Footnote Perforum

Deirdre Tarrant Dance Studio, Wellington

15/02/2007 - 23/02/2007

NZ Fringe Festival 2007

Production Details

Works by Deirdre Tarrant, Michael Parmenter


Once again Footnote Dance brings its unique Perforum Programme to the fantastic Fringe festival. Share the insights and ideas that form the process of making new New Zealand dance and visit the studio where the imagination takes flight…..

The choreographers are Julia Sadler, young up and coming innovation from Christchurch making MATCH to music by Ben Brady and working with the energies of Erynne Gleeson, Andrew Rusk and new Footnoter Jesse Wikiriwhi. Tim Fletcher has been visiting home over the summer and is returning to Berlin to dance with Volksballett Kollectiv. While here he has been working on a new choreography The Chicken or the Lamb? -How do people deal with long haul flights? Confinement in a specific and bizarre social environment…. Where do people internally fly to?

Dancing are Anita Hunziker, Andrew, Erynne and Jesse and the music is being commissioned by Wellington’s own Sam Scott. Around the World in Wellington, a look at stories in dance and song from the many cultures that make this city is being developed by Deirdre Tarrant for the Capital E National Youth Festival at Circa in March. Dancers Sarah Knox and Hannah Stannard join children of Wellington as the full company prepares for this project.

Last, but by no means least! Michael Parmenter is working towards a new work to be seen in October and is rehearsing Bhakti – a touchstone piece from his earlier choreographies for Footnote and the beginning of a process that will result in this outstanding choreographer making a new dance statement in Aotearoa.

At 125 Cuba St. Footnote Dance Studios.

6pm Thurs Feb 15 and Fri Feb 16 – work in progress by Julia Sadler and Tim Fletcher 6pm Thurs Feb 22 and Fri Feb. 23 – work in progress by Deirdre Tarrant and Michael Parmenter

Footnote Dance Company

Dance , Contemporary dance ,

Rewarding and informative

Review by Lyne Pringle 28th Feb 2007

There is definite interest in Perforum, held at the Deirdre Tarrant Dance studio which is also home to Footnote Dance Company. The place was packed – people almost hanging from the rafters – for this event, which promises to demystify the process of making contemporary dance by showing repertoire being developed for the Footnote dancers, to be seen on tour around the country in their Made in New Zealand programme.

Two works in progress were on show beginning with Deirdre Tarrant’s Around the World in Wellington. The first excerpt from this work is based on movement derived from language associated with the Big Bang e.g. spin, circulate, jettison, cluster, shoot, spin, rotate; the dancers show great imagination in bringing these words into bodily expression.

The second excerpt – this is work in progress stuff with the music not yet arrived from composer Steve Gallagher so they use interesting sounds off a cd supplied by a year 13 student from Pakuranga College – is based on rituals and once again it is intriguing to see what the dancers come up with to represent such things as memories of Xmas, round the campfire, bedtime, family photos and tea parties with Grandma.

The dancers have been researching the experiences of children from different cultures. This is not work for the cynical and it will be fascinating to see what bits will eventually make it onto the stage from the plethora of material generated. Tarrant crafts the elements with the great skill of somebody who has been choreographing for many years; the work has a freshness about it and a beautiful sureness in the dancers as they navigate performing in this intimate space.

Tarrant talks a little bit about the juice of her choreography – the love of a cacophony of voices at one point and being mesmerized by the way movement takes place in space, how it then relates to other movement, that is the love of abstract movement in space.

The third excerpt is inspired by favourite iconic places around Wellington.  Around the World in Wellington will fulfil its purpose to be a real celebration of the cultural life of Wellington.

The second work performed was Michael Parmenter’s Bhakti. This is the third time the dance has been mounted by Footnote, the first being in 1991. Tarrant describes it as a touchstone and much loved piece of repertoire; we were treated to some charming anecdotes about the life of the piece and the various people who have performed in it. It is a special to have this history shared as we are bereft of writing of this nature in the dance industry.

Michael shared his inspirations for the piece; the synchronized precision of the Rosedale Kilties marching team in Invercargill, labyrinths and mazes, Busby Berkley, his mother’s synchronized swimming career and its prototype in a 1990 trio danced to Messian where a fascination with weaving patterns was born.

Bhakti means devotion. This other essence of the dance was discovered on a sojourn in India in the 1980’s. Parmenter found peace amidst the chaos that is India and was inspired by the words of Kabir and Murabai whilst living beside the Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi.  This sense of the spirit is reflected in the structure of the dance which has at its core a dancer walking calmly in a circle as the other 5 dancers break off and weave across the circle into increasingly intricate repeating movement patterns.

At times the mandala risks disintegration but enough of the structure stays intact until the patterns retrograde back to simplicity and finally into stillness as the central meditative walker continues on his circular path. The dance has a mathematical precision that was once put into a formula by a high school maths teacher and the music is by Steve Parsons. Bhakti is a deceptively simple, complex work.

Footnote Dance Company ( Hannah Stannard, Erynne Gleeson, Anita Hnziker, Andrew Rusk, Sarah Knox, Jesse Wikiriwhi) has a great balance to it at present and the kind of unison intention that only comes with dancers working together over a long and sustained period.  The bodies fit together; there is a trust in each other and their material that makes for a tight unit and great dancing.

At times the evening almost gets swamped by anecdotes and details about the workings of Footnote, but there are some probing questions from the audience. It would be good to hear a little more from the dancers about how they find the works from the inside but the overall aim of the project is fulfilled to make Perforum a rewarding and informative experience.  


stephen gallagher March 11th, 2007

Yes the music was late....sorry...i was at the beach.

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