Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

20/07/2023 - 22/07/2023

Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Road, Kerikeri

27/07/2023 - 27/07/2023

Globe 2, Globe Theatre, 312 Main St, Palmerston North

14/02/2024 - 15/02/2024

Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

24/02/2024 - 24/02/2024

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

01/03/2024 - 02/03/2024

Papa Hou Theatre at the YMCA, 12 Hereford Street, Christchurch

27/03/2024 - 28/02/2024

Production Details

Choreographers: Holly Newsome & Forest Kapo

Footnote New Zealand Dance

Footnote New Zealand Dance presents IYKYK (If You Know You Know), a double-bill of contemporary dance works by choreographers Holly Newsome and Forest Kapo. These two works present a game-like lens of viewing the human condition – How do you win at the game of life? What are the rules of the end of the world?

Taranaki born Holly Newsome returns to the company to present the dance of life in Advance to Go. Queer, Indigenous performance artist Forest V Kapo (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Raukawa) explores how to save the world in Premonition, returning to Aotearoa after 10 years based in Dja Dja Wurrung Country- Bendigo Victoria Australia.

Wellington – Hannah Playhouse, 20-22 July
New Plymouth – TSB Theatre Royal 27 July
Kerikeri – Turner Centre 2 August
Tickets $25-35

Dancers: Veronica ChengEn Lyu, Emma Cosgrave, Cecilia Wilcox, Airu Matsuda, Levi Siaosi, Jacob Reynolds
Lighting Designer: Elekis Poblete Teirney
Sound Designer: Emi Pogoni
Technical Operator: Janis Cheng

Dance ,

90 mins including interval

Fostering and promoting contemporary dance in Aotearoa

Review by Jo Thorpe 17th Mar 2024

It has been six years since NZ contemporary dance company, Footnote, last performed in Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Gisborne (May 2018).  Now, finally – post lockdowns and cyclones – the company has returned, putting into practice its vision of weaving communities together through performances and workshops.     

Gisborne was the 6th stop in Footnote’s 8 city tour – Whakatane being the 5th. While the Royal NZ Ballet tours classical ballet in its Tutus on Tour programmes, Footnote is the only company to showcase contemporary dance across Aotearoa.  (Black Grace, Atamira, NZ Dance Company  … where are you?)  While here, Footnote dancers gave workshops at Gisborne Girls High School, Nadine Antoinette School of Dance and Dance Fit Studios.

The company’s 2024 performance offering is IYKYK (If You Know You Know), a contrasting yet thematically and musically connected double bill of works by NZ choreographers Holly Newsome and Forest Kapo.  

First up is Poneke-based Holly Newsome’s Advance to Go.  The title immediately calls to mind board games such as Life and Monopoly (‘Go directly to Jail.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200’). 

In an otherwise completely black setting, a tall rectangle of cubed LED lighting rises centre stage. Emerging from the wings, a figure crawls slowly backwards, legs and hands cleverly illuminated.  A second follows. Then a 3rd, 4th,, until finally all 5 dancers are visible and slowly rising to their feet.   They are dressed in black skin-tight, wetsuit-like costumes overlain by baggy black shorts. Who are they? Are they from surfacing from underwater? And why do they crawl backwards? 

The illuminated cube (lighting by Elekis Poblete Teirney) provides the frame for the dancers to move in to and out of. And move they do! – ceaselessly, athletically, powerfully.  Impelled by Emi Pogori’s driving electronic score, much of the choreography has a staccato, jerky, almost automated quality – robotic walks, rhythmic squats up and down, quick freezeframe turns of the head. There are suggestions of power-play, martial arts and sports games.  Themes of competition and conflict emerge  – that tug of war; that recurring, vigorous straight-armed handshake.  The dancers are completely at one with the score, peppered as it is with a collage of harsh sounds -gunfire, blasts and explosions which randomly trigger the lit cubes to go off, plunging the stage into deep blackness before flashing on again. 

Yes, Advance to Go is dark. But there are snatches of humour too.  A dancer offers a hand to a slumped body which takes it, then jumps up, smiling broadly.  Another sniffs an armpit, his shirt, as if to check he is still presentable.  And there are slow, recurring gestural motifs, albeit somewhat forlorn. Dancers raise one arm in a tentative wave (to an imagined friend/audience?) only to quickly pull it down with the other hand as if to say ‘No, I can’t/won’t/mustn’t greet you’.  At other times, they extend an upturned palm, as if to invite us in, or reach out to something beyond.  But there are impediments to getting to where they want to go!  Seeking to move forward, they find themselves anchored to the spot by a pair of hands clamping their foot to the floor. They have to drag the body using their one leg, then two bodies (is this a war zone?) We feel the weight of a lifeless human being!   

Advance to Go builds inexorably to its climax.  All 5 dancers sprint to the front of the stage as if racing to the finish line in an impossible game-of-life. Once there, they keep running on the spot.  Then seem to give up.  Or simply stop playing. The game is over. But who has won? I am left suspended – invigorated and challenged, yes, but grateful for the space of a 15 minute interval.    

The second work, Premonition, is the creation of Melbourne-based performance artist, choreographer  and theatre teacher, Forest Kapo.  With a title such as Premonition, I am (again) braced for something dark.  A  large digital clock is suspended above the back of the stage, relentlessly ticking down the seconds.  Its flashing red numerals pierce the darkness. Is this the Doomsday clock, that metaphorical representation of how close humanity is to destroying the world with dangerous technologies of our own making – nuclear weapons, climate change, AI?  As if on cue, we hear the sound of what must surely be a bomb plummeting to earth. Warning number one.  

The lighting design is again stark. While the vertical outline of the LED cubes in Advance to Go has been replaced by a bright rectangle of light on the stage floor, there is a similar sense of confinement.  And that urgent, percussive score. 

But differences quickly become apparent.  A propulsive, liquid energy seems to ripple through the (now 6) dancers’ bodies, as with breathtaking skill and stamina they spin, roll and turn.  The movement quality is gloriously fluid. And the costumes are freer – cream coloured and loose, so that suit jackets fly open, shirts billow, long hair flies.  Text too, enters the work – pre-recorded snippets of conversations suggesting online dating, …. ‘Will you talk to me?  ‘You are nothing like your profile’.    

In Premonition, the dancers’ individual personalities are given a chance to shine – either as a couple finally finding that desperately sought-after connection, or in a trio, or captivating solo (ChengEn Lyu) of beauty, yearning and hope.  Vivid danced snapshots highlight moments of struggle.  Everyone is searching – for connection, for love, for something other than what is. I am captivated when one dancer (Cecelia Wilcox) takes off her overshirt and steps into that rectangle of light, claiming the stage with her presence.   

But then she starts to speak, and I feel as if a spell has suddenly been broken.  I don’t want that incredible dancing body to direct actual words at me.  And I’m having to strain to decipher what she is saying.  Her non-amplified voice sounds tentative, puny. …   ‘I don’t know how to fix it’.  ‘…. [I need to] find something else’ …  ‘Maybe it’s something else’?  I am disconcerted, wanting the messages to be communicated through the dancing body rather than the spoken word. But then maybe that is exactly the point – that in this chaotic, kaleidoscopic and increasingly virtual world in which face-to-face connection and community togetherness seems to be diminishing, lone voices are in danger of being drowned out.  Barely audible, ineffectual. 

There is a powerful – if fleeting – moment towards the end when, out of the flux, all 6 dancers simultaneously adopt a haka-like stance. They are motionless. There is a deep, whirring sound (a purerehua?)  It’ s as if a challenge is being issued: Find that ‘something else’ before it is too late. 

When they finally connect as 3 couples, the pair in the middle has one head flopped onto the other’s shoulder, as if in despair, or resignation, or simply exhaustion.  I find this final image intensely moving.  Meanwhile the clock ticks down. 

My admiration goes out to the dancers for their polished technique and breathtaking athleticism, and to the choreographers for creating works which invite (force?) their audiences to really think.  Just as in the 1920’s, visual artists in the West turned to investigating the subconscious as a reaction against the horrors of World War I, thus giving rise to Surrealism, so too,100 years later, the everchanging language of contemporary dance is finding new ways to reflect and interrogate the collective crises humanity currently faces.

Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Footnote’s Artistic Director, Anita Hunziker, for her long- standing passion and commitment to fostering and promoting contemporary dance in Aotearoa; and to her management team and board, and the sponsors, donors and audiences who continue to support this 39 year old, trailblazing company.  Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Gisborne looks forward to seeing you again next year. 


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Human stories glimpsed in fleeting detail

Review by Jenny Stevenson 03rd Mar 2024

Pondering the whimsical title IYKYK – a sort of text-speak conundrum – of Footnote’s latest double-bill programme, I concluded that for me at least, “If you know, you know” means “if you know good dancing when you see it, you know”.

Featuring choreography by Holly Newsome and Forest Kapo, the programme presents as a season of intelligent dance works by two disparate choreographers, who have nevertheless found common ground through their use of light, designed by Elekis Poblete Teirney as a medium to instigate action and through informing their choreographic design with the propulsive compositions of Emi Pogoni.

For the current IYKYK season, the three Footnote Company members Cecilia Wilcox, Veronica ChengEn Lyu and Airu Matsuda are supplemented by freelance artist, Jacob Reynolds and two interns, Deija Vukona and Peniperite Fakaua. I enjoyed the individuality of their approaches to each work and the high level of energy they brought to their performance throughout the evening.

Holly Newsome, who is Artistic Director of DTQ (Discotheque) dance company, incorporates visual art into her choreographic design and for her work Advance to Go, she has created a large box shape, sited centre-stage, with strip lighting that is illuminated at key moments in the work. Conceived as a riff on the game of life with its “rules” determining actions and interactions, the work is also an allegory for the growth of the human condition, as the players gradually evolve from sentient beings, begin to interact, then encounter set-backs or good fortune in a sort of “snakes and ladders” combo. 

Cecilia Wilcox is a revelation in this work. Her statuesque presence, strong technique and placing and crucially, her connection to the audience, is aided and abetted by some beautiful dancing by her fellow performers. The vocabulary is for the most part buoyant and dynamic, but as they enter the box shape and the lighting is activated – the dancers appear to be zapped of their energy, retreating, recovering and then once again joining the fray. Clad in tight-fitting black garments the dancers often seem to disappear into the darkness outside of the square.  By the end of the work however, as the driving rhythm accelerates, the dancers appear to be winning, finding their stride and displaying a strength of movement and forward momentum, while crossing freely through the box-shaped space.

Forest Kapo, creates an all-together more contemplative work in Premonition, as she anticipates and hopes for a world in which the salvation of humanity is achieved through individuals finding their “place in the sun”, by joining their tribe of choice.  The action appears to unspool backwards to the moment of premonition, as a digital timer display ticks away the seconds. The opening and closing images are of two men intertwined in an embrace, standing in the light – representing a safe pace in the darkness, perhaps.

The choreography depicts small fragments of human stories glimpsed in fleeting detail, as the dancers briefly converge in pairings or groups, then dissipate as a new movement phrase begins. Perhaps serving as a commentary on the often-transitory nature of even the most meaningful connection, it can be seen as a metaphor for the fragility of human relationships and the need to build upon a foundational bonding. The casual loose-fitting clothing that the dancers wear allows for individuality, without ostentation.

Kapo’s vocabulary is often soft and yielding, but there is a pleasing contrast with the dynamic of purposeful walking, in various directions, often with an underlying urgency to the movement. The small rectangle of light inserted downstage centre, appears to represent a place of “truth” as meaningful positioning and movement are apparent whenever a dancer or dancers find themselves in that space. 

In both works the lighting and sound play an important part in clarifying the intent. Collaborations of this nature are more and more an integral part of contemporary dance creation, fully reflecting the multi-dimensional approaches to theatrical presentation of our time.


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Beautifully executed movements

Review by Dr Debbie Bright 26th Feb 2024

The Meteor Theatre fills almost to capacity. In the centre of the stage, in front of a plain black set, stands a large open-sided cube, its borders marked by what appears to be white tubing. A focus for audience eyes and an immediate question of what it might be there for. 

Advance to Go – Holly Newsome.

I read in the programme: 

Negotiation, trust, trial, error. Stay in the game. Allegiances, enemies.

Life is simple if you know the rules. After all, it’s just a game. 

As the audience lights fade, I am drawn into the performance by the driving base, vibrating, rhythmic tones of Pogoni’s sound scape. One by one the dancers appear, moving backwards across the floor in a slow, horizontal, rhythmic, staccato ‘march.’ The tension builds as each dancer stands within the cube and continues to move forwards, still in a staccato, almost robotic walk. Like the set, the dancers are wearing black with white – close-fitting black, with angled strings and strips of white. Occasionally, a crescendo in the sound is accompanied by the cube’s borders lighting up. The dancers react.  Similarly, there are sudden short blackouts. The pace and intensity of action and the fixed direction of collective eye focus build, as the sound also builds. The throbbing base notes and strong rhythmic driving sense are reflected in more robotic marching movements, and the angular, staccato, fast-moving arms and heads, reminiscent of other contemporary genres. The size, intensity and energy of the movements build. 

As an audience member, I have been led from thinking, at the beginning: ‘That looks deceptively easy’, and recognising that, while the movements themselves might look ‘simple’, they are being performed by very well-trained individuals with consistently high levels of control, strength, concentration and precision, in unison with each other. As the dancers add sinuous arm movements and torsion within their bodies, I am so drawn into the visceral, throbbing, vibrating base sound and the dancers’ movements, that I find myself reflecting similar movements within my own body. 

The whole group pauses within the cube. Stillness, yet extreme body tension and acute focus, mirrored in the quieter, tension-building sound. A sense of barely-contained, internalised tension, threatening to burst out at any moment.  Finally, as the movement increases in energy, speed and skill, I am reminded that, in the programme notes, we are told that Holly Newsome is ‘fascinated in athleticism versus art’. There is certainly plenty of athleticism displayed in the high- speed, high energy movements, the brief meetings of individuals, working together for a short time and then parting, or quickly separating, as if they do not want to become friends. Brief alliances, rapid partings and realignings. ‘The game’ continues to the end of this work. 

Premonition – Forest Kapo

In the programme notes (written by forest Kapo and Veronica ChengEn Lyu) we read: 

The possibilities in all kinds of connections are often in the simple decisions. The ones that bypass the algorithms. I am here. Here you are… 

During the interval between the two works, audience members can see the cube of Advance to Go dismantled. A rectangle of white material is firmly attached to the floor in centre stage. A large digital clock appears from above and forms a moving lit-up backdrop, marking time, reminding me of its passing, the past, the present and the future and the words of Kapo in her programme notes, that, whatever the past or the future, love is intrinsic to the premonition of the best chance of moving forward and beyond. This clock continues to count off the hours, minutes and seconds throughout the work. As the dance begins, a single spotlight shines down on the white rectangle, its reflection providing light for the dance.  

With hints of the sound qualities and motifs of the first work, I am reminded that this sound scape was also developed by Pogoni. However, this sound track is more fluid and lyrical. Similarly, the opening of pairs of dancers in static embrace highlights a focus on connections, relationships. This focus is further emphasised through light-coloured trousers and tops- flowing items of individual street-wear – and a dance style that is fluid and lyrical. The soundtrack morphs, introducing distorted voices talking of everyday, often amusing conversations, narratives and interactions. Playful moments of fun interactions. A dancer remains alone on the stage and addresses the audience. Poetic, succinct. The sound scape becomes rhythmic, and the movement increases in speed and angularity. More unison rhythmic forward and backward motifs, reminiscent of marching groups. Sometimes starting as a small group that is joined by individuals, who, having spent time dancing with the main group, then peel off back into the wings, leaving a small group or individual dancer. I am struck by the sense that the dancers are either engaged in connections with at least one other or are alone and seeking to establish connections. 

As an audience member, I am constantly remembering that Premonition is looking to past, current and future connections in order to move us forward and beyond. The thought-provoking moments of dancing in light or in shadow, the forming and reforming of couples and groups and the aloneness of those outside looking in. And the return to pairs in static embrace at the end, as at the beginning. The high skill of beautifully executed movements, the focus and unity in playfulness and high energy sequences of soloists, duets and larger groups remain in my mind. 

Afterwards, I overhear another audience member talking of how good it is to experience live theatre, how much better it is than watching You Tube videos!

Well done choreographers, sound and lighting designers and dancers. 

Teno pai enei mahi!


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Dancers in their prime

Review by Tania Kopytko 16th Feb 2024

IYKYK (If You Know You Know) presented by Footnote New Zealand Dance is an exhilarating and highly physical show. The audience at the Globe Theatre, young and mature, are struck by the complexity of the movement and the energy and vitality of these young dancers in their prime. “How do they remember all that?” and “How can they leap up off the floor with such energy?” are just some of the comments from the audience. These are highly committed dancers who are a joy to watch.

IYKYK is a Double-Bill. The first work Advance to Go is choreographed by Holly Newsome who is Pōneke based. A graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance in 2016, she now works there as a contemporary dance tutor. Advance to Go is a strong in your face work. The lighting design for this work (Elekis Poblete Teirney) is fascinating. Dark and moody with a central skeletal light box shape which suddenly lights up in the progress of the work, it is accentuated by the relentless, driving, frenetic, digital referenced sound score (Emi Pogoni). Sometimes the box explodes with light and an accompanying boom and the dancers float, maybe like a child in a womb. The black costuming resembles body covering sportswear or perhaps robots. Newsome has created choreography to well match this driving score.  The dancers are sometimes robotic at other times well earthed with work often low and grounded. They thrill us with their athleticism, for example, their amazing roll across the floor where they also leap over each other. Midway, dancers striving with their upper body gestures are weighted down by others, an image that we can relate to in many ways – being held back in work, life or relationships, the burden of life. At other times the dancers show glimpses of very ordinary small and focussed human movements and gestures – glancing at a mobile phone, the scratch of a nose or an ear, perhaps reaching up to a bus ceiling rail or waving, through to the inference of rather unkind manipulation and games. This is a tough world and these characters are fierce. There is plenty for the audience to read and enjoy.

The second work Premonition, is by established choreographer Forest Kapo (Te Atiawa and Ngāti Raukawa) who currently resides and works in Melbourne. The narrative in this work is less clear but the choreographic motifs and movement vocabulary is by contrast more flowing and connected and uses height and the floor. There are beautiful group sequences and quick changing walking patterns. The costumes are white and beige and soft on the eye. But a highly contrasting, and somewhat distracting, electronic clock lurking above it all perhaps suggests that all this human interaction that goes on and on and evolves, might come to a doomsday end?  In Premonition the dancers again work close to each other and show their exquisite timing for duos group work, catches and falls. It is a beautiful work.

Congratulations to Footnote New Zealand dance and to the amazing dedicated dancers: Airu Matsuda, Cecilia Wilcox, Veronica ChengEn Lyu, Jacob Reynolds, Peniperite Fakaua and Deija Vukona. May your tour go well – don’t miss IYKYK!


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Power plays and intensity in satisfying Footnote double bill

Review by Brigitte Knight 22nd Jul 2023

Published in The Post

Footnote New Zealand Dance’s IYKYK (If You Know You Know) is a double bill of new works created by choreographers Holly Newsome and Forest Kapo for the company’s five fulltime dancers and intern Jacob Reynolds.

The satisfyingly full programming delivers a 90-minute production with intermission, allowing both choreographers the space and time to fully explore and realise their concepts and ideas. Presented in the asymmetrical space of the Hannah Playhouse, IYKYK sits comfortably in the severe, atmospheric environment, utilising lighting to minimise the need for set design.

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An absolute blood bath. Time has run out. Nothing left but dead ants

Review by CHLOE JAQUES 21st Jul 2023

If You Know You Know presented by Footnote New Zealand Dance, investigates the light and dark spaces that we as humans exist in. A double bill contemporary work by Holly Newsome and Forest Kapo – these two works present a game-like lens of viewing the human condition.
Newsome’s Advance To Go places emphasis on the bones of a giant white square deposited centre stage at Hannah Playhouse. One by one, dancers climb from an upper level, down a ladder and into something of a mineshaft, referencing either the start or end of the game. Robotic movements overtake the emotionless faces in a rewinding sensation and a solid beat breaks us into the fake simulation-like reality. A significant sound offering from Emi Pogoni permeates the entirety of the show and lighting designer Elekis Poblete Teriney compliments the deeply airy space with her distinct electric flavour. 

The behaviours and games of this fake yet real world, are established and complemented with a bouncing like quality from the dancers. At this moment, I am reminded of the quality of ants. Ants are strong, social, and segmented. Like ants burrowing into the ground, we burrow into the system. Deeper and deeper the dancers travel inwards. We are powerful in groups, yet weak as individuals. A helping hand reaches out for support – take my hand and I’ll help you. Or will I? 

Emma Cosgrave acts like a sort of popping candy throughout the first half. Giving us curious bursts of colour and smooth fluctuations of speed and agility, she compliments the strong stance that is Veronica ChengEn Lyu. This powerhouse duo is nuanced and technically seamless. 

An ongoing investigation of different versions of waving and walking evolves throughout. One minute the choreography drives the dancers, next they are dead weight and limp to the ground. Moving and running throughout the square’s insides, I wonder if the square even exists at this point? Or is it my mind playing tricks on me? Much like the game of Monopoly, you take two steps forward and one step back. The dancers replicate a similar movement pattern. 

A common movement pattern that occurs throughout – the dancers complete alternative versions of a stepping combination in solos, duos and trios. The use of repetition proves that the game indeed, can often be a slog, and of course, it can be tempting to escape… Levi Siaosi often appears to be escaping. Escaping the group’s collective energy and advancing an individual and eclectic style. A wholesome and grounded energy seems to cast over the divergent landscape like a hopeful net. 

Desperate running made me desperately want to sit in the exhausted breath for longer. Maybe a missed opportunity to really tease out the excruciating pain that is trying to play the game. What would actually happen if we gave up completely and just released it? What exactly are we all playing for? 

A red timer begins to count down. Forest Kapo’s Premonition begins. Integrating movement, sound, text and image, Kapo gives their audience a refreshing meditative exhale.
Looser white costumes are a stark contrast to the previous compression uniform. Perhaps a symbol of truce, an agreement between opponents to stop fighting. The white square signifies our quest for peace, both in ourselves and with each other, however, the slow evolutions of red staining the stage, dictate something sinister to come.
I begin to feel a strange sense of ease and dread simultaneously. Airu Matsuda and Jacob Reynolds reflect this. Developing a keenly intertwined and fluid duet, Matsuda entertains dominance in grounded floor work and Jacobs manifests a playful child-like quality. 

Time is running out. 

Cecilia Wilcox bombards the audience with absolute attitude. The energy and stance is controlled yet free, filling and holding the space as an important solo. I yearn for more of this.
At this point, text and voice become apparent. Wilcox suggests “You can believe me. I just think we need to start again”. Do you mean start the game again? 

The repetition and journey of walking in and out of the space, intertwining what we know and what we are yet to know, evolves as a fluid group curation. All of the dancers knit together as a unit, unlike some of the dead weight energy from the beginning.
I wonder if we can, in fact, learn from our past? Can we rewrite the future without having to start again? 

An absolute blood bath. Time has run out. Nothing left but dead ants. 


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