Footnote Perforum 2010

Tarrant Dance Studios, 125 Cuba St Wellington, Wellington

18/02/2010 - 18/02/2010

NZ Fringe Festival 2010

Production Details

Helping to celebrate the New Zealand Fringe Festival’s 20th birthday is one of the longest-running dance events in the country. 

Perforum is an all-Fringe all-Wellington award-winning (Best in Dance NZ Fringe 09) concept. A mix of a forum led by Footnote Director Deirdre Tarrant and performance by the fabulous Footnote Dancers.

It’s a valuable opportunity to share, inform and influence the process of new Made in New Zealand dance works, which are toured around New Zealand every year. 

Based in the heart of the Creative Capital on Cuba Street, Footnote Dance is New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company. 

Footnote Perforum 
Thursday 18 February 5pm & 6.30pm
Tarrant Dance Studios, 125 Cuba St Wellington
Entry by koha

Will “the best work Footnote had ever done” become even better?

Review by Jenny Stevenson 19th Feb 2010

As a taster for the main event, this annotated showing of works by Wellington’s Footnote Dance Company serves up a tantalising appetizer. Short excerpts from two dances, with commentary by both the choreographers and the dancers is a rare treat, giving a clear insight into the choreographic processes and the manner in which the dancers develop the characterisations and movement vocabulary of their work.

Footnote’s Director, Deirdre Tarrant, has long been one of the country’s most ardent supporters of new choreography, aiding and abetting both emerging and seasoned choreographers to develop their craft over a period of many years.

In this instance, choreographer Claire O’Neil has returned to New Zealand from Brussels to develop MTYLAND – first choreographed on Footnote two years ago – for inclusion in the International Festival of the Arts, while Wellington based choreographer Sarah Foster has begun working on a new piece for the Company to be premiered in April.

The dancers describe Foster’s method of creating points of departure for their experimentation. She presents each dancer with a folio of random images garnered by way of the Google search engine, through Foster typing in the dancers’ names: a very 21st Century approach. The dancers then create material in response to the photos and present it to Foster who begins the process of selecting and developing the movement phrases. 

Some sections of the work are shown in silence, as the music and sound is still being created. A short solo by Sarah Knox shows excellent placing and an arbitrary realignment of clothing while Jeremy Poi and Francis Christeller pick and pull at each others clothing while ratcheting up the levels of aggression. Another section explores more radical, behavioural provocations and responses.

The section that is presented from O’Neil’s MTYLAND to music by Herman Martin, plays with the process of advancing and retreating with reference to the attack and defence of war manoeuvres. This is a very powerful section with the dancers advancing in a phalanx – an unstoppable force, exuding Zen-like calm – and confronting a lone figure, in the manner of the Tankman of Tiananmen Square.

Later a young woman mouthing off folksy aphorisms begins to lose control of her demeanour and movements while seemingly attempting to reassure herself with the stolid comfort of the maxims. The “emptyland” of the title is her worst nightmare, her frenetic activity isolating her in a world of her own making while a patient bystander looks on impassively.

These are powerful images showing the Company in top form. When I first saw MTYLAND I thought it the best work Footnote had ever done. It will be interesting to view the full reworking, to see if it can be bettered.
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