Heart & Legs

NZ Film Archive, Wellington

18/02/2009 - 21/02/2009

NZ Fringe Festival 2009

Production Details

One massive heart.
Dancing legs.
A mannequin.
Music to sway the soul.

View Master Dance presents ‘Heart and Legs’.  

An opportunity to absorb an array of artistic talent.
Eloquent dance to live music performed by a handful of creative Wellingtonians.

Hannah Elks, Tessa Martin-Coogan & Halina Wolyncewicz collaborate their contemporary dance backgrounds to present a new work that accentuates leg extensions and delves into the mysteries of the heart.

"Heart & Legs is an illustration of joyous dancing to soulful, beautiful music", describes Tessa Martin-Coogan. Dancer/performer/choreographer in the show.

"It is on the Fringe… it includes a wonderful duet of the heart and soul" which is a statement to reflect the Wellington arts scene. "Local, proud and deliciously thought provoking".

The New Zealand Film Archive is the ultimate venue for exploring the unique relationship of film and live performance. Musicians, ipods, and a record player, provide a retro ambiance.

Four nights only. Limited seats. Don’t miss out!

Heart & Legs

February 18-21 2009
6PM @ The New Zealand Film Archive

Tickets available from….
The New Zealand Film Archive
Te Anakura Whitiahua
84 Taranaki Street

Downstage Box Office
Downstage Theatre

12 Cambridge Terrace
Phone: 04 801 6946eala 6946
Email: theatre@downstage.co.nz

Door sales also available

Hannah Elks  
Tessa Martin-Coogan 
Halina Wolyncewicz

Passionless reflections; interesting conceits

Review by Jenny Stevenson 19th Feb 2009

Heart and Legs – a work in three acts by three dancer-choreographers, a group of musicians and a film-maker – creates something of the ambience of a sixties-style ‘happening’.  The analogy of ‘view master dance’ contained in the company name is entirely apt.  Dance, images, music, sounds and film projection are happening simultaneously in a laid-back informal atmosphere. 

The audience is free to pluck out of the mix the things that have meaning for them or they perceive to be of consequence – or not – depending on their whim. It represents perhaps, a reflection of the information-overload of our times and the randomness of the choices that we make.

The three dancers, Halina Wolyncewicz, Hannah Elks and Tessa Martin-Coogan, have highly articulate bodies and a strong vocabulary of movement at their disposal.  Their dancing is technically beautiful and the connection between them – when it happens – is gentle, trusting and habitual, like three old friends hanging out.  But because of this, the passion that injects the ‘colour’ into dance is strangely absent and herein lies a conundrum.

As contemporary dancers they are reflecting life as they see it – life of today – so perhaps this is an entirely valid way of performing for the present?  There are indeed flashes of coloration in the solos that the three dancers perform and for me these represent the high points of the work. 

There are interesting conceits in play throughout the work – such as the measuring of the unmeasurable – presumably with regards to love, tying in with the heart imagery.  It’s a good question: how do you measure how much you love someone? 

I also liked the conceit of love as ‘a common stranger’ beautifully realised through the performance of Massenet’s Vision Fugitive by opera singer, Matthew Landreth as the opening of the work.  The contradiction implied in ‘common stranger’ suggests dislocation and perhaps goes a long way to explaining the disconnection between segments of the work.

Another recurring theme is the dressing of a clothes mannequin onstage and the changing of costumes by performers both onstage, behind a screen and off-stage.  The reference seems to be to assuming a variety of personae, or maybe it merely signals change between acts.  The costumes for the most part consist of a selection of frocks.

The musicians and singers contribute to the work in a similar understated manner – including Shane Cammell playing his own composition evoke, Morgan Horwood singing Arlington and Kenneth Maennchen performing Metamorphosis II, by Phillip Glass.  Blue Sound composed by Brendan Elks is also featured.


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