Harmonious Oddity

Maidment Theatre, Auckland

01/10/2008 - 04/10/2008

Tempo Dance Festival 2008

Production Details

Winner of four Tempo° awards in 2007, Touch Compass this year returns to the Tempo° New Zealand Festival of Dance for a strictly limited season with two new works that have been two years in the making.

The new season’s works are Harmonious Oddity, a stunning new dance/theatre work by Pedro Ilgenfritz and Catherine Chappell, and Grotteschi, a powerful duet by Suzanne Cowan.

"Dreamlike and challenging, Harmonious Oddity bridges subconscious and conscious realities, featuring surreal, Fellini-esque scenes played out live on stage and on film. Dancers perform not only on their feet, but also on wheels and suspended in mid-air in a wacky and humorous work that will transport you into another realm," says Touch Compass Artistic Director Catherine Chappell.

"Grotteschi explores the myth of the classical body and grotesque body, how each contains the other, and how they ultimately transcend any categorisation."

Joining the company this year are Brazilian actor, theatre director, playwright, lecturer, and physical theatre expert Pedro Ilgenfritz, and lighting designer Jenny Pullar whose work includes designs for 191 different productions in 12 countries.

"Touch Compass is great theatre, great dance, and real succour for the soul."  Bernadette Rae, NZ Herald 2001

"One rarely encounters such prolonged and heartfelt applause."  Jennifer Shennan, Dominion Post 2007

Dates: 8pm, 1 to 4 October 2008
Venue: Maidment Theatre, 8 Alfred Street, Auckland
Tickets: A reserve $35, B reserve $30, Unwaged/Group $25
Concessions $20, Child (up to 18 years) $15
Booking: Phone 308 2383 or visit www.maidment.auckland.ac.nz
For more information: www.touchcompass.org.nz

1hr 30 mins

Spiderwoman weaves her spell

Review by Raewyn Whyte 07th Oct 2008

The standout highlight of Tempo 08’s opening week was Grotteschi, an enthralling duet by Touch Compass dancers Suzanne Cowan and Adrian Smith, alias Ava the Spiderwoman and Argyle the Mantis Man, set in and around Ava’s lair. From the opening moments you knew that Ava, in her low-cut frilly red and white polka dot dress with her six dangling legs and her subtle webbing of light, was both queen of all she surveys, and very hungry. So when Argyle, an upside down, inside out, extremely agile and insouciant creature yearning for love came within her reach, you just knew it wasn’t going to go well for him.

Choreographed by Cowan, with a carnivalesque score by Charlotte Rose, the dance became a saga of seduction (from his perspective) and parry and feint for domination (from hers), almost entirely achieved through extraordinarily responsive partnering. Tailor-made to exploit the capabilities of these performers, the dance drew sustained applause. [More]
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Memorable theatrical feast

Review by 02nd Oct 2008

Touch Compass have undergone a metamorphosis. The core dancers have remained the same and the newer dancers fit beautifully with the company’s movement ranges and style, but the dance itself has shifted.

Maybe it is the driving beauty of choreographer/dancer Suzanne Cowan’s Grotteschi, her precise and articulate movements capturing the dream range of Miss Muffet, and at times a complicated juxtaposition of who gets who in the spider web …

Catherine Chappell (the company’s long-term artistic director and choreographer), floats in and out, with grace and durability written in her every movement and moment of contact with other dancers. It’s not so much in the filmic exposure of her face, but in the very first danced section where she opens her hands and lets air fall … it resembles an amount of time and matchless giving. This amount of giving takes a long time.

The opening section of Harmonious Oddities is responsive to devices of street theatre, clowning, physical theatre, clearly explored by director, Pedro Ilgenfritz. Touch Compass as a dance company is clear about its direction. The choreographies explore the dancer’s journey.

In slightly fantastical movement reveries, Jesse Johnstone-Steele’s subtle and matured theatrical sense fits very well with danced weight trading and relational moments between him and other dance partners. Dan King and Adrian Smith both possess a wonderful masculinity while dancing, their partnership in dance often perfectly couching the elegant sensuousness of newcomers, Kerryn McMurdo and Emilia Rubio.

Touch Compass offers a most memorable theatrical feast for this tempo Dance Festival 2008 programme.


Celine Sumic October 5th, 2008

What I particularly liked about Harmonious Oddity was the way in which Jesse's dream space seemed to fill the theatre.. every corner, every molecule of air felt affected by the gentle magic of this performance.  Just simply, I was transported...

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