately seated on cushions on the ground and chairs in The Gym, Te Matatiki Toi Ora (The Arts Centre). The Gym is not a theatre space, it was once the Boys High Gym and still looks and feels this way. It is only minimally modified to accommodate this performance which is apt given the work is aiming to reveal rather than conceal process. As we arrive, the dancers are already in the space, warming up and playing with hula hoops and balls. The audience remains under a warm glow of light as the show begins and the wall behind, that reveals layers of painted histories, is made a focal point for much of the show. We are so close to the performers, we see their breath, sweat, indeed we can almost smell them – in a good but not weird way. The stage lighting is sparse and minimal, there are no wings, tabs or curtains, the only set is a myriad of different lampshades in varying degrees of deconstruction – bulbs, or shades without stands on the floor and suspended from windows. One also has a microphone installed and is used for vocal amplification at times throughout the show. The work begins proper with a series of tableaux, we are later to learn the dancers are creating tableaux with ‘just enough of the right kind of movement’. Two people arrive late and momentarily feel a part of the show – also using just enough movement to take their seats and not disturb the still-is images on stage.
Only a small amount of material is actually ‘set’. In the main we are watching dancers with agency to improvise their material, so we are watching dancers at work, in a labour and virtuosity of a different kind. With agency comes responsibility, they cannot simply go through the choreographic motions, there is a responsibility to fulfil the choreographic score and make consistently ‘good’ decisions in movement and compositional terms. This work also asks the audience to work a little harder as well. This is not pure entertainment, while the dancers are most definitely virtuosic, DANCE DANCED DANCING 2021 is also asking us about what we expect of dancing, and challenging us to be open to it to doing more and less than we expect or are used to. At times, the dancers take water breaks on the side of stage, apply strapping to a wound, or strip off a layer of clothing.
There is A LOT of dancing in this work and when near the middle, the movement starts to trail off to only the most subtle and slow paced movement, I need this moment to inhale and take a beat. One man in the audience suspects it is the end and breaks into a clap, only to trail off just as the movement is. Again, we are confronted with ourselves and our own expectations and subjectivity. Then I think: “please sing” and they don’t but there is song, a choral round repeated and I think “thanks”. I feel in a conversation with the performers and choreographers in my head.
There are many reveals in the show, Nadiyah Akbar even reads the score to us about two thirds through the show, we hear the names of the set movements which are called out by Tony Black the lighting designer. He quickly becomes the star of the show, joining the ensemble as a dancer. This feels like a joke but it is actually fantastic. It is so refreshing to see an untrained body interpreting the movement, totally owning his vulnerability and is yet another way the audience is confronted with ourselves – how would we feel up there in his position? Could we do that? We are asked to close our eyes and listen to a dancer describe the dancing happening in the space and when we open our eyes, we are confronted with the full cast including Black unrobed. And again we are gently confronted. The show finishes with Black playing his lighting desk strapped to his front like a guitar (clothes returned to the body) and the final scene plays out to John Mayer’s ‘Gravity’ pre-recorded and live, the dancers in a state of play rather than work. The ending does not feel like a total resolution for the audience but I can see for the performers, it is almost a relief. We see internalising their performance rather than externalising it and fully letting us in. They aren’t giving everything away…
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How do you capture in words the dance that has been danced?
Review by Dr Ian Lochhead 11th Aug 2021
Dance, Danced, Dancing (2021), as its name suggests, is a revival of a work that received the best Dance Award at the Auckland Fringe Festival in 2018. Following performances in Wellington and Dunedin it moves on to Napier following its Christchurch shows. This is a show about the making of dance and also about the way in which different spaces influence the performances that occur within them. The old gymnasium at Christchurch’s Arts Centre, formerly a cinema, has now become a flexible performance space after its restoration following the Christchurch earthquakes and it made an ideal venue for Footnote New Zealand Dance’s performance.
The show begins with the dancers warming up as the audience arrives; they stretch, toss a ball back and forth across the space and toy with a hula-hoop. Once the audience is settled the show begins. Initially a series of tableaux are staged, as if the dancers are tentatively exploring the possibilities of a static opening motif, but having tried multiple permutations they begin to explore the full extent the dance floor. The first half of the hour-long performance occurs without music or other aural accompaniment; footfalls and the sound of the dancers’ breathing becomes the background to the movement, rising and falling with the ebb and flow of the dance. Questioning where dance begins and ends, the five dancers gradually come to a standstill; are they moving or not? Can you still be dancing if you are standing still? Their poses are held so long an audience member next to me starts to clap nervously but the dancers continue to hold their poses. Is this a contest as to who will react first, audience or performers? The spell is broken and Nadiyah Akbar steps forward with the lampshade/megphone that hides a microphone and reads out the scenario of the performance, listing the stages that have already passed and those yet to come.
The silence that we had become accustomed to is broken by the pounding sounds of Liturgy’s True Will and the pace becomes frenetic. From time to time one or other of the five dancers leaves the floor to drink from their water bottle; are we watching a rehearsal or an improvisation or is this part of the show? They are also joined by lighting designer and sound desk operator, Tony Black, who, at different points, leaves his controls to participate in the dance. As the performers shed their clothes the show takes on the character of an art school life drawing class, the performers movements creating a sequence of poses that evoke the expressive bodies of academic tradition that the painter Paul Cezanne explored in his Bathers series over a century ago. Dancer Oliver Carruthers then asks us to close our eyes while he describes the performance of Veronica ChengEn Lyu. (I only know who was dancing because, like others, I sneaked a look). We are thus reminded just how inadequate words are to describe a body in motion as all too often the description fails to keep up and the dancer ‘has moved on’. For dance writers this is an all-too-familiar experience; how do you capture in words the dance that has been danced, let alone the one that is still dancing?
Dance, Danced, Dancing is an inventive and entertaining work and its improvisatory quality leaves considerable scope for the performers to respond in the moment. It held the capacity audience in thrall throughout its duration, which lasted somewhat longer than the stated 60 minutes, although no one present seemed to mind a bit.
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Something extraordinary! The applause continues for a considerable time.
Review by Angela Trolove 06th Aug 2021
Dance Danced Dancing hopes to entangle our minds, bodies, and spirits. Does it? Yes! Does it ever!
An unassuming evening in Otepoti, tonight’s audience arrives from the rain and dark into the brightly lit hall of Toitū. We are a long audience, two rows deep, and the dancers are already playing around on their extensive linoleum. Like an eighties band they wear cargo pants, oversized tee-shirts, and sneakers. Intriguingly, the dance proper begins with no music. We are treated to extraordinary grace, flexibility, and control, as well as comic jarring, wobbling, and run down movements; the dancers are like mis-programmed toys. In the audio void we enjoy the scuffs and squeaks of their sneakers, resembling racket sports. At this stage I don’t know what they’re doing but I don’t want them to stop.
At first the audience has the embarrassment of choice – where to look? Five captivating, singular dancers. Then, the dancers come together, melting into a series of friezes. They slump on each other. In their homogeneity, they become sleeping islands. These compositions are gratifying. Interlocked, with rich three-dimensionality, they mound themselves, elongate, and compress, unified like one organism. No one is the odd man out.
Presently, breaking the silence, the dancers count together. They repeat the numbers, guiding their synchronised movements, as in a rehearsal. But they are deliciously poor at it. Whether they are improvising together, or whether it’s rehearsed, I’m not sure. They are like drunk students, and their altered state is at home on this seemingly anything-goes stage.
Punk tribute gestures: Nadiyah Akbar and Veronica ChengEn Lyu pull the fingers, to the beat. Cheyanne Teka makes a violent cat-cow. Sebastien Geilings faux claps, Oliver Carruthers jumps and shimmers, but desperately, like a caught fish. They’re magnificent.
Soon though, we discover the dancers have actually been progressing through their score – a series of instructions, unusual ones. These instructions – brilliantly and cleverly crafted by choreographers Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski – include ingenious prompts such as, think of a movement and then do the opposite. At once the formless has form. The audience has a first grasp on the evening’s unfolding. This score is read to us, of course, through a microphone-containing, lit lampshade.
Dance Danced Dancing has originality and experiment at its heart, and these opportunities are in the hands of awesomely prepared and gifted pioneers. The six dancers, (Lighting Technician Tony Black joins the core), are performing counter-intuitive and liberated movements. I can’t speak highly enough.
Then begins a lyrical, undressed passage. The dancers are only slowly lifted into movement, at first swaying like trees, or with an internal coming to. Harmony.
Now, the audience is asked to close its eyes. Doing so, we create a jewellery box of security, while the dancer/s create the jewels. They dance like no one is watching. No one is watching. One dancer commentates, and his commentary gives us a priceless insight into how dancers see one another. “The performer is presenting the heel of the hand, clearing cloud, as though they were clearing cloud. Puts a hand on the hip with sass. If a hand can be put on the hip with sass, that is how the performer is doing it. I can see someone has their eyes open, please close your eyes. Now the performer is spinning on their bum, with their legs out.” This rich experience leaves me insatiable for further such interpretations, further glimpses into how others perceive dance.
Footnote’s concluding dance is called Gravity. It is a joyous and exuberant finale. Tony Black riffs on the lighting board, like an electric guitar, so the stage is a riot of light. Paper planes soar in from the wings. Akbar sends a roll of butcher’s paper across the stage, and ends up rolled up in it, while ChengEn Lyu whirls a length of it like an Olympic gymnast. Geilings introduces a ball. This is a playground. These are dances of honour.
Footnote New Zealand Dance with Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski have created something extraordinary.
The applause continues for a considerable time.
Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski
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It is possible to dance about dance.
Review by Wade Walker-Berben 31st Jul 2021
Footnote New Zealand Dance premier this re-developed work to their home crowd in Poneke/Wellington, they are joined by an attentive and responsive audience at the Hannah Playhouse Theatre. Choreographed by Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski, Footnote brings back this superb show after a successful season with performers from their ChoreoCo in 2020. Performing in the show are current company members; Nadiyah Akbar, Oliver Carruthers, Sebastian Gielings, Veronica ChengEn Lyu and Cheyanne Teka who are accompanied on stage by lighting designer Tony Black.
The dancers are already on stage and moving as the audience enters. The stage is stripped back, the wings are gone and bare concrete frames the stage on all sides giving a modern and authentic feel. Through-out the show the dancers move through a number of movement score tasks, with majority of it being improvised. The dancers take water breaks as they need. After the first one of these water breaks the show seems to officially begin, the house lights remain on as the dancers move through a range of tableaus. Veronica ChengEn Lyu moves with an honesty and sensitivity that is essential to the group at this moment. The improvisational nature of the work makes it fantastic to watch and creates unexpected moments of spontaneity and humour which simply could not be achieved through set movement.
Sebastian Gielings performs with commitment and an unparalleled gracefulness and clarity. In contrast Cheyanne Teka dances with a certain attack that commands the audience’s attention. The dancing feels freeing as we see well known movements such as star jumps being tampered with, the rules of more traditional dance approaches do not exist here. Right from the get go I feel as though the dancers are not performing to please me or the rest of the audience. Rather, they are doing it for themselves, which is rare and feels special to be allowed to watch in on the action. It isn’t until the group come together and see the audience that I feel like they are noticing we are there watching them.
At this point things still feel a little confusing to me as an audience member, it’s as though there’s a secret we aren’t in on yet. All this is explained when Nadiyah Akbar picks up a microphone disguised as a lamp and reads the score of the show to the audience section by section. She invites the audience in with a friendly and thoughtful presence which is mesmerising to watch throughout the show. The piece feels at all times honest and exposing, and as the performers slow dance while completely naked this is definitely still the case. Tony Black joins the company here, he is confident and unapologetic in his movement.
To conclude we are treated to a frenzy of movement. Performers are wrapped in paper, balls are bounced and paper planes are thrown. Oliver Carruthers really looks to be in his element here, I feel his energy from where I am in the audience. Gestures such as blowing a kiss are adapted and performed with an irony and seriousness that couldn’t not bring a smile to my face.
More than anything this performance felt free. I left feeling like I know each of the dancers better as people. As a dancer I think I was able to appreciate this work even more, I can only imagine how rewarding and enjoyable it would be to move differently every show and make new discoveries throughout a performance season. Dance Danced Dancing showed me that it is possible to dance about dance.
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