Meet at Coombes Johnston MINI Garage, Hamilton

20/02/2016 - 22/02/2016

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2016

Production Details

Choreographer Marie Hermo Jensen

Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust & Stellaris DansTeater

Come frolic along with this quirky interactive contemporary dance performance.  You are invited to follow along with the dancers as they lead us all up, around and over the garden path!  Take in the sights, and be part of the magic!

Created by local choreographer Marie Hermo Jensen and informed by games and fairytales this playful dance creates a place for imagination, curiosity, movement, engagement and excitement!

NB: Taking part in this performance will require a reasonable level of mobility and fitness. All children must have adult supervision.


Sat 20, Sun 21 & Mon 22 Feb 2016


12pm & 3pm Sat & Sun
6pm Mon


Meet at Coombes Johnston MINI Garage



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Dance ,

30 mins

Turtle Lake alive with dance

Review by Dr Debbie Bright 22nd Feb 2016

In a bold step, Marie Hermo Jensen extends her passion for site-responsive choreography to include the entire lakeside of Turtle Lake at Hamilton Gardens, and a large group of children. On a fine, hot Hamilton summer afternoon, we, the audience are invited to meet at a particular place for the start of this dance work. Our leader at this point is production manager Patti Mitchley who dispenses sunblock to those who need it and gives instructions regarding the journey we will be taking, including shady spots, and parasols to be provided at the final site. I think of how refreshing it is, to come to a contemporary dance performance where children are welcomed and included, and the comfort of the audience attended to in detail.

We are first led around the lake to where eleven young girls, dressed in an array of yellow floaty dresses, roll down the grassy hillside to begin their dance. I feel as if we are seeing the sunshine reflected in these children in yellow, their smiles and their enthusiastic skipping, tumbling, circling and promenading on the slopes above us, to the sound of a fun recording. At the end of their dance, they run down to us, ‘pick’ colourful ‘flowers’ from metal spikes in the ground and hand them out to us. These ‘flowers’ turn out to be origami-folded programmes. Delightful!

The children then lead us for the rest of the dance journey. We are invited to walk on around the lake, taking in the views, the sounds of other Arts Festival events, and surprising and intriguing dance vignettes set in the tiny treed dells and jetties that we pass, while across the lake on the Lake Stage, a solo poi dancer in long white dress, adds to the sense that the whole lake is alive with dance.  We pass Merida (of “Brave” fame) moving through a series of poses with her bow amid the trees, two ‘blue blob’ fantasy figures (dancers enveloped in large blue stretch bags) reaching and tumbling on a small jetty. Then we pass food stalls, artworks, other patrons, and the Rhododendron Lawn stage where the Waikato Symphony Orchestra and singers are rehearsing for their show this evening. We finally arrive at a ‘Town Square’ (a paved area in front of the Lake Pavilion) where Rapunzel (aka Karen Barbour) and a group of pastel-clothed older girls are performing a folk dance. While other patrons pass through the area or pause to join us, we gather to enjoy the dance. At the end, some of our number are drawn in by the participants to join the dance. Charming!

Finally, we are led to the Lakeside Stage where we are invited to sit and where parasols are dispensed to give us shade. Here we see solos, duets and combos of Ariel (The Little Mermaid – Helene Burgstaller), Merida (Eve Veglio-White), the heroine Moana (with poi – Indya Gibbs), Rapunzel on a tower-like pavilion above us, Snow White with a basket of apples (Marie Hermo Jensen), the two ‘blue blobs’ and Charlotte Evans and Gabrielle Baker, all in brilliantly-designed clothing (Kartika Leng & Mariella Brunton) that adds a sense of fantasy and fun. Ariel struggles out of her tail and learns to use her legs in dance. Moana asserts her strength, leadership and feistiness as a Māori warrior woman.  Merida demonstrates her strength, independence and power as a European warrior princess. Rapunzel reaches and strives from her tower, her long ‘hair’ adding to her expressions of restriction, frustration and longing. Each section is accompanied by an appropriately-worded song or instrumental tune. In shifting groupings and ensembles, the dancers tumble, leap and roll, using all the architectural features of the area – wooden seats, concrete terraces and open areas, and the wooden stage – while the apples Snow White has released from her basket roll across the space and are used as ‘prizes’ and props in games and movements combining frenzied pace and sudden pauses. The final climax is a release of hundreds of bubbles that are carried right across the dancers by a very obliging breeze. I enjoy the explosive movement and control, and the innovative use of architectural features, from this group of hugely skilled dancers. I also enjoy the sense of fun, fairy tales, movement, colour and bubbles, a combination that some of the young audience members find too hard to resist. These children and others become willing members of the dance company, in a happy dancing gathering to finish the show.

After the dancing, Marie thanks us for joining in the dance, and invites us to talk and drink iced tea up in Rapunzel’s tower.

I love the small but detailed touches that include, intrigue, inform and involve the audience, through all of our senses, in this colourful celebration of dance and community. Brilliant! Thank you.


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