Footnote Dance: 2008 Made in New Zealand

Opera House, Wellington

29/04/2008 - 29/04/2008

Production Details

Made in New Zealand  is a repertoire contemporary dance event that features work choreographed by New Zealanders, with music composed by New Zealanders and costumes designed by New Zealand. 

With each work, the composers and choreographers have toiled back and forth with each other to create the finished product, quite a difference from a choreographer simply choosing a piece of music and setting their work to it.

The musicians have never been closer to the development of a contemporary dance and in 2008 Made in New Zealand has incorporated top local fashion talent to provide a heightened design aesthetic to this unique visual and aural dance extravaganza.

Each work has something specific and individual to say as each choreographer has their own individual voice and speaks through their choreography with a purpose to challenge, excite and inspire the audience.

CHOREOGRAPHER Merenia Gray Ngai Tahu, Rangitaane, Waikato (whangai)
MUSIC Craig Sengelow
COSTUMES Jeanine Clarkin
DANCERS Anita, Hannah, Sarah, Erynne, Jesse and Jeremy
PREMIERE: original October 2003, Wellington, reworked April 2008, Dunedin

Te Mana is a contemporary Māori dance work that celebrates the strength, nurturing and dignity of women. The reworking of Te Mana showcases the contrasts between the binary forms of male and female energies, while specifically focusing on the feminine side of mau raakau – an ancient Māori martial art form. (Mau being the move, raakau the weapon). 


MUSIC Francesca Mountfort/Chairwaterair and Lullaby/Nervous doll Dancing
DANCERS Erynne, Hannah, Anita and Sarah
PREMIERE   April 11th 2008            Allen Hall, Dunedin

Kakushi Aji translates as ‘A secret ingredient’. Aspects of Japanese culture that are subtle and indescribable but distinctly Japanese. A colour combination or the smell of new tatami mats could be described as Kakushi Aji, "a spiritual and physical experience touching all senses".
A standard, winter, everyday, casual style Kimono has around 15 parts including the actual outer Kimono and undergarments. A number of cords and clips hold the Obi (sash) together. A Kimono is like a story worn on the outside of a person’s body. It gives information about gender, age, marital status, season, formality, occasion, wealth and personal taste.


MUSIC The Fountainhead / Andy Foster
DANCERS Hannah, Erynne, Anita, Sarah, Jesse and Jeremy
COSTUMES Sheila Horton
PREMIERE April 11th 2008, Allen Hall, Dunedin

I like to hit people in a soft way, and when I hit them it reminds me that I exist.  How weird.  I exist because when I hit them I am noticed.  I have performed a soft action of violence.


CHOREOGRAPHY Deirdre Tarrant and Dancers
MUSIC Stephen Gallagher
DANCERS Erynne, Anita, Hannah, Sarah, Jesse, Jeremy
DESIGN CONCEPT Deirdre Tarrant &  Sheila Horton
DESIGNERS Voon, Mandatory, Boombox, Swazi
PREMIERE (April 11th 2008)           Allen Hall, Dunedin 

A look at the way our choice of clothes changes perception, with a special focus on Wellington designers who themselves define cosmopolitan urban chic. 


MUSIC Brendan Elks
COSTUMES Sheila Horton
DANCERS Erynne, Anita, Jesse and Jeremy
PREMIERE April 29 Wellington

The eye convinces the heart, the heart convicts the ear. 

We are a body. We are vessels. But what are we carrying?  Vessel is an exploration of the internal functions of the body, and how we use this finely tuned system to relate, act, question, argue and resolve. 


MUSIC Eden Mulholland
COSTUMES Malia Johnston
DANCERS Anita, Hannah, Sarah, Erynne, Jesse and Jeremy
PREMIERE April 2008 Dunedin

The worked developed from an embrace 
Eden Mulholland composed the score for The False Waltz which is cyclic and loop based. Crescendos arise from repetition rather than layering, in order to achieve a mesmerizing dynamic and so the rolling/repetitive motif of the choreography could be supported.

Footnote is miraculous

Review by Lyne Pringle 01st May 2008

Launching in time for New Zealand music month, this programme celebrates homegrown music and dance. Dancing their hearts out in a nearly 2 hour programme this company of strong, lithe and generous performers are stunning! Sarah Knox, Jesse Wikiriwhi, Erynne Gleeson, Jeremy Poi Anita Hunziker and Hannah Elks step out, as director Deirdre Tarrant says, to "realize our passions and challenge our existence in dance."  Throughout the programme their focus and commitment never falters as they gallop from dance to dance.

Merenia Gray has recreated Te Mana and clothed the dancers in vibrant and interesting costumes by Jeanine Clarkin. Whilst there is precision and style in this work that "celebrates the strength, nurturing and dignity of woman," this is familiar ground in terms of a fusion between traditional Māori vocabulary, modern dance and classical line. At times the music by Craig Seneglow- overly loud throughout the programme – overpowered the visuals. Aside from Jeremy Poi, who emerges magnificently to challenge the audience, the movement lacks weight and rigorous investigation, as if the dancers skirt around the edge of something looking gorgeous with their mau raakau.

Malia Johnston’s The False Waltz takes one idea – that of an embrace – and sticks with it to delve into some new choreographic ideas that really lift off in the final sections where dancers move, whilst hugging, with legs flying at odd angles resembling strange four legged creatures in strident shafts of light designed by Rob Larsen. Brilliant!

The first section where dancers hug then leave each other gradually accelerates to end abruptly. Here again the movement could do with more weight to contrast the difference between support and abandonment or departure. The poignancy of the human condition appears and Beckett’s words echo, "All romance will end in tragedy." Johnson and composer Eden Mulholland are old hands at collaboration now and there were some interesting resonances in the soundtrack but it was at times ragged and could do with consolidation and development. I look forward to seeing these sketches revisited and refined.

Kakushi Aji (secret ingredient) is a tender delicate gem in this evening of fine dance. Sarah Knox in her choreographic debut has managed to conjure her experience of Japanese culture in a rich tapestry of intricate and unique movement although ideas for moving in and out of the floor could be developed.  Francesca Mountfort’s music suits it perfectly and the four females from the company imbue the choreography with a willowy attention and taut unison.

Soft kimono type costumes drape their bodies gorgeously as they enact the rituals of Nihon Buyo particularly the act of dressing in traditional style. There is a particularly beautiful solo by Knox with traditional fan and a clever use of a traditional bow in a section that evokes the veneer of ‘the public face’.

In a playful and joyous tribute to Wellington fashion designers Deirdre Tarrant creates, along with the dancers, That Feel Good Factor to offer a look at urban chic in a grab bag of movement styles as we move through quirky flapper to aloof model to genial b – boys all to really great and interesting music from Steven Gallagher. This is a crowd pleaser that finishes with a great blending of sound and image.

Vessel is a strong choreographic debut from Hannah Elks and it has some sophisticated and original movement sequences as she explores the idea of the body as a physiological and social vessel – nice idea. The soundscape by Brendan Elks uses the beat of the heart as inspiration and he produces some wonderful sound which just manages to dance on the edge of annoying. Wobbly brass playing and static provide some great aural treats; a great musical playground for the choreographer. There are some snappy unison phrases but overall the work could do with trimming and a variation in the rhythms of the movement.

The last work on a very full programme of choreographed movement is Whippersnapper by Sarah Foster. Her investigation into ‘soft acts of violence’ is mostly good natured and comic with a tinge of dark undertone.

A strong beginning sees the dancers searching for the light as they slap each other like a bunch of unruly hoodlums cavorting to a dynamically varied score by The Fountainhead. There is jilted movement, complicated and precise gestures and manipulations as they chop and swerve like beautiful thugs, through some very contrasting partnering that looks like a dolphin diving.

A stunning duet from Erynne Gleeson and Sarah Knox leads to a textured and crazy slap dance. The men lift the women – ho hum – and after great changes of pace the dancers exit slowly on all fours, exotic creatures leaving one human alone slapping herself. Good stuff. Again I would like to see these ideas chewed over and developed further. 

Footnote is miraculous. Deirdre Tarrant and her crew, choreographers and composers included, achieve great things on a minimal budget and with major time restraints.

Viva New Zealand Made!!!! 


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