If These Walls

Cuba Mall, Wellington

11/02/2021 - 14/02/2021

Production Details


Footnote New Zealand Dance


If These Walls…

Hidden Courtyard, 44 Ghuznee St

Acclaimed national dance company, Footnote New Zealand Dance, presents If These Walls… by choreographer Claire O’Neil. A joyful site-specific dance work that dives into modes of isolation, surges of communal awakening, and sharing of dance that is deeply embedded in the pursuit of our regeneration and sustainability. If These Walls… will enliven a space in the city with lush movement by the incredible Footnote company members, sound design by award-winning composer Jason Wright, lighting by renowned designer Marcus Mcshane and uplifting grooves by a Balkan band. Join the band on a procession and short dance party on Cuba St after the performance!


Choreography: Claire O'Neil in collaboration with the dancers
Dancers: Nadiyah Akbar, Oliver Carruthers, Sebastian Geilings, Rosie Tapsell, Cheyanne Teka
Sound Design: Jason Wright
AV Design: Claire O’Neil and Jason Wright
Lighting Designer: Marcus McShane
Production Manager: Joshua Tucker
Stage Manager: Genevieve Poppe
Operator: Haami Hawkins


Site-specific/site-sympathetic , Physical , Outdoor , Family , Experimental dance , Dance-theatre , Dance , Contemporary dance ,


30 mins

Phenomenal physicality and talent

Review by Olivia McGregor 12th Feb 2021

Footnote New Zealand Dance presents If These Walls, the newest work of Claire O’Neil which was first performed as part of Footnote Dance’s 35th anniversary in October 2020. The hidden courtyard is warmed up with a Balkan band Mini Niko Ne Zna,  gathering a diverse audience of both performance enthusiasts and evening city dwellers.

We are invited into the transformed carpark. The incredible sound of Jason Wright bends and expands the space to the surrounding building scape which is injected with AV and lit by Marcus McShane (my first time viewing the show the intensity of the bass vibrating off the walls had such a physical resonance I became giddy, with thoughts of how amazing it is that the audience can simultaneously experience something sensory). 

The company- Nadiyah Akbar, Oliver Carruthers, Rosie Tapsell and Cheyanne Teka are joined by Amit Noy who does an incredible job of filling in for Sebastian Geilings and offers a performance that is both sincere and engaging. The space is divided into sections with each performer activating their landscape. Their embodiment creates a vibrational physical exchange between each other, the sound, terrain and audience. The work swiftly moves through scenes (at times too quickly), offering a Dogville-esque entry into different worlds and changing conditions of collapse and un/resolve. We are moved through an energetic vortex, line ups of what appears to be narcissistic moulds, connected stillness, text and song.

I find it so refreshing to be viewing dance in this context, occupying and transforming otherwise functional space and breaking the boundaries of environments that dance can enter in to and the audiences it can attract. The work reveals the phenomenal physicality and talent of these artists. To experience the connection with the company both physically and socially is both heart-warming and reassuring in this globally tumultuous time. It left a charged dance party on Cuba Street long after the work had finished.

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