Lazy Suzy Boy

Helensville War Memorial Hall, Auckland

09/10/2012 - 10/10/2012

Tararua Tramping Club, 4 Moncrieff St, Mt Victoria, Wellington

07/11/2013 - 10/11/2013

Kumeu Community Hall, Auckland

12/10/2012 - 13/10/2012

Dance Wellington 2013

Production Details

Keeping the work in her backyard, Dewey will also offer a series of free workshops aimed at younger people open to 8 – 16 year olds. The work that is created in these workshops will form five minutes of the local performance. These fresh performers will have a chance to showcase their talent (albeit brief) and have the chance to work alongside professional dancers and regular Spinning Sun performers Julie van Renen, Elizabeth Kirk and Liana Yew.

Having created stunning works such as Left and Right and the critically acclaimed Shine Lady, Spinning Sun artistic director Ann Dewey is one on New Zealand’s foremost Contemporary Dance teachers and choreographers. She has performed with many professional companies in The U.K and New Zealand, namely Janet Smith and Dancers, DV8 Physical Theatre, Douglas Wright Dance Company and Michael Parmenter’s Commotion Company.

Dewey and her company are also regular tutors in many education projects in Auckland schools; most notably with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. She has written the first Contemporary dance syllabus in the country, which is taught throughout New Zealand. She has taught both nationally and internationally at levels ranging from professional companies to community classes. 

Lazy Suzy Boy investigates power in relationships – between people and between humans and our environment. Despite the intensity of the subject matter the work is peppered with Ann’s trademark style of excitement, humour and enlightenment.

For show and workshop bookings, email

1 hour

Intimate, cosy and unpretentious

Review by Jillian Davey 08th Nov 2013

Shows in non-traditional venues are adventures; a bit like a school-trip, a chance to get out of the normal setting, and also a small chance of being overlooked by the general theatre-going public.

I waited at the side entrance of the Tararua Tramping Club on one of Mount Vic’s back streets with a handful of other audience members.  They all seemed to personally know choreographer Ann Dewey, who greeted us as the doors opened.

A bit afraid that there would be a severe lack of bums-on-seats, I was glad the seating arrangement was limited and the dozen or so audience members made a respectable half-full house.  It was intimate and cosy and there was a sense of privilege to be a member if this small “club”.

The work opened with a solo performed by Liz Kirk and a backdrop of a forest scene (courtesy of a kitsch blanket on a moving panel).  Kirk embodied the nuance of the fauns printed on the blanket, both graceful and awkward, and set the scene for the rest of the show.

The hour-long work unfolded in much the same way, with three or four other panels gliding, revealing, and hiding the three dancers.  In a way, it reminded me to a low-budget, slowed down pong game.  In fact, if Nijinsky’s ‘Afternoon of a Faun’ had be turned into a video game it would look a bit like ‘Lazy Suzy Boy’.

Dancers Julie Van Renen, Liz Kirk, and Liana Yew were of obvious professional quality even if the production and venue qualities were not.  But that was half the fun of this quirky work; the juxtaposition of succinct, professional movement and kitsch, low budget props  made for some great surprising moments.  One of which delighted me like a small child watching a magic trick; when all three dancers were revealed behind the moving screens, but one panel continued to move of its own accord.  It was later revealed that there was a fourth performer, guest Paul Konings.  Koning’s untrained movement style was a wonderful addition to the trained dancer’s.  His loping form and grizzled face were as interesting to watch as the dancer’s wide eyed grace.  He evoked a kind of Tom Waits creepiness without being off-putting… just interesting.

I unashamedly admit that I have little idea what “Lazy Suzy Boy” was about.  (There were hints of human-over-nature and man-over-woman themes, but nothing so confronting that a major theme dominated.)  Nor do I think it matters.  It was enough to enjoy the subdued atmosphere and quirkiness of this small production.

Go for the imaginative gnarled-yet-refined choreography, Liana Yew’s intense stare and stage presence, and Paul Konings’ wonderfully un-cool movement, and enjoy an hour of unpretentious contemporary dance theatre.


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The essence of dance as a living art form

Review by Jack Gray 14th Oct 2012

Dear Ann and Spinning Sun (an open letter to the community)

Congratulations for a fine performance of Lazy Suzy Boy at Kumeu Community Centre. 
I will admit prior to coming that I had not seen any publicity about the show – its so much nicer sometimes to just see things for what they are. So without any conditional expectations, I happily came along with my friend Cindy to support the art, the community and share in the bond of just being a New Zealander.
Being fresh-eyed in the world is a natural part of traveling and why Kiwis (being naturally flightless) benefit a lot from getting out of our country. Coming back from an amazing stream of life changing experiences in the United States through working with indigenous communities in dance – I returned with a yearning for ways in which we as artists, can inform, inspire and reflect the values of our land and people and carry that responsibility of affecting others forward. 
I know in myself that it can be far too easy to slip into a malign sense that we don’t have enough resources to make our art or practice sustainable (this is of course one of our many homegrown illusions). Seeing your show however highlighted to me the powerful essence of what it is that you as an artist have been doing, making and putting out there for such a long time.
I reminisce fondly about Nine Daisies (2000/2) where you, Eden, Anna and Megan travelled a delightful carload from private house to garden to share in a troubadour sense of entertaining and of ritualistic gathering in intimate homes. There were echoes of community gathering in the knitted set design of Left and Right (2009) with donated pieces sent from all over the globe. But most of all the Lazy Suzy Boy community hall experience brought me back to the heart of things. Where our grass roots truly lie. Whether it was a Maori pa or provincial town hall – the cornerstone of what unites NZ community values comes from these places and it is the support of the people itself that reminds us that we are interconnected and valued as generations – the young toddlers sitting along the front row, the mums and dads, friends, elderly. 
So the dance unfolds. It is in one word pristine. There is the earthiness of the sliding frames jokingly draped with kitsch fleeced blankets with a pattern of two deer in a forest or one of a blue and purple tiger. You can buy these at West Auckland $2 shops and I marvel at the tasteless fabulosity. There are ONLY three lights (signature work lights mounted on boxes – one centre and two front sides). The doors of the hall let in natural light – which serves a ridiculously profound effect of providing the dance with a sense of real twilight transition. When I look at the gorgeous Liz Kirk assuming her doe position next to the deer blanket, her feminine tilt and long neck capturing a painterly gaze – I almost lose it. What the heck?! How effing BEAUTIFUL. In New Mexico I had been learning how to ‘see’. See dappled light hit landscape. See leaves make natural arrangements on an outside table. See imperfections through the murkiness of high mountain stream water. In the dance I saw Liz become. I saw light become. I saw alchemical transformation in the middle of a West Auckland paddock. 
As the dance continued I felt a new vibration. I was interested to read character of emotionality from the dancers. What I saw was deeper and more rigorous. I saw years of you, Ann working away with your dancers in a hall up in Leigh, North of Auckland. I saw the relinquishing of fussy gestures and a pointed focus on minute detail – the precision of which was clear and served many purposes. I saw a craft that has been endangered by our current cultural political and social desire to escape reality – resurrected to a place of balance, security, distillation and of  being sure. 
I often look at dancers faces. I love honesty and this is in many forms. I enjoyed that the dancers maintained a clear face with moments of when their eyes read like fire. Composure is a different thing to complacency. The physical in this case allowed for a transcendence – gave me my own humanity in a way. I loved that Megan found it bleak and depressing, inhuman almost. I on the contrary found it hopeful. Dignified. Humble. We agreed it was a breakthrough. 
Looking at it – I smiled when I realised this was pure Indigenous Dance of New Zealand. It grew from the land in the same vein as produce from the Matakana markets. In our national statement to the World – do we WANT to be represented by our colonial/colonized past? Racial inequities? Political despair? Constantly referencing who we are – but really who are we?! I looked around at this community experience – being shared with the children, the adults, the family – knowing Kumeu is about as far from New York that you can get.  And then, and then knowing that this piece of freshly squeezed dance is exactly what the world needs to see. Dance that sees beauty in the ‘mundane’ (what really is mundane actually?), dance that allows us to breathe and see (pictures of bears being drawn, dancers bodies wheeling across the floor on a moveable cushion, and also dance that references. 
What I didn’t know was that Marianne Schultz wasgoing to be dancing. Her reveal was amazing. I cheered. Why the heck not? She’s a legend of dance. I have vague youthful memories of seeing Limbs videos at high school – and before Limbs she was a 1980’s New York Dancer! That’s no small feat. And guess what – she rocked. I love to see our elders show their magic. Her eyes, intention, body, timing – was captivating. I’d dispense with the ‘guest dancer’ role and offer it straight out. She owned it. 
The dancers – so often the last to be praised. They were intense. They also nailed it. Liana Yew showing her attitude, feisty, ethnicity, worldliness, hominess – Julie Van Renen in my favorite performance yet: control and clarity, power and sleekness – and the experienced Liz Kirk. Her eyes direct us hypnotically. No one dances like Liz. She was goddess and she was absurd. She should be dancing in Berlin. 
So my only grumble is not for the dance but for the thinking. I saw a leaflet explaining the raffle proceeds were to get the show to Wellington and Christchurch and (hopefully New York). It pained me to see that this was in brackets and ‘hopefully’. There’s no hoping about it. It MUST go to New York. It needs to bring this vision to people who have been struggling to find the essence of community and solidarity. Again it is our responsibility not wishful thinking. Secondly the programme notes peed me off. It was ‘nonsense’ and the meaning could be anything you wished. I feel that to call the dance nonsense is a disservice. For me Dance is sacred and we need to continue elevating the truth. Be it and share it and allow it to reach us. 
For me it did and this is my letter of gratitude. 
Jack Gray


Lyne Pringle October 17th, 2012

Nice words Jack - Spinning Sun's work was/is special!!

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Lovely dancing, playful subversion and poignancy

Review by Jenny Stevenson 11th Oct 2012

I would be prepared to travel a long way to see the enigmatic Marianne Schultz perform.  Turns out I only had to pop down to the local hall last night where she featured as guest artist in Ann Dewey’s newest work for Spinning Sun: Lazy Suzy Boy.

In an outstanding community dance initiative, Spinning Sun is at the tail end of a tour of North Auckland townships where the company has worked with young dancers in each centre giving them the opportunity to be the curtain-raiser for the main performance.  In Helensville, the delight on the young dancers’ faces is a joy to see, as they confidently perform their dance and then become highly appreciative front-row audience for the rest of the show.

Lazy Suzy Boy is self-described as “a bit of nonsense” so it doesn’t pay to search for deep meanings.  Instead it suffices to sit back and enjoy some lovely dance by Liz Kirk, Liana Yew and Julie van Renen and of course Marianne.  The music by James Hayday creates a cool ambience – which is then playfully subverted with some light-hearted jokey sequences. 

Ann Dewey sets the scene as one of illusion with mobile screens and trolleys enabling bodies to magically appear and disappear.  Covered in particularly kitsch animal scenes two of the screens appear also to influence the choice of movement material – such as the homage to Nijinski’s L’Après-Midi d’un Faune.  Ann re-creates the lovely languorous movement quality, sideways hands and averted eyes of Nijinski’s demure nymphs, and then breaks the spell with Liana’s energetic solo of defiance.

The work progresses into an exploration of bear-like movement that sees the dancers incorporate the upper body in rolling movements and gesticulate with claw-like hands.  A mystery guest entrapped behind a screen makes a tentative appearance but is quickly upstaged by Marianne in fine and stroppy form.  The highlight of the evening is watching her sail across the stage in a magnificent Boadicea-like posture on a red-satin plinth and then re-appearing to weep uncontrollably accompanied by a tinkling cow-bell.

The movement vocabulary becomes the consistent element in an evening of unusual happenings.  The dancers return again and again to an undulating swooping and lunging vocabulary that intertwines legs and arms and angles the body épaulement-like to the audience.  The style is pleasing and smooth, performed either solo, in duet or in trios.  The three dancers invest their own individual personae subtly into their performance.

Liz Kirk is manipulated, puppet-like, in a poignant solo that hints at brutal wild-animal captivity,and then the action speeds up with Julie van Renen clattering across the stage in high-heeled red-shoes and various mad-cap outbursts culminating in revelations by the mystery guest. 

Although there is only one more appearance in the current season there are more performances planned for the future.  Look out for it.


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