Maidment Theatre - Musgrove Studio, Auckland

24/10/2014 - 25/10/2014

Production Details

Auckland Youth Dance Company
Imprint Performance Season

Musgrove Studio – Maidment Theatre

24 October: 7pm; 25 October: 2pm & 7pm

Twelve young dancers from Auckland Youth Dance Company have been rehearsing for many months in the lead up to presenting Imprint their third performance season of ballet and contemporary dance works at the Musgrove Studio (Maidment Theatre) later this month.

Artistic Director, Elizabeth Harvey says that she founded the company “to give promising young dancers the opportunity to participate in a professional show, performing complex choreography that would challenge them beyond anything they have experienced before”.

Former company members have in fact gained a great deal from the experience with several of them going on to professional dance careers.

The show will feature a four-part work choreographed by Ms Harvey to Tahi by NZ percussion band Strike. In addition, the former Senior Principal Dancer of London’s Royal Ballet Company, Carl Myers, has created two works to music by Ravel and Vivaldi for the young dancers. Danielle Saunders has chosen music from operatic pop group Il Divo to create her work Aranjuez and there will be several shorter items including some student choreographies.

Tickets are specially priced at $20/$15/$12 so that young people can afford to attend. Bookings can be made through Maidment Theatre online: or by telephone: 09 308 2383

For more information please contact the Artistic Director, Elizabeth Harvey:

or 027 230 7381

1 hour

Confident young dancers in mix of short works

Review by Raewyn Whyte 26th Oct 2014

The eleven young dancers of Auckland Youth Dance Company are assured, confident, thoroughly rehearsed, and they present the eleven works comprising their third annual collection of dance works, Imprint, with panache. They are in no way intimidated by the intimate setting of the Musgrove Studio, with just five rows of seats abutting the performance area, and no wings to withdraw to between dances. They appear fearless, relishing the opportunity to look the audience in the eye.

This year’s collection of dances alternates works choreographed by the company’s members and those made by their teachers, demonstrating the dancers’ facility with pointe and demi-pointe ballet, bare-footed jazz ballet and modern dance, and culturally influenced contemporary styles.

The works made by dancers are small-scale, short works similar to those created to NCEA requirements, and are danced with conviction. Sophie Voss presents a self-choreographed solo, Tangaroa to music by Maisey Rika, with balletic line and admirably stretched feet providing a steady flow of movement in the lower body, while the upper body and face conveys the emotional content through a stream of coded gestures and symbolic movements drawn from Maori cultural performance. Later she combines with Melanie Hesseling to contribute a formal, serious duet, The Bitter Earth, set to music by Dinah Washington and Max Richter, with a  ense of equality and reciprocity achieved by the work’s end. Renee Brown presents A Journey of Circles, a sad, even sorrowing solo, conveying a sense of loss and grieving in the midst of rolling floorwork and tight spins turns.

Heidi Chen’s Feather, to music by Goldmund, is a longer work which feels complete in itself rather than being a fragment. The programme’s standout, in this work the dancer is completely attuned to the musical nuances and cadences of her score. There is an extraordinary fluidity to her movement, yet she manages to stop it in an instant while her loose cotton knit tunic keeps moving, or she collapses suddenly to the ground as if struck down, recovering by rolling to her feet and moving into the next sequence.

Works choreographed by teachers Elizabeth Harvey, Carl Myers and Danielle Saunders are more complex, fully developed, and provide a range of moods, scoring, rhythms and spatial configurations. These showcase the dancers and their accomplishments in ensemble work, their ability to respond to the mood and rhythms of a score, keep careful placement and positioning in space, and generally dance with aplomb. Both A Musical Offering (a quartet by Harvey, to music by Douglas Lilburn) and Bolero (a trio by Myers, to Maurice Ravel) are excerpts from longer works which were seen in the company’s debut season in 2012 and it is clear that the dancers have now mastered the challenges these works originally presented. Two new works, 1 to 3 by Myers, and Summertime, by Harvey, require intricate trio work and are nicely danced.

Two substantial new works for larger ensembles easily fill the Musgrove stage with well positioned configurations. The elegant, formal bearing of Aranjuez, by Danielle Saunders, sets the dancing to Il Divo, and is beautifully costumed with red lace dresses topped by gleaming lycra bodices. The dancers almost shimmer on the air, moving smoothly through an array of configurations which allows each some solo and duet moments before becoming a unison ensemble, breaking out again into smaller groups, and finally ending in perfectly pointed V. Tahi, choreographed by Harvey to music by Strike NZ Percussion, puts all eleven dancers on stage at times, with the action split into 4 sections. Modelled on the structures and vocabularies of cultural dance forms of the South  Pacific, abstracted from the normal context of performance, and minus the emotional charge and charisma of the originals, this mixes and matches blocks of recurrent movement, and requires the dancers to drive themselves along in parallel with the score‘s relentless drums. I found myself wishing for some quieter, slower sections to provide time for absorption and reflection.


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