Homemade Jam

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

05/07/2024 - 05/07/2024

Pōneke Festival of Contemporary Dance

Production Details

Artistic Director & Producer: Turid Revfeim
Choreoprayers: Sarah Knox, Loughlan Prior

Ballet Collective Aotearoa

This performance from BalletCollective Aotearoa (BCA) and Tawa College  is a stunning evening of celebrating homegrown, kiwi creativity. Homemade Jam is a Triple Bill  consisting of two of BCA’s signature works, alongside a new ‘jam’ to music by former BCA dancer Kit Reilly created in sessions with BCA artists and students from Tawa College, through BCA’s Creatives in Schools residency during Term 2 this year.

Auckland based Sarah Knox’s beautiful work Last Time We Spoke is a contemplation on absence, memory and the joy that can be found when we embrace community. The work was developed during Covid-19 and the process was also an emotional exploration of these themes at a time, when the sense of community was disrupted.

Loughlan Prior’s titular work Subtle Dances is described as “exploding with swirls of tango and is saucy, spicy, dark and compelling. Flirtation, nervousness, exhibitionism, ‘peacocking’ – the unspoken rituals performed in complex courtship are explored in this sassy and hypnotic work Inspired by traditional partner dance styles (ballroom and latin dance), the work slowly devolves into a physical language all of its own, where the lines of gender and sexuality are erased.

In between these 2 signature works from BCA is a new creation from Yr 12-13 students at Tawa College, to a specially commissioned soundscape from Kit Reilly. preference for reason is informed by themes of increasing polarity and conflict in the on/offline spaces we inhabit. The failure to listen and act with reason to any connection with the traditions of the ancient world when reasoned, sound, structured philosophical debate and critical thinking was integral to citizenship and humanity – and the concept of whakarongo; listen with the intention of understanding. 

Pōneke Dance Festival 2024

BCA is a contemporary dance collective of individuals passionate about making dance and being part of a vibrant and diverse arts community here in Aotearoa/New Zealand. While trained in classical ballet, we aim to explore new ways of expressing ourselves through dance, breaking down the stereotypes linked to ballet, and making dance accessible to kiwi audiences through homegrown collaboration.

We also aim to offer movement experiences by trying to cater to different skill levels through the Ministry of Educations Creatives in Schools initiative. Here we offer curriculum based learning by also sharing the physicality and creativity from learning through dance. Creating pathways for emerging artists to follow a career in the arts. We are thrilled to be able to share the stage with this wonderful talent.

Dancers: Guest Artist – Luke Cooper (RNZB) with
BCA Artists 2024: Alina Kulikova, Callum Phipps, Lotte Polderman-Charles, Kyoka Takahashi, Amelia Chandulal-Mackay, James Burchell, Lyndon Foley. Internship: Madison Fotti-Knowles

Last Time We Spoke
Choreographic Direction: Sarah Knox
Music: Rhian Sheehan
Recording: ‘A Quiet Divide’ 2018 – Produced recorded and engineered by Rhian Sheehan
Costume: Katie Day
Dancers: Callum Phipps, Lyndon Foley, Lotte Polderman-Charles, Kyoka Takahashi, James Burchell, Alina Kulikova

preference for reason
Music: Kit Reilly
Costume: Colarie Hale
Creative Director: Brigitte Knight supported by Elora Battah, Callum Phipps, Amelia Chandulal-Mackay, Madison Fotte-Knowles, Kyoka Takahasi
Kaioko: Sarah Holswich
Dancers: Yr 12-13 dance students, Tawa College

Subtle Dances
Music: Claire Cowan
Sound Mixing: NZtrio mixed by Sarah Belkner, Richard Belkner, Niall Cameron, Claire Cowan Costume: William Fitzgerald
Design & Lighting by Eventsuite
Stage Manager: Janina Panizza
Operator: Janis Cheng
Tawa College
Kaiako: Sarah Holswich
Education Manager BCA: Brigitte Knight

Book , Dance , Contemporary dance , Youth ,

Audiences keen to follow their work

Review by Jennifer Shennan 18th Jul 2024

This attractive program takes the unpretentious title Homemade Jam, as if to say, ‘We can’t afford to import posh marmalade from Harrods so we’ve made our own jam from the fruit in the orchard here.’ With a full house at both performances, and sold-out printed programs, BalletCollective Aotearoa (BCA) must be pleased to know there are clearly audiences keen to follow their work.

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Homegrown flair, energy and artistry

Review by Sebastien Sly 06th Jul 2024

The Pōneke Festival of Contemporary Dance has presented another inspiring and poignant collection of modern dance works. Working with Tawa College, Ballet Collective Aoteroa (BCA) has again found a way to showcase local creativity and talent, showing what is possible with a group of energised young Pōneke artists. A near full-house was testament to the continuing relevance and popularity of modern dance, and the enthusiastic audience of young and old made their enjoyment clear throughout the evening.

Sarah Knox led-out with Last Time We Spoke, choreographed to music by Rhian Sheehan. The work starts with all six dancers on stage, three men and three women, with five watching Callum Phipps as he begins the piece with a solo. Phipps’s movements exude grace and fragility, perfectly capturing the emotional disconnect from others that Knox aims to convey. The rest of the dancers watch on, detached from the dance at hand, reminiscent of Tim Podesta’s Forte that I recently participated in. As the music progresses so to do the dancers as they switch lightly from one coupling to another with an air of separation, floating effortlessly in dreamy costumes designed by Katie Day. The downlighting changes throughout the work to reflect the emotions being expressed; yellow symbolizing hope and teal signifying melancholy. If I were to pick on a technical point, it would be that not all dancers were always in sync with one another, but in the context of the piece I found this gave the performance a sense of the realness that Knox was looking for. 

Following Knox’s work was Tawa College’s performance of preference for reason, which aims to encapsulate the “increasing polarity and conflict in the on/offline spaces we inhabit”. As the piece begins, the breath of Kit Reilly’s score fills the air of Te Auaha’s small theatre, accompanying the lone  dancer poised motionlessly on stage. One by one, more dancers robotically wander on to dance, gradually building with the music until several rows of dancers are snaking and twisting to the bassline of the music. Each dancer’s movements felt raw and pure as if each was not only exploring their own space but also the constraints of Reilly’s music, their movements building with the intensity of the music. I found at several points that the performance was a plea to the audience to listen (as poignantly stated in the program). A key motif the choreography successfully projected was the act of saying “stop”; appealing for those watching to take a step back, to stop, and to think.

Following the second intermission, BCA returned onstage to perform the night’s highlight and finale, Subtle Dances. Loughlan Prior and Claire Cowan’s history of working together through works such as Cinderella and Hansel & Gretelis evident throughout this work, with the music and choreography combining to deliver a playful and cohesive piece. This sense of play is deliberately explicit throughout the piece, as the males preen and females strut like exotic birds. ‘Flirtatious and sensual’ perfectly describes the partnering in Subtle Dances, as elements of tango and ballroom weave their way into the virtuosic choreography. James Burchell goes from strength to strength with his partnering ability, as his partners float effortlessly from one side of the stage to the other. William Fitzgerald’s slick black costumes drape over each dancer, further accentuating their lines and seductive movements. Prior teases the audience with his quirky work and finds a way to blur the line between gender and sexuality.  Beautifully accompanied by music played by the NZTrio (sadly not live) the cast is deservedly met by chuckles, gasps, and admiring applause. 

Having proved themselves previously at the Auckland Festival and Taranaki Arts Festival, BCA have demonstrated again the talent they possess, showing that there is so much creativity to be found within our community. They highlight homegrown flair, energy and artistry, perfectly delivering Homemade Jam to a rapt audience. Each piece gave the audience a feast for the eyes and food for thought, underscoring just how much positive energy our local communities possess.  All three pieces were conceived by local artists, and the fresh flavour of local works showing local influences and issues was refreshing, and the dancers and choreographers alike were amply rewarded by an enthusiastic and diverse audience. I hope that this support for, and engagement with community-based dance continues, and increases, as the performing arts work to recover further from the effects of the global pandemic. These performances and performers deserve to be recognized and celebrated for what they produce, as the energy, emotion and impact of live performance only seems to grow in importance in a world filled with digital distractions. 


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