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

04/07/2024 - 04/07/2024

Pōneke Festival of Contemporary Dance

Production Details

Director and performer: Alexa Wilson
Collaborator (virtual): Dot Dot Social

Footnote NZ Dance Company
Alexa Wilson

By Alexa Wilson

“The Earth is full of refugees right now both human and non-human without refuge.” Donna Haraway (eco philosopher, 2015)

Where is the heart inside what home? Where is the home inside what heart? In a society racing.

This new solo is about disparity, homelessness and displacement, and how the contemporary western world others others to avoid vulnerability. How can we walk each other home?

Collaborating with AI as “experts” around themes and with Dot Dot Social virtually in NYC, this developed solo is looking at facing fear and vulnerability as a generative and connecting force. It works with movement, sound, performance art, text, music and video to present an embodied musing on these questions and the notion of walking each other home. Staying with the Trouble (Haraway).

This work has been developed as a 25 minute piece for Grace Exhibition Space at one of NYC’s primary performance art venue to impressed audiences as part of their Spring Season as a work in progress funded by Todd Trust. Thank you to Footnote NZ Dance Company for this exciting brand new Pōneke Festival of Contemporary Dance within Aotearoa.

Book Here

Venue: Te Auaha (Tapere Nui) Pōneke
65 Dixon Street Te Aro Wellington, Wellington 6011
When: July 4th, 6.30pm
Price: $26.83 (general admission), $21.57 (concession)

Director and performer: Alexa Wilson
Collaborator (virtual): Dot Dot Social
Host: Pōneke Festival of Contemporary Dance
Poster design: Nicholas Watt
Photo poster by: Miao Jiaxin, Grace Exhibition Space (NYC, 2024)

Performance Art , Dance , Solo ,

60 minutes

An important work, a voice we need to listen to

Review by Deirdre Tarrant 05th Jul 2024

Alexa Wilson has made significant political and societal performance and works predominantly out of New Zealand. In/Tense was first performed in New York and she introduces it as a post pandemic feminist statement and a work that will encompass world issues of refugees, homelessness, disparity, climate change and AI.  

We pass with her through a picture frame portal to confront our own opinions, to question and be questioned. We are ultimately sent out of the theatre to go back into a world that we know we personally need to take more responsibility for. 

The opening sets a physical scene suggesting restriction. Specific and controlled images are manipulated as the ability to find a way to go forward is explored. Sitting in a darkened theatre on July 4 the irony of the current  American political reality and that it is people who manufacture dilemmas, comes to mind as Alexa Wilson addresses the big issues of today. 
Refugees, displacement, disparity, homelessness, vulnerability, dejection, abuse, rebellion, avoidance and harassment … She speaks, sings, tells personal stories and berates using a range of items that all fit into a plastic-tartan-zip-bag. This item waits onstage — recognised the world over as a vehicle for transient storage. The sound score is effective and maintains the social commentary with well-chosen accompaniment. A microphone is used to overlay live narrative and song. 

Our time with In/Tense is structured in three parts. The first sets statements and introduces images using items already lying onstage. These  include a refugee tent and poles, a blonde wig, clothing, cables and red wine. Items that hold societal and possession prestige in one world yet here epitomise the other end of the spectrum. Street abuse and street living are real experiences. People are clasping at straws for survival in a world of double standards. Reality is harsh and there is little hope. 

Movement is constant and deconstructed – there is passion and conviction in the delivery. 
Wilson struts not walks, tumbles not rolls, is hooded not hoodwinked, has incidents not accidents, is dealing with society that is hopeless not heartless, reaches not stretches, trips and falls. In/Tense considers and sets up comment in a world which is immediate and Now.
I wait for the tent to be set up. A cocoon of protection, respite and comfort? This does not happen.  

We return through the picture frame portal facing our own realities to the second part of In/Tense. A lecture format uses technology as the  protagonists construct and connect. We are all encouraged to search on our own phones. Alexa, Siri, ChatGpt, AI and accompanying mobile phones sit on chairs with cables and plugs — the world of Comms language and data continues the physical debate. 
Is this more frightening than the performance? Is it the same reality but different? 

It is all of the present and as Alexa Wilson the person moves to her conclusion she shows a human side and  asks us to help clean up the stage to pack up her possessions. She challenges us to buddy up and to walk out together into a perfect crisp clear Wellington night. We do. Stopping to talk and reflect. 

This is an important work, a voice we need to listen to and a performance to treasure. We do not see enough rigour and intellectual stimulus in dance here in our seemingly but not ‘untouched world’  of kiwi land. Dance is powerful in its impact and can push us to be uncomfortable and vulnerable. Emotional response is universal. 

In/Tense seeks to explore and peel layers of vulnerability. We live in a terrifying world. It is good to be made to be scared and to shape our own thoughts  and responsibilities.  Thank you and great to have you home Alexa Wilson even though it be a short visit. 

Great too that Footnote NZ Dance and Te Auaha have set up  a new platform festival – it deserves support from the wider world. 


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