Footnote Dance: Made in NZ 2011

Geo Dome, Christchurch

24/09/2011 - 25/09/2011

Opera House, Wellington

21/09/2011 - 22/09/2011

Christchurch Arts Festival 2011

Production Details

Nature of the Beastby Julia Milsom and Rick Harvie 

 Subsequently Confused by Victoria Columbus 

Living Arrangements by Lyne Pringle  (Christchurch)

Instances (when we are like horses) by Malia Johnston 

body/fight/time by Malia Johnston and Emma Willis  (Wellington)

Violence, romance, collision, and frailty are all themes explored by New Zealand’s longest running professional contemporary dance company. The Season is renowned for presenting new works that are in turn heart-warming and daringly provocative. This year sees iconic dancer Lyne Pringle’s take on Chris Knox’s love songs, celebrated choreographer Malia Johnston expanding the horizon of physical possibilities, new comer Victoria Columbus take an existentialist turn, and Julia Milsom asks her beautiful dancers to behave like beasts!
Lyne Pringle’s Living Arrangements is a heart-warming look at the tender side of life. An icon of the New Zealand dance community, Lyne’s new work is about “how frail, goofy, tender and beautiful relationships can be.” Lucy Marinkovich and Francis Christellar perform a duet set to Chris Knox’s Not Given Lightly and The Outer Skin


Award winning choreographer and Artistic Director of WOW, Malia Johnston contributes two new works to this year’s Made in New ZealandInstances (When We Are Like Horses) performed recently for the City of London Festival, and body/fight/time a full-length work that playfully explores images of collision, impact and conflict. With co-director/dramaturge, Emma Willis and long-time collaborator, musician and composer, Eden Mulholland her work is an engaging look at how our bodies define us. 

Victoria Columbus is an emerging talent, and her debut work with Footnote Subsequently Confused explores ideas of mimicry and exposure. With music by Jody Lloyd and dancers Lucy Marinkovich, Olivia McGregor and Manu Reynaud this piece takes a close-up look at what makes us tick. 

Julia Milsom is one of Christchurch’s most daring choreographers. In her first commission for Footnote she explores the animal side of humanity with Nature of the Beast.  This comic yet subversive work is made in collaboration with Christchurch film-maker Rick Harvie and composer Andrew McMillan, and features dancers Olivia McGregor and Lucy Marinkovich. The work is influenced by Portuguese artist Paula Rego and her feminist work Dog Women.

Made in New Zealand 2011 is part of a performance tour for the REAL Festival and Christchurch Arts Festival.

 Footnote Dance: Emily Adamns. Lucy Marinkovich, Oliviua McGregor, Francis Christeller, Manu Reynaud  are joined by   Rifleman Productions: Paul Young, Marianna Rinaldi, Kilda Northcott,  with Carl Tolentino (courtesy NZ School of Dance)  for body/ fight/ time.

2 hours

Footnote satisfies

Review by Ann Hunt 29th Sep 2011

FOOTNOTE’S latest season of four new works is exciting, innovative, extremely well danced and deserves to be widely seen. 

Company members Francis Christeller and Lucy Marinkovich are joined by newcomers Emily Adams, Olivia McGregor and Manu Reynaud who fit well into the mix. 

The major work of the evening, body/fight/time is from the tireless Malia Johnston. Choreographically and visually satisfying, it also stimulates intellectually. The 50 minute work is a collaboration between Johnston, producer Adrianne Roberts and co-director Emma Willis and has a wonderful score by Eden Mulholland.  John Verryt (set,) Rowan Pierce (AV design,) and Brad Gledhill (lighting design,) make a stunning team. Images are projected onto Verryt’s moveable panels, with the Company dancing in unison or counterpoint in front of them.  Three other dancers supplement the company: Mariana Rinaldi, Carl Tolentino and Paul Young. All work as a brilliant ensemble. 

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A programme of breadth and substance

Review by Paul Young 25th Sep 2011

Footnote is a company in great shape and they are dancing with confidence and fluidity. That is evident in the works made for this programme by Cantabrian choreographers Malia Johnston, Victoria Columbus and Julia Milsom, who contribute three of the four works on offer. Choreographically, Made in New Zealand is a programme of breadth and substance, offering the challenge of the avant-garde alongside the mastery of more established choreographers.
Nature of the beast by Milsom is inspired by Paula Rego’s dog women series of paintings in which women exhibit canine posture and pleasure. Rego’s women are often hefty and brutish. Lucy Marinkovich and Olivia McGregor however, are by contrast slim, athletic, beautiful and refined in elegant party dresses and their unselfconsciously embodied dogginess is a delightful aesthetic anachronism. They do puppy to pig-dog in the blink of an eye, chewing and humping with impressive spinal dexterity, hair flying. A small child in the audience immediately says she wants to go home. Onstage there is arm-chewing happening.
Andrew McMillan’s stunning score for this work begins with the sound of rain and fire and integrates the dancers’ own voices whimpering, growling and barking. It progressively steers the work to darker places from which sparks of comedy occasionally fly. The movement vocabulary is by turns familiarly gestural and abstracted, internally focused and state-based. There are no generic dance moves in this work. The abstraction of form occasionally leads to obfuscation of intention. but even when I don’t entirely get what I’m seeing, it is new and brave and I am fascinated throughout.
The little girl who wanted to go home is now adamant that it is her favourite!
In Victoria Columbus’s Subsequently Confused the dancers stagger onstage one by one looking like they just woke up there and then. They look confused, indeed incredulous even. They collectively begin to find their way out of whatever amnesia is afflicting them and into some very impressive syncopated leg movement. The program tells me they are ‘Leading each other through disoriented clarity”. They move like the parts of a machine with drive and intensity, occasionally breaking down to a standstill. Their faces show confusion and uncertainty. They look as if they are in a cycle of forgetting and recollection. The costume of pants, shirts and vests evokes the high waisted glam of the 80’s with a touch of Harry Potter on mufti day. As watchable as it is, without a little more to go on than the enigmatic program notes, it is hard to pinpoint what the source of the confusion is. The dance ends as it began, the dancers falling out of the space, presumably to take up the cycle elsewhere in the universe. I think if iInitially confused, they seem subsequently quite onto it!
Living Arrangements by Lynne Pringle wields the double-edged sword of a linear narrative structure. This super-cute duet between Francis Christeller and Lucy Marinkovich muses on the highs and lows of a romantic relationship, specifically regarding shared space. I admit I am braced for an onslaught of schmaltz, which never comes (well not too thick anyway). This really is an endearing work, charmingly performed with sensitivity, chemistry, and musicality. It is funny too.
There are darker tones when the sailing is not plain, and there is disharmony between the couple. Some eastern inspired movement motifs suggest a philosophical angle from the choreographer? Using an unfamiliar version of Chris Knox’s iconic song Love not given lightly performed by Boh Runga is a good decision,  adding weight but not baggage.
Returning to the anthropomorphic theme, Malia Johnston’s Instances (when we are like horses) presents dancers as horses, captive, trained and broken. The dancers enter seriously off balance but bound together by a close knit spatial relationship. Unsettled and uncomfortable, they totter and fidget as if they have forgotten what solid ground feels like. The music by Eden Mulholland is fantastic. Rich and textured, it supports the dancers as the shift dynamically between muscular contraction and statuesque balance. A series of soloists emerge, and are subsequently re-absorbed by the group, maintaining a constant pattern of movement. It is a disturbed behaviour pattern.
A dynamic change occurs and the show is on, the beasts are out of the cage. The dancers hold hands in twisting lashing duets appearing to become contorting four legged animals. McGregor, having been fairly cool throughout the program, catches fire at this point and really owns the stage. A sudden musical shift cues a cycle of lifts, which brings the circus to mind. The dancers run and hurl their bodies, executing some really remarkable partnering. This is a high point, the smooth rippling partnering becoming hypnotic and euphoric. But just as I begin exult in the music and movement, it is over and the dancers are reigned in. Off balance and uncertain, they slowly stumble away into the darkness, and I am left a little sad, but satisfied none the less.



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Elastacised loose limbs know no bounds.

Review by Greer Robertson 22nd Sep 2011

Renowned for their unrelenting quest and unstoppable zest for contemporary dance, fresh from their whirlwind international tour, Footnote Dance command a presence in their new Wellington season. As New Zealand’s longest running professional contemporary dance company, in front of an enthusiastic devotee crowd, the dancers give their all.
Four new collaborative works hit the stage.
Two new emerging choreographers are given the opportunity to feel, make and spread their wings. This is a process that I relish in its formative stage of development as I find it very interesting to see what they will present. What content, what design, what shape, what emotion, what message? I am forever hopeful that out of all the topics and emotions known to humankind, a lighter choice of the less dark will be explored.
The programme opens with Nature Of The Beast with choreography by Julia Milsom and design by Rick Harvie. Inspired by a poem, two dancers, Lucy Marinovich and Olivia McGregor bring to life an interpretation “that everyone is somebody’s dog. Everyone is somebody’s master. The dancers are your dogs. Whose dog are you?” Innovatively portrayed complete with twitching, whimpering and angst to the max, the frocked female hounds display acute senses including their demonstrative lunar reaction. Raw energy and physicality to the extreme, this piece had me thinking of its clever nature. Difficult to sustain such a large space with only two dancers, lighting and special smoke effects brought down the size of the stage somewhat, allowing a more intimate viewing.
This time in Subsequently Confused with choreography by Victoria Colombus, the performers are joined by male dancer Manu Reynaud, donning waistcoats and trousers, enhancing the more masculine but all wearing a unisex bun hairstyle as “they lead each other through disorientated clarity.” With 2 girls and 1 guy, I remain unclear as to its direction, but maybe I was meant to, maybe that was what it was all about? Maybe that was the message? Interesting partner shapes were explored.
Definitely not new to the choreographic forum, award winning Malia Johnston pushes physical boundaries with the full company in Instances [When We are Like Horses.] Emily Adams and Francis Christeller add to the flavour of expertise as they join the others in a refreshing at times unison work displayed on a white stage for all to see. Their elasticised loose limbs know no bounds. “Balancing on the edge of living? Learning to stand before we can walk and then fly?”
body/fight/time also by Malia Johnston and co-directed by Emma Willis is a new dance project by Rifleman Productions in collaboration with Footnote Dance. This has a much bigger budget feel to it . Explicit choreography, dramaturgy, video and music “playfully explore how our bodies define us as the limitations of perspective and the effects of time.”
Visually striking with bold colours used frequently, quirky use of language is displayed through cue cards and we all get the message. Emotions are noted. As a testimony to time, award winning guest dancers Kilda Northcott and Paul Young bring an experienced tone from a different era as internal struggles and denial are confronted. Add Carl Tolentino, a young student from the New Zealand School of Dance and there is a three stage age representation, seldom seen at this intense physicality of contemporary dance.
On the completion of the performance, Footnote Dance Director Deidre Tarrant genuinely shows her appreciation for the closely knit contemporary family by way of a floral tribute. Footnote Dance is still alive in more ways than one!


For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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