Footnote Forte 2010

Theatre Royal, 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson

09/10/2010 - 10/10/2010

Museum of City & Sea + The Boatshed + The Museum Hotel, Wellington

11/10/2010 - 18/10/2010

Auckland Museum, Auckland

07/10/2010 - 07/10/2010

Galatos, Auckland

08/10/2010 - 08/10/2010

Production Details

New faces in different spaces: Forte 2010 
What do we know about the environment we find ourselves in? With six brand-new works, six of New Zealand’s most exciting choreographers declare their responses to that question with the 2010 season of Footnote Forte.
Footnote Dance, New Zealand’s premier contemporary dance company, presents a captivating new season of the successful Forte series to showcase the brightest dance talent in Aotearoa.
Featuring works from choreographers Malia Johnston, Kristian Larsen, Maria Dabrowska, Sarah Foster, Lyne Pringle and Sarah Knox, Footnote Forte 2010 will present multiple shows in Auckland, Wellington and Nelson beginning in October this year.
The overarching theme of 2010 Forte is the environment we find ourselves in; whether it be social, natural or political. The curiosities and complexities of relationships between people on a multitude of levels will be explored through the original and captivating dance works.
And to celebrate the notion of environment, Footnote is taking dance out of its traditional environment and into new performance spaces – museums and boatsheds among them. “Forte is about pushing boundaries,” said Footnote director Deirdre Tarrant, “so we’re moving the dance beyond the walls of what people expect a dance performance to be in.
“This year Footnote Dance travelled to dance in China and we were inspired by the cultural differences we encountered. New Zealand notions of space and personal relationships are very different from the way other cultures think about space,” she said.
In Standing Birds, Maria Dabrowska reflects upon the personal relationship of two people, their memories, their sorrows and joys. Whether I Wear You, choreographed by Malia Johnston, plays with the ideas of weathering and wearing, memories and habits.
With Apolymuse Sarah Knox delves into the many muses: Amuse, amusement, amuse bouche, a muse, music. And in Buoy Racer Kristian Larsen presents a series of ‘movement portraits’ of kiwi colloquialisms such as ‘rattle your dags’ and ‘tiki tour’. Rounding out the top-class bill are works from Sarah Foster and Lyne Pringle.
Beginning in Auckland, the
October 7 performance is held at the Auckland Museum at 8.45pm as part of the Museum’s Late season.

On October 8 popular nightclub Galatos hosts Forte at 7.30pm.

In Nelson, Forte is performed at the Theatre Royal on October 9 at 7.30pm and October 10 at 4pm.
In Wellington, performances will be held on Mondays October 11 and 18 at 7.30pm beginning at the Wellington Museum of City and Sea, then The Boatshed and concluding at The Museum Hotel.
Full ticketing details and venue information at  

Full of surprises and fanciful conceits

Review by Jenny Stevenson 12th Oct 2010

Following on from last year’s Forte Solo Season, Footnote Dance Company has once again commissioned a series of short new dance works for the 2010 Forte Series from a number of choreographers, in order to push the parameters of what constitutes the Footnote style of dance.

Not all the resulting works are successful, but in dance it is the process of exploration that provides the impetus for growth and Footnote’s Director, Deirdre Tarrant, has been steadily growing the company and its brand since its inception.

Given a brief to explore ‘environment’ in their choreography, the six choreographers returned with work that is surprisingly apolitical in approach, opting for the most part to explore personal or metaphysical environments rather than the ramifications of society’s apathetic response to environmental issues.

Perhaps the only exception to this is Kristian Larsen’s work Buoy Racer, which produces a raw, yet strangely savvy, plethora of images invoking mayhem on the streets. The imagery is achieved through the energetic performance of signature movement phrases for each of the five dancers being executed either solo within the group, or simultaneously in competition with the others. The music ‘Tax TV’ by Sam Hamilton provides an additional driving sound-force to the work which ends fittingly in a spun-out-of control finish.

Lyne Pringle, who surprisingly is choreographing for the first time for Footnote, has produced a gem in her work Living Arrangements: a duet for Lucy Marinkovich and Robbie Curtis on aspects of love. The two young dancers give life to their characters, enacting with tenderness the territorial positioning of life as a new twosome – each exploring their places within the relationship. A wealth of emotion is conveyed though the glances and knowing smiles exchanged between the couple as they enact their proprietorial rituals to Chris Knox’s music and physically heft each other through the air over and above their designated home turf.

Malia Johnston has produced a strong solo for Sarah Knox in Whether I Wear You, a clever play on words that becomes clear as Robbie Curtis enters the equation and they perform a duet. Knox wears Johnston’s choreography as though it is her second skin with her beautiful control giving clarity to the phrasing, the delineation of the shapes and the featured multiple turns. Johnston’s work sits comfortably on the Footnote dancers as a whole – as evidenced in her earlier work for the company this year, Purlieu, which was later performed in Shanghai. In both instances the music is by Eden Mulholland.

Second Life by Sarah Foster-Sproull also features a solo for Knox, but this gives free-rein to her comic prowess aided and abetted by a dead-pan Marinkovich. Carnival antics with theatrical props make for a light-hearted bit of whimsy that creates an atmosphere of levity to provide a discourse on the environment of the performance space. The work is performed to music by Niko Ne Zna and Sunet Oro.

Maria Dabrowska’s work Standing Birds to music by Gene Alexander opens the evening and is set against the backdrop of a model sailing ship in the Museum of Wellington. The work strips back the movement vocabulary to one of alternating movements of support and rejection, thereby creating a wired atmosphere of underlying tension. Jeremy Poi is controlled and impassive as he dallies with the submissive Anita Hunziker, until she ups the ante and reverses the roles, momentarily gaining control before returning to her initial persona. The chilling interaction between the protagonists is indicative of a repetitious cyclical environment, lacking in resolution and thereby perhaps lacking in hope.

Sarah Knox’s choreography Apolymuse to Rhian Sheehan’s music ‘Standing in Silence’ produces a work that sets out to explore the environment of emotional states and levels of connection. As this is hard to convey through conventional dance, it does not always reach its target. The subject matter traverses the rocky road that Butoh has trod and perhaps needs this level of intensity to realise the personal inner landscape through movement.

Kitted up to cope with the atrocious weather, the audience was also required to explore the environment: in this case the Wellington waterfront. Following a performance at the Museum of Wellington the good citizens of Wellington led by their intrepid Mayor, Kerry Prendergast venture forth at right angles to the wind, to the Star Boating Club where three more performances are given against the background of twinkling harbour lights. Lastly, the harbour sanctuary of the Museum Hotel beckons warmly as the audience, fortified by food and drink, take in the final two works in the cosy atmosphere of the multi-panelled, carpeted room.

Ambulatory theatre of the pied-piper variety makes for an evening full of surprises and a willingness to suspend belief and be held captive to fanciful conceits.
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.


Make a comment

Fresh and stimulating

Review by Dr Linda Ashley 08th Oct 2010

It is late, and high on the hill overlooking Auckland in what is seemingly a still, silent and rather idyllic evening, the museum is buzzing. After having inadvertently wandered into the Kai to Pie exhibition and then emerged from a rather fascinating and very well-attended debate about crime and justice, I finally found a trail via various other exhibitions to the 1886 Gallery where, as with many other somewhat bemused people, we came upon some dance.

Even though this was fast becoming a tad bewildering, apparently it was all part of the fun and a clever ploy to entice the public to take in the museum exhibits, watch some dance and, as it happens, make new friends. But I will return to that later.

So in a reconstructed 1886 street, outside R.H. Dobbs Drapery shop window, a young man and woman (Lucy Marinkovich, Robbie Curtis) spread out a large rug and the contents of what might be their new home to perform Living Arrangements (Lyne Pringle).

An affectionate bond is established in the accomplished and well-rehearsed duet, achieving the choreographer’s intentions in terms of portraying ‘frail, goofy and tender’ relationships. Conventional contact, juggling and contemporary dance vocabulary transpose well, in terms of theme, to its new found site.

Once over, we were informed by Deirdre Tarrant that it was to be danced again so that those of us who had not such a great view could see it again, so I dutifully stayed because it helps to review things when you see them twice. The second time I had a much better view and I particularly enjoyed the endearing unanticipated interventions that are inevitable when dance is set in sites outside of the proscenium. Outstanding moments were the ongoing presence of a security guard, who later featured in other pieces, and an older man (possibly who visits these late night museum events frequently) who wandered across the dance space and looked delightfully shocked, but pleasantly surprised. It all added to the fun. 

By now another couple of reviewers were also racing around and so we joined together to try and keep up with Deirdre. Oh – and by now a very approachable German woman also accompanied me and we struck up quite a relationship during the evening. I’m imagining that such serendipitous moments were happening with other audience members too.

We found the next duet, Standing Birds (Maria Dabrowska) in the Origins Gallery. Surrounded by various ammonites, layers of evolutionary rock formations and skeletons of flying extinct creatures we squeeze in to find a comfy bit of floor. Anita Hunziker and Jeremy Poi perform another well-rehearsed and coherent duet and again, the dancers skilfully fit the dance into a confined space. Was their struggle for power and survival being likened to that of the Darwinian story that surrounded them? If so, then again in terms of theme the duet found a suitable site. 

Unfortunately we lost our way at this point and when we reached Oceans Gallery, Sarah Foster-Spraull’s Second Life was near the end. The part that I saw of Sarah Knox’s performance was captivating. It was quite a relief to find the quartet Apolymuse (Sarah Knox) in the same space.

By now the surroundings themselves were fast becoming a source of great fascination for me and so I imagine that the Museum curators were achieving their goal as I randomly took in the various exhibits. Sometimes the spaces seemed deliberately disconnected or perhaps convenient because of their provision of small square areas of parquet flooring. The dancers again adroitly performed in the confined space and Anita Hunziker handled her projection of deep sadness brilliantly in view of the closeness of the audience – it was quite infectious actually. 

And so the safari continued and the intrepid three went in search of two more pieces in the Grand Foyer where a stage had been erected. Unfortunately we had to sit through half an hour of live music that, even though of highest quality, was not easy on the ear and it was by now quite late. The bloke next to me passed the time by pasting the event onto his Facebook page. So when Malia Johnston’s Whether I Wear You began it was most welcome and in exploring notions of “weathering and wearing, memory, [and] habit” it felt timely. Some clever use of a jacket and memorable images in an involving work.

The finale was left to Kristian Larsen’s Buoy Racer, danced by the whole company and bringing a strong evening-length programme to a close. The disjointed, interrupted, frantic and idiosyncratic vocabulary of this piece provides appropriate contrast to the other dances. There is much to admire in this piece: contrasts in dynamics; bringing out the most of each individual dancer’s own potential; the way it plucks at your viscera so that the surreal becomes real and then funny and then scary, and then, and then, and then…; the compositional devices used seamlessly; the connections between the dancers.

Auckland Museum curators should be congratulated on the inclusion of this promenade dance programme in their ‘Late At the Museum’ seasons. Also they do seem to have lots of possibly underutilised performance spaces and I would be really excited to go and do some site-specific work there myself! And yes the latter is a shameless piece of self-promotion. More to the point, the whole evening was great fun and drew in a large audience who, in their stroll around the museum, otherwise may not choose to go to watch dance. The buzz was fresh and stimulating even though, as we stepped out into the still night air, it was very, very late at the museum.

As Footnote move this programme to Galatos, Nelson Theatre Royal and the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, it is going to be interesting to hear how it shapeshifts to suit the various sites and surrounds.
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. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council