Footnote Forte Solo Series 09

Circa Two | Museum Hotel | Hooch Bar, Wellington

07/10/2009 - 09/10/2009

from City Art Rooms to Cassette9 on Vulcan Lane, Auckland

12/10/2009 - 13/10/2009

Begins at Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga

29/10/2009 - 29/10/2009

Tempo Dance Festival 2009

Production Details

Footnote Forte 2009: Six of the best

Six remarkable Kiwi identities, six top homegrown choreographers and six of the best dancers this country can offer. Together, they create six riveting new dance works as Footnote Dance premieres its new 2009 Forte Season.

Striking out in a new direction for Footnote Forte, this season presents for the first time, the Solo Series, an adventurous multi-venue journey through dance performance that begins in a theatre, journeys to a hotel and ends in a bar.

Featuring as part of Wellington’s Dance Your Socks Off festival, Footnote Forte Solo Series will initiate at Circa Theatre, with solos following at Museum Hotel and Hooch bar. There will be only three performances of this unique event, October 7, 8 and 9.

Footnote Dance director Deirdre Tarrant has progressed Forte’s tradition of showcasing new work from one remarkable New Zealand choreographer to devise a new format where six top New Zealand choreographers will make new works to be performed by a solo dancer. And in keeping with Footnote’s mission to be at the forefront of Kiwi culture, each solo work is inspired by a remarkable New Zealander, chosen by the choreographer.

Footnote Forte Solo Series will feature the following:

Firecracker‘ choreographed by Sarah Foster, danced by Anita Hunziker, inspired by ex-pat pop star Ladyhawke;

Adze‘ choreographed by Kristian Larsen, danced by Claire Lissaman, inspired bymultimedia artist Phil Dadson;

‘Somebody‘s Darling’ choreographed by Michael Parmenter, danced by Francis Christeller, inspired by composer Douglas Lilburn;

Stealth‘ choreographed by Ross McCormack, danced by Jeremy Poi, inspired by the graffiti art of DLT;

Lens I‘ choreographed by Malia Johnston, danced by Jesse Wikiriwhi, inspired by experimental artist Len Lye;

Stark‘ choreographed by Maria Dabrowska, danced by Sarah Knox, inspired by famous dancer Freda Stark.

Footnote director Deirdre Tarrant says the company is excited to bring a new concept to the Forte Season in 2009. "The Forte Solo Series programme really brings dance out of its traditional environments and into spaces that you wouldn’t expect for a contemporary dance performance", she says.

"Because this is a unique setting, a unique arrangement to showcase new works inspired by some of the most fantastic New Zealand artists and some of the best choreographers this country has to offer, the 2009 Forte Season is set to really light up the dance calendar.

"The seats are much more limited than previous shows we’ve done in larger auditoriums so expect this to be the hot ticket for dance in 2009."

Wellington‘s Footnote Forte Solo Series begins at Circa Two at 7.30 (4 works) then follow the procession leader to the Museum Hotel at 9.00 or 9.30 & Hooch Bar Courtenay Place at 10.00 or 10.30
October 7 – 9 @ Circa Theatre (tix: ph 801 7992 or book online )

In Auckland, Footnote Forte Solo Series begins at City Art Rooms at 6pm and concludes at Cassette9 on Vulcan Lane.
6pm October 12 – 13 @ City Art Rooms, Lorne St (tix: )

Tauranga‘s single performance begins at the Baycourt Theatre at 7pm.
7pm October 29 @ Baycourt Theatre (tix: )   

Anita Hunziker
Claire Lissaman
Francis Christeller
Jeremy Poi
Jesse Wikiriwhi
Sarah Knox

Solos in 3-venue circuit

Review by Jennifer Shennan 20th Oct 2009

The annual Forte season by Footnote has taken a new turn, with six choreographers each making a solo, inspired by an iconic New Zealander, for one of the company’s six dancers. Circa, Museum Hotel, and Hooch in Courtenay Place was the circuit, and allowed audiences a clear take on each dancer, not something which group works always offer.

Somebody’s Darling, by Michael Parmenter, made sympathetic use of Lilburn’s setting of Alistair Campbell’s poems, Elegy and Francis Christeller gave a serious and focussed reading of the suite of dances with layered references to the loss of individual identity yet possibility of shared memory.

Adze, by Kristian Larsen, had a spirited and whimsical performance by Claire Lissaman, a sharp, bright dancer able to make interesting contrasts in the quality of her movement.

Sarah Foster set Firecracker, inspired by Ladyhawke, on Anita Hunziker who whirled through a high-speed overdrive with no pause for breath.

Stealth, by Ross McCormack, explored expressions of identity within graffiti art, and powerful dancer Jeremy Poi probably had the edge of the evening in making a transition from paint to skin to tattoo in the kind of metamorphosis only experienced in the theatre.

At Museum Hotel, in Lens I, Malia Johnston, experimented with ideas borrowed from the kinetic art of Len Lye, danced in and out of shadow by Jessie Wikiriwhi. Music by Eden Mulholland made lively contribution.

At Hooch, Stark, by Maria Dabrowska, was delivered with style and impeccable control by Sarah Knox.  Herself a choreographer, Knox brings rich presence to her work, and could probably be trusted to take this dance away from the high acrobatics of circus towards the darker world of cabaret which Stark in fact inhabited.  My guess is that Footnote is ready for an evening-long single work, and that Knox might be the one to choreograph it.

It was something of a frustration that much of the dancing at Circa was low down and forward on the floor, compromising our continuity of viewing. But earlier in the week Footnote had made improvisations amongst the work of Yayoi Kusama at the City Art Gallery.  All of it was fresh and fun, but in one truly poignant image, Jeremy Poi dropped to his knees then reached his strong arms aloft, seemingly a plea for mercy in tsunami-ravaged Pacific places. It "spoke" volumes.
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Inspiring evening of contemporary dance

Review by David Zeitner-Smith 13th Oct 2009

At first I didn’t know what to expect on this sunny early evening in Auckland. Footnote Dance was going to present its 2009 Solo Series at this year’s Tempo Festival of Dance at the City Art Rooms and Cassette 9. Both venues are located in the heart of central Auckland and promised to be exciting sites to watch the company’s latest productions.

First up in the well filled City Art Rooms was Michael Parmenter’s Somebody’s Darling. The creation is inspired by the grave of an unknown person buried in Central Otago, a poignant landmark in Parmenter’s home region. Douglas Lilburn’s score ‘Elegy’ in combination with poems by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell help to translate the choreographer’s inspiration, well performed by Francis Christeller. Parmenter’s choreography is a very personal account of emotions that may perhaps can only be told through dance.

Kristian Larsen’s ADZE is a homage to the well respected New Zealand artist Phil Dadson. Larsen’s playful and intense choreography is layered with a great variety of choreographic ideas and tools he utilises to touch and entertain the audience at the same time. Joshua Rutter’s composition ‘Klapless’ is complimenting and the stunning and strong performer Claire Lissaman left no stone unturned to capture the audiences’ attention. This is Larsen’s debut choreography for Footnote Dance. Hopefully more will follow.

Firecracker by Sarah Foster was the third and last piece we were getting to watch at the Gallery space. This creation is a homage to New Zealand born Ladyhawke, who recently won the New Zealand Music Award. Foster intended to create a “cathartic onslaught of movement” with Firecracker. Though Anita Hunziker performed the work with energy and great ability, the choreography lacks creative structure. A greater variety of vigorous movement ideas might have set the house on fire.

After Firecracker the audience was led to Cassette 9, a beautifully decorated Bar in Auckland’s Vulcan Lane. The short walk gave the audience the chance to mingle with some of the company’s dancers and was a welcome little break to digest the works of Parmenter, Larsen and Foster.

Maria Debrowska’s sexy and daring choreography Stark closed the evening of contemporary dance. The beautiful performance by Sarah Knox to music by Eden Mulholland leaves me hungry to see more of this company in the future.

Deirdre Tarrant’s idea to present Footnote Dance in various venues within on performance is great and might be a way to draw more, and perhaps new, audiences to dance in New Zealand. Footnote’s Solo Serious is an inspiring evening of contemporary dance. I will be back for more.


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Fantastic, engaging theatre

Review by Lyne Pringle 09th Oct 2009

Each year Footnote Dance Company invites choreographers to contribute to the Footnote Forte season. This year things have been downscaled in response to the economic squeeze and 6 solos are being presented by the 6 dancers of the company in collaboration with 6 choreographers – an ingenious way to keep the momentum and innovation of the company rolling.

Whether company director Deirdre Tarrant was responsible for the choice of choreographers or whether the dancers decided, the creative partnerships have resulted in happy marriages, with each of the solos capitalizing on the particular attributes of these fabulous dancers.

Some works have creative flesh that sit easily on the bones whilst others have yet to get more fully under the skin. No doubt this will happen with more performances.

A welcome feature of this buzzy and intimate evening is the setting of two of the works in venues outside of a theatre i.e. the Museum Hotel and Hooch Bar. This means a trek through the rain from Circa Theatre and an interval sipping wine, eating cake and looking at great art in the Museum Hotel. It’s fun and adds to the uniqueness of the occasion.

Circa Two is not a great venue for dance and I miss a lot of floor choreography as a result – it seems sensible to set things further back on the stage where this is the case.

Some of the key moments in Michael Parmenter’s work Somebody’s Darling – about an unknown person buried in Millar’s Flat Central Otago – are missed because of the sightline issue. The Douglas Lilburn score Elegy has a visceral quality and the poems by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell are melded beautifully to it. I long for a less muddy and louder rendering in this space in order to fully match the visuals on stage.

As always Michael Parmenter’s artistic choices and research are impeccable as he gives us another work that explores his favourite themes of love loss and yearning, this time immersed in the dynamic and sometimes unforgiving wilderness of Otago.

There are serendipitous factors in the fabric of the work. Francis Christeller, wearing his whakapapa, dances with style and conviction and with time will find the living and breathing body of this poignant work, which begins to come alive when he sings.

A complex playfulness pervades the collaboration between choreographer Kristian Larsen (debuting with Footnote) and dancer Claire Lissaman as new facets of her performance are revealed in the work Adze, which is dedicated to composer /improviser /performer Phil Dadson. One of the most striking elements in this piece is the use of voice to murmur, sigh and accompany the movement. A gag of blowing out imaginary candles is carried through adding a sense of lightness but these tentative vocal riffs could be more fully explored. Music is by Josh Rutter.

Claire Lissaman’s clear and articulate body smiles and relishes tricky movements that twist and spurt through the space to reveal a unique choreographic mind.

Ladyhawke, aka Pip Brown, is conjured onstage by Anita Hunziker’s dancing and choreography from Sarah Foster to Ladyhawke’s early musical adventures in Firecracker. A sense of wild exhilaration glues the choreographic phrases together as Hunziker pushes herself to the edge of frenzied ‘teenage’ exhaustion. Here the juice between choreographer and dancer really flows in pure movement poems with sexy ripples, thigh slaps impossibly fast turns, impolite angles, untidy hair and distinctive mudras.

Last up at Circa is another Footnote debutante, Ross McCormack. In conjunction with Jeremy Poi, he creates Stealth, using graffiti and the hip hop milieu, in particular the work of Darryl Thompson (DLT) and Jeremy’s own tag as a source of inspiration for movement.

There is a clever use of a wall signifying the artist’s connection with a surface as Jeremy Poi navigates a journey that evokes tension and change. He is a strident, powerful force in the space and there was a palpable sense of something deeply personal being expressed resulting in a real connection with the audience.

An ingenious use of paint gives an earthy primeval feel to the closing sequences of the dance as this individual plays out his battle to music by Jody Lloyd.

At the Museum Hotel we squash into a small space to witness a light movement show that brings to life Len Lye. Choreographer Malia Johnson operates a slide projector as dancer Jesse Wikiwhiri cavorts convincingly as a Lye look-alike. The work begins with his shadow and we are constantly teased between a shadow and a body – I am reminded how much more interesting shadows are than the real thing; thankfully the creators know this.

Malia Johnson continues to dazzle with her creative mind and output. This work successfully evokes the kooky kinetic world of Len Lye and I look forward to seeing where the ideas of a ‘man as a screen’ lead, there is much potential here.  Long time collaborator Eden Mullholland provides the appropriate music.

Last up is another debutante, Maria Dabrowska, also with music by Eden Mullholland. Now we are even cosier in Hooch Bar on Courtenay Place, gathered around a hoop suspended in the air. Dancer Sarah Knox is impressive in her mastery of this apparatus as she whips her way through very technical choreography. Her legs whistle past our ears and I feel close enough to almost hear the contractions of her muscles. She is a great dancer, precise, rigorous and strong.

It is pleasing to experience Maria Dabrowska’s choreography on her body this intimately. Stark explores Freda Stark – now there’s a legend. This work attempts to evoke a ‘firefly’ a ‘gold tinkerbell’. I see a glorious dancer but the spirit of Freda is somehow lacking for me, there is something too precise about it – I want it to be messier to have a hair or two out of place then maybe the character would emerge.

Fantastic, engaging theatre nevertheless and I leave the Footnote Forte series satiated. Bravo for another great initiative from the Footnote team, catch it if you can!
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