Infinite Thread

Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington

25/05/2007 - 02/05/2007

Production Details

Artistic Co-ordinator: Wendy Wallace

Next generation of choreographers fashion new work

Expect to see daring aerial acrobatics, profusions of feathers, and dynamic dance in this year’s New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season, Infinite Thread.  

Second and third year contemporary dance students will be intertwining material, movement and meaning for Wellington dance-lovers this May and June, exploring the interplay between fabric and dance. The result is a richly-textured work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance practice, performed to exclusively New Zealand music. Infinite Thread is a collaboration between NZSD Contemporary Dance students and Entertainment Technology students from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.

“The New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season has become a much-anticipated annual event in the Wellington dance calendar,” says Wendy Wallace, Associate Director of the New Zealand School of Dance. “We have a particularly strong group of dancers involved in Infinite Thread; and this is a great chance for the public to see the freshest dance talent New Zealand has to offer.”

Each choreographer has chosen a particular fabric as their point of reference, with selections including hemp, alpaca, brocade, chain-mail, lace and chiffon. The choreographers began by examining the fabric’s qualities; its weave, texture, cultural significance, how it moves and drapes, and created a dance work based on those qualities.

Infinite Thread features the music of some of New Zealand’s leading composers and musicians – including Gareth Farr, John Psathas, The Nomad, Jack Body and Rhombus – spanning styles from classical to dub.

Well-known choreographer Malia Johnston has been mentoring the students in the process of creating Infinite Thread. She comes fresh from choreographing Dark Tourist, which featured in Auckland’s AK07 festival last month. Malia is also choreographer for World of WearableArts and acclaimed contemporary dance productions Terrain and Miniatures, which have both toured throughout New Zealand in recent years. In her mentoring capacities, Malia is joined by Brenton Surgenor, another seasoned performer and choreographer. He has worked with such companies as Footnote Dance Company, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Opera North, and the English National Opera.

“It is fantastic to watch these students at work,” says Malia, “The dancers have a great deal of energy and freshness for what they are creating. It is a pleasure to see them work towards their goals and I am excited about the outcome of this performance.” 

Infinite Thread is at Te Whaea Theatre, Wellington, from 25 May – 2 June (Matinee at 2pm on Sunday 27 May, no show Monday 28 May). Tickets are $15, or $12 concession. To book tickets call 04 381 9254. 

Infinite Thread is brought to the stage by sponsors Dance Fabrics Direct, Graphic Press and Packaging and fibre-artist Suzanne Tamaki.

Stretch fabric  —    Tension and release
Choreography: Carlos da Silva
Lighting design: Karl Jenkins
Music: Agent Alvin—Taonga Puoru
CAST:  Sarah Baron, Verity Jacobsen, Lauren Langlois, Courtney Poulier, Rhiannon Spratling, Dan Caddy, David Williams

Voile  —   Conflict of desire
Choreography: Nicole Chadderton
Lighting design: Pat McIntosh
Music: Brendon Power & Steve Garden—My Lagan Love
CAST:  Kiestyn Austin, Alysha Firbank, Emma Johnston, Champa Maciel, Ria Simmons, Cara Szabo, Kurtis Herd

Lace  —   A tango; what is hidden?
Choreography: Rhiannon Spratling
Lighting design: Pat McIntosh
Music: Gareth Farr — He Tango mo Elena
CAST:  Sarah Baron, Nicole Chadderton, Imogen Cranna, Liz Fong, Samantha Mitchell, Ria Simmons, Allan Anderson, Dan Caddy, Carlos da Silva

Chiffon  —  A quality of movement; delicate yet strong
Choreography: Courtney Poulier
Lighting design: Lucie Camp
Music: John Psathas — To Yelasto Paidi (from View From Olympus)
CAST:  Kiestyn Austin, Verity Jacobsen

Denim  —   The uniform of the proletariat
Choreography: Samantha Mitchell
Lighting design: Lucie Camp
Music: James Dunlop—Denim
CAST: Allan Anderson, Dan Caddy, Carlos da Silva, David Williams

Feathers  —  A quirky flock
Choreography: Lauren Langlois
Lighting design: Lucie Camp
Music: Francesca Mountford & Alan Gamlen — Carnival
CAST:  Jana Castillo, Nicole Chadderton, Imogen Cranna, Alysha Firbank, Liz Fong, Emma Johnston, Ria Simmons

Felt  — A mad hatter; felt-processing fumes
Choreography: Anneke Gough
Lighting design: Lucie Camp           
Music: Miriama Young—Snapdragon
CAST: Samantha Mitchell, Courtney Poulier  

Chain-Mail  —  Warriors, ritual practice
Choreography: David Williams
Lighting Design: Pat McIntosh
Music: The Nomad — Tangimokemoke a Raureka
CAST:  Kiestyn Austin, Sarah Baron, Courtney Poulier, Rhiannon Spratling, Allan Anderson, Dan Caddy, Carlos da Silva, Kurtis Herd

Hemp  —  Boundaries/forced labour/humanity
Choreography: Emma Johnston
Lighting Design: Lucie Camp
Music: James Dunlop — Mesopotamia
CAST: Sarah Baron, Imogen Cranna, Lauren Langlois, Champa Maciel, Cara Szabo, Carlos da Silva, David Williams

Canvas  —   
Choreography: Verity Jacobsen
Lighting Design: Pat McIntosh
Music: Pitch Black w. Richard Nunns — Te Po
CAST:  Kiestyn Austin, Lauren Langlois, Samantha Mitchell, Cara Szabo

Alpaca  —  Warp and weaveA painter's tool
Choreography: Imogen Cranna
Lighting Design: Pat McIntosh & Lucie Camp
Music: Jack Body — Long-Ge
CAST:  Sarah Baron, Jana Castillo, Imogen Cranna, Alysha Firbank, Liz Fong, Verity Jacobsen, Champa Maciel, Ria Simmons, Dan Caddy, Carlos da Silva, Kurtis Herd, David Williams

Tulle  —  
Choreography: Sarah Baron
Lighting Design: Pat McIntosh
Music: John Psathas — Island Songs III
CAST:  Kiestyn Austin, Nicole Chadderton, Emma Johnston, Lauren Langlois, Courtney Poulier, Rhiannon Spratling

Brocade  —  
Choreography: Liz Fong
Lighting Design: Pat McIntosh
Music: Rhombus — Cloudkicks
CAST:  Imogen Cranna, Alysha Firbank, Verity Jacobsen, Emma Johnston, Samantha Mitchell, Ria Simmons, Cara Szabo, David Williams, Kurtis Herd 

Choreographic Tutors:  Malia Johnston & Brenton Surgenor
Rehearsal Directors:  Wendy Wallace & Paula Steeds-Huston
Aerial Tutor:  Tom Beauchamp
Production/Stage Manager:  Karl Jenkins
Deputy Stage Manager:  Lisa Hawken
Set Designer:  Karl Jenkins
Sound Designer:  James Dunlop
Lighting Designers:  Karl Jenkins, Pat McIntosh & Lucie Camp
Costume Designer:  Donna Jefferis
Costume Construction:  Helen Moate
Marketing/Publicity:  Rebecca Galloway
PhotographyMatt GraceJoyous cultural clashA wicked ballet

Dance , Contemporary dance , Multi-discipline ,

1 hr, no interval

Varied and often impressive

Review by Shruti Navathe 01st Jun 2007

Infinite Thread, currently on at Te Whaea theatre, is a performance comprising thirteen short dance pieces choreographed and danced by second and third year students. The NZ School of Dance students have worked in collaboration with entertainment technology students of Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School, to impressive result.

The performances centre on a theme of ‘fabric’, and each piece has its own unique texture and mood. Different choreographers have chosen to emphasise different aspects of the fabric that they are dealing with; the physical characteristics – texture, weave, drape; the sensual experience, focusing on the emotions the fabric evokes in the person wearing or seeing it; and the social and cultural history – where the material came from, the political circumstances around its production, or its ceremonial significance. With thirteen choreographers there is provision for quite a diverse treatment of what is essentially a shared subject.

The dances are a mix of various styles and impressions, and naturally some worked better than others. [Read more]
For more production details, click on the title at the top of this review. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


Make a comment

Invigorating celebration

Review by John Smythe 31st May 2007

What a celebration: of dance, movement, talent, fabrics, lighting and music! Inspired by fabrics – their look, feel, texture, construction, qualities, virtues, place in the world – Infinite Thread offers a magical mystery tour through an eclectic range of choreographic styles comprising 13 works set to an equally diverse selection of contemporary New Zealand music.

Also a joy is the seamless presentation. Gone is the sense of recital; a concert. This is a show, not a showing of; a showing off. And of course the creative talent is appreciated more when it focuses on a purpose beyond itself.

Likewise the dancers who stand out are those who have imbued their work with meaning, a reason to be, that inspires them to think, feel and reach beyond remembering the next step or sequence. They are there to experience, express, convey, share, exalt in a state of being. Dance is the means to a greater end.

Click on the title above to get the full listing of fabrics, interpretative phrases, choreographers, composers, lighting designers and dancers. The richness of the mix will be clear at a glance.

Most of the works are very accessible, capturing the human condition in many guises. Where international influences permeate they are often fused with ‘native’ spirit to offer a Kiwi take on life – from a lace-inspired Tango to Gareth Farr’s ‘He Tango mo Elena’ to a fan-tastic brocade-frocked, air-slashing fan dance to ‘Cloudkicks’ by Rhombus.

There is tension and release, constraint and freedom, levity and gravity, independence and togetherness, wild individuality and comforting conformity, girly gracefulness and manly constructivism, haves and have nots … There’s a weird combination of ungainly waddle and full-stretched elegance in ‘a quirky flock’, and some jazzy carry-on in blue tutus that suggest high anxiety in ballet-land.

The dancers work tirelessly, bringing fresh energy and focus to each work and committing whole-heartedly to each other’s choreography. Infinite Thread runs until Saturday and anyone seeking reassurance that the future of contemporary dance is in good hands, or just wanting to experience an invigorating hour or dance, should catch it.  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council