Double Bill

Elmwood Theatre, 31 Aikmans Road, Merivale, Christchurch

23/09/2012 - 24/09/2012

The Body Festival 2012

Production Details

Double Bill

For the first time, Christchurch’s Rebound Dance Company and well-known Wellington company Crows Feet come together to perform in this years festival with a series of short works by both companies.

Rebound presents new works by Fleur de Thier, Tracy Scott and Andrew Shepherd with a short film by Fleur de Thier and Sean James included in the programme. The company recently performed in Wellington to rave reviews and this will be another entertaining show celebrating the diversity of the company of mature and experienced performers.

Crows Feet Dance Collective, Wellington’s unique dance company for mature performers, presents three very different works.

‘Quintet’ to Faure’s stirring and relentless ‘AllegroMolte’, from his quartet in G Minor is a real endurance test for the dancers.

‘Leaving Home’ is director Jan Bolwell’s tribute to her great, great grandmother who left Scotland for the Antipodes in 1843. The music is by New Zealand composer, David Downes.

The third work is excerpts from their latest show ‘Sea of Love: Songs of the 60s and 70s’, where the dancers cavort to the music of their youth.

Company             Crows Feet and Rebound

Venue  Elmwood Theatre, 31 Aikmans Road, Merivale

Date/Time          Sun 23rd and Mon 24th September at 7.00pm

Duration              90 minutes approx

Cost       $25 and $20 concessions from Dash Tickets or phone 0800 327 484 booking fees apply

90 mins

Contrasting repertoires create an enjoyable evening

Review by Kate Sullivan 24th Sep 2012

Double Bill brings together two New Zealand dance companies from different parts of New Zealand, in a two act show that exhibits a diverse range of pieces from both companies. Rebound from Christchurch and Crows Feet from Wellington are unique in the sense that they are both comprised of dancers aged 35 years and over, (Rebound is 40 years and over). Whether they are ex- professional dancers, have been dancing for years, or have only just discovered the art of dance, all of them are brought together in their passion for moving and performing. This passion is clearly evident in their performances, with both companies strongly displaying a commanding stage presence and emotive expressions.

Aptly clad in heels and swish looking blacks, Rebound starts the evening off with ‘Bob Who?’, a successful -and I imagine, not easy-attempt  by choreographer Andrew Shepard to create ‘original jazz pieces’ in the revolutionary style of American choreographer Bob Fosse. Shepard must be a man who knows his Fosse, as there are many elements of Fosse that resonate throughout the piece. In true Fosse-style, awkward yet striking, asymmetrical shapes and body isolations are recurring motifs in the choreography, yet Shepard still holds his own as a choreographer, including his own choreographic style to the piece.

First up for Crows Feet is ‘Leaving Home’, choreographed by company director Jan Bolwell, who part way through the show, comes out on crutches to explain to the audience her absence from the performance. ‘Leaving Home’ is a powerful narrative of the journey Bolwell’s great, great, great grandmother took from Scotland to Australia, then on to New Zealand in 1843. The period costumes are crafted into the piece as a performance technology to enhance the telling of the story. The dancers remove layers at intervals until they are right down to their bloomers and camisoles, as if they are disregarding the confinements of past lives. The expressive movements of the dancers help to communicate the harrowing experience Bolwell’s relative must have suffered on her journey to a new land.

Copious lengths of fabric billow hypnotically behind Rebound dancers in ‘Castles Made Of Sand’, another of Andrew Shepard’s choreographies, this time paying homage to modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey. This costume becomes a prop as the dancers manipulate the fabric to add new dimensions to the movement. The dancers twist and wrap themselves in the fabric, let it fly behind them, then toss it over their heads to encase their bodies.

A delightful rendition of Mack the knife by Robbie Williams has some of the audience members humming along next to me during ‘Bob When’ a choreography by Rebound director Fleur de Thier. Most compelling in this dance is the frequent lifting, which is performed seamlessly by the dancers; the moments when the females lift the males are surprising and add interest to the piece.

‘Quintet,’ a second choreography by Jan Bolwell, has an extensive repertoire of flighty, fluttery and running movements that see the dancers curving in and out of each other and around the space. The endurance of dancers Meg Bailey, Elizabeth Isaacs, Tania Kopytko, Sue Leask, Jo Thorpe and Jenny Cossey is phenomenal as they are able to maintain their light energy while consistently moving throughout the long piece.

Pulse showcases the agility of Rebound dancers Serena Gallagher, Linda O’Brien, Jo Symon and Anita Vaughan, who perform high energy jumps and lifts with the edge of 80s aerobics instructors in bright fluoro costumes.

‘The Hucklebuck’, choreographed by Sue Leask, is a light comic moment with members of Crows Feet doing jive-like 50s style movement to toe tapping 50s beats. This is certainly the most uplifting piece of the evening and is a part of ‘Sea of Love’, a series of dances accompanied by 50s music. It is interesting to see Crows Feet being diverse in their choreographic repertoire.

‘Blossom’ couldn’t have been a more fitting way to conclude the show. A ‘live dance and film fusion’, ‘Blossom’ is strikingly beautiful and strangely fascinating. New dimensions are created as the dancers enter the performance space and move as their ‘film selves’ moving behind them. Both women and men dancers look stunning in their formal wear and create strong images to complement the projected movement. The film really showcases Fleur de Thier’s skill as a choreographer, providing movement that is dynamic and creating a refreshing new aesthetic. I also applaud the film maker, Sean James, whose technical capabilities adds layers and a variety of dimensions to the film.

It is wonderful to see these two companies together in an enjoyable evening of dance. Both companies are very different in their approach to choreography and provide a range of interesting qualities for the audience. I hope the companies will continue to join forces in the future.


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