I'm just sorting my shit out

The Film Archive, Wellington

27/09/2006 - 30/09/2006

Production Details

Choreograohed and produced by Virginia Kennard


Jazz. Shit. Funk. Sex. Contemporary. Shit. Movement. Anger. Dance. Shit.

23 Year-old Virginia Kennard choreographs this fresh, decadent and deliberate dance show in one of Wellington’s newest art epicenters, The Film Archive on the corner of Ghuznee and Taranaki St.

With a University degree in mathematics and a Diploma in Commercial dance, Virginia is a nerd who can shake her ass, strut her stuff and choreograph up a storm.

I’m Just Sorting My Shit Out gives imagery of yuppie angst; toilets; intolerance and self-indulgence. It can be viewed as a series of jazz and contemporary beats giving an inside glance into the habitual rollercoaster that is sorting out one’s shit; otherwise it can be seen as a bunch of sociopathic people (who happen to be dancers) who realize the world is mad and want to give the audience something to dance about.

Either way; there is dancing, there are toilets and there is rich and poignant New Zealand music.  

It is angst-ridden, chaotic, sexy and an open-book of young knowledge… though feel free to brush it off as philosophical nonsense and just enjoy the visual exposé.

Tickets are $15/$12 and can be purchased from Phone 383 6446 or email thenakedbrastrap@gmail.com.

Tickets to be paid by cash or eftpos at the Film Archive, 30 minutes prior to the show.

Performances: Wed 27th – Sat 30th September, 7pm

Venue: The New Zealand Film Archive, corner of Ghuznee and Taranaki Streets

Jillian Davey, Rebecca Hewitt, Christina Hitchcock, Denise Walker, Lizzie Wratislav
Karyn Basher, Blaise Drinkwater

Dance , Dance-theatre ,

45 mins

Girly angst and mathematics

Review by John Smythe 27th Sep 2006

The publicity makes it look scatological: publicity shots in/on/above,/beside a lavatory; a log line that reads: "Jazz. Shit. Funk. Sex. Contemporary. Shit. Movement. Anger. Dance. Shit."

But the title – I’m Just Sorting My Shit Out – really does just refer to the human preoccupation of trying come to terms with life and self, and reconcile one with the other. Choreographer/ producer Virginia Kennard (The Naked Brastrap) is also exploring a relationship, here, between her university degree in mathematics and her Diploma in Commercial Dance.

Presumably – I’m totally guessing here – her co-dancers (Jillian Davey, Rebecca Hewitt, Christina Hitchcock, Denise Walker, Lizzie Wratislav) were performing arts school colleagues and the two ‘actors’ (Karyn Basher, Blaise Drinkwater), who bridge the three sets of choreographed work with mathematical banter steeped in chaos theory, were also maths students.

While the programme does not tell us their backgrounds it does, thoughtfully, footnote the academic writings. And largely homegrown music credits (including Minuit, Rhian Sheehan, Fur Patrol, Dr Kevorkian and the Suicide Machine, Percy Feral, Salmonella Dub and Recloose) are linked to names for the "actual dances", which pretty well speak for themselves.

We start off with: Bored, fucked off and restless; Uncertainty; Just what everyone else is doing; Fuck You! Part 1; Fuck You! Part 2; Expectation … In silk slips the dancers start off moody and isolated, even when dancing in unison, then work together productively until a tale of betrayal leads them to explore the "angsty girl music" in different ways …

Next comes the Chaotic set, for which we are not obliged "to understand the mathematical motivation": Cosets of subspaces; A mathematical space; The Mandelbrot Set; Poincaré Recurrence; The Lorenz Attractor … I detect more abstract formality here. Most memorable for me is a sequence where no matter how random and individual the component parts appear to be, they inevitably reform on the same correlation, if only briefly …

Throughout the short evening, people variously perch on the loo in the background for a breather without the slightest hint of it being anything more than a convenient place to rest. It reeks to me of an idea than might have seemed good at the start but has no value now.

The finale is called Unpredictable Future, danced to ‘Permutations’ by Recloose, and this is where toilet paper comes into the mix, again to no good purpose. The related programme note offers, "The more you know, the more you know you don’t know" – except "there will always be shit to sort" and "Life generally comes back to relationships, not that we understand them either!"

With more of a showbiz than contemporary dance feel to it, the choreography – for which the dancers share the credit – produces lithe dancing that is physically adept if lacking in emotional depth. One thing that impresses me is that some of the troupe sport body types not normally found in professional dance and they move just as skilfully as their peers.

The spoken interludes suffer from untrained voices in the unforgiving acoustic of a foyer space graced on two side by floor-to-ceiling windows alongside 4-lane roadways that add a somewhat obliterating layer of sound, especially on a wet and swishy opening night. Some of the dialogue sounded trite but other bits could have added much, if only I’d been able to hear it all (I was sitting closer to a window than to the performance space).

But at 45 minutes, with a written programme full of intriguing hints to stir the gray matter, this talented and committed ensemble deliver a pretty good show.


julia kennard September 29th, 2006

Hey all! saw this production in the making and the way it all came 2getha was fantastic! it achieved wat it set out 2 achieve so a huge congratulations to all the dancers and especially the o-so-wonderful producer/choreographer viggi kennard; ur amazing!!! im incredibly proud as are all hoo were involved! good shit babe, ur an absolute legend!!!

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