BATS Theatre, The Propeller Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

06/06/2017 - 10/06/2017

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

27/06/2017 - 01/07/2017

KIA MAU Festival 2017

Production Details

Lick my Past enjoys the vast array of relationships two women can have.

N and K do serious dance work that’s funny.

Playful and exuberant Nancy and Kelly don’t take themselves too seriously now that their long stressful dance careers are a matter of choice. Its surprising just how strange and funny these two Maori and Pakeha wahine’s lives can be as they slip between both as friends and foe.

They dance through the mundane to great music, transform the stage with their powerful imagery and relish their impeccable kinetic timing together. Life is extraordinary with them.

“There is a beautifully formed calf and ankle; an undulating belly, a smoothly rounded shoulder…..set to a wild collage of music clips.” – Raewyn Whyte

“Kinaesthetic memories, sensory histories and refections that generate may images and feelings.” – Carol Brown

“Lick My Past is a timely reminder of the wit, finesse, power and wisdom of women… I found myself seamlessly transported into sensuous and sensitive intimacy throughout, often without realising…” – Tama Waipara




  • DATE: 27 JUN – 1 JUL
  • TIME: 8:00PM
  • PRICE: $15 – $20

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Directors and Dancers: Kelly Nash and Nancy Wijohn
Creative support from previous season: Rachel House, Megan Adams, Daniel Cooper, Rowan Pearce.
A.V Design Rowan Pearce and Lou Potiki Byrant

Contemporary dance , Dance ,

1 hour

fragments, a family album

Review by Tru Paraha and Jesse Quaid 29th Jun 2017

these are the fragments of what may have happened

           are the frag        ts of   what may have

th ese are the fragments               may

This is what was seen; fragments, a family album. Snapshots, posed, candid, every possible experience packed in, and it’s

             not poetry

             but a critical re-view

you don’t like it you can


lick my past

offbeat moments

lick my pussy

that affect us the most

lick my patu


balaclava faces / blacked-out She designz / we’re laughing with / in front of, at you

gangsta collisions / absent knives / strokings into out of each others

star-dust diamond on the inside, whakapapa spine


when wāhine make darklove ink tears

spurt out of/between t.heir tatau thighs ( & eyes &


they step into the light, two black clad figures with bright red mouths. A parody, stand-ins for themselves. It’s like watching the inside of mind, the thoughts behind the dancer’s career.


Wijohn / Tūhoe tū tonu / athlete-comedian-slayer / strips them to their knees

back dragged with table

& behold, a quiet chair


quaint rose in vase

aroha dripping all over the everywhere


                  Your sister, your best friend, and a careful painted pose; these women shine brightest outside the conventions of “contemporary.” Posture and face, overt and sailing so perilously close to oversaturation.


Nash / memorial bone stores / 3rd-eye girl

lyric finesse her dancing years / this body that has loved fucked birthed been touched

made contact with (deepthink) care


(life exists most in the asides)


crescent moon                                    movement in phases

surround head &

face is drowning under


An essential, onstage costume change.

Tableau, black against black are a pointed send up, all lines and form

then re-appear                                                The effect lost as the lights reveal more.

now She is

her(e               this dance is queer

& they are… a competition, filled with the sporadic one-upmanship of children. Sometimes

we’re watching two assured and playful women. Sometimes it’s five-year olds


mirrors, entangling bloodline / limb / toe to toe

slow concealing

cheeky creepy theatre show

bits of clothes

& before we were flesh                                                          They strip each other, playfully

just shards of glass / hips & ass                                              clinical. Flesh revealed, but

headless play-date / the body                                                nothing exposed.

beyond the sum of its parts


They hide behind mirrors. This is a lazy Sunday in bed. Voyeuristic; but the subject is the real watcher here. Nancy, entranced, constructing her image but

never ever looking.


in the Meta dreamspace contemporary dance vocabularies, absurdly

beautifully executed become

a kind of

                  A different fragment. Nancy is beguiling as she chases a balloon across the stage, tragic

as she sketches a family fantasy into the space.

see what you aren’t saying ladywhores u

madness matakite

its hilarious / oh / its delightfully serious


unison so out of sync / feels like these bodies belong together                    They lie together

or never / or forever

full frontal & defaced

a race / jete / & parrr de boray

&what this retro-menstrual music

love songs all daynight long

                    the movement of a hand leading

to a wave of effortlessly articulate movement.

It is mesmerising.

It leads us nowhere

open y)our

sweet pink

wall of aching breasts             yes & yes

 So much build that the payoff leaves me still waiting

my neck           my back

my       &         my


pushing the edges of the object

sloshing the dredges of the sobject

mushing the

humannothumannot human nonhuman man not humane


Showgirls! Although the finger clicks may be offbeat there is a spark, they love this, straight up, uncomplicated. They tango, dip like the movies.

this bitch is preggers

the woman is pregnant

that girl has a bun in the oven

e hapū ana te kōtiro nei

she is with child


what a lovely babymaker

love & marriage (goes together like horsey &


Why is our affection most easily shown in clichés?

pull up top / squeeze out front bottom

face down



A tall wooden chair, a cushion (spurned), roses.

The perfect image, disturbed and pulled apart

by the lure of the moon. Round, and round, dragged inexorably offstage.


back to back / black on black

slide to recline                                                         The moon reappears, horns lifted to the sky. Smug

fall away, dissolving through

surrender                                                                                Which can only carry you so far.

into tender ends or

beginning again                                                                     




kō ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa i runga te āhuaranga o Matariki, me tēnei nekenekehanga e tū mārika nei.



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An intimate and comedic journey

Review by Leah MacLean 09th Jun 2017

As part of the Kia Mau Festival (2-24 June) Kelly Nash and Nancy Wijohn take us an on an intimate and comedic journey in their dance-theatre work Lick My Past. Through the lens of two independent women as partners, performers, friends and enemies; this is a journey which explores relationships, self-discovery, liberation and everything in between. 

The work opens with the two suavely dressed women frantically darting around the stage to Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, being sure to keep track of the others path, though keeping physical contact to a minimum.  With their deft movements, pointed toes and leaps I am reminded of a contemporary ballet piece; paired with eccentric facial expressions and unusual tableaus it is a hilarious one at that. This sets the tone for most of the work – Lick My Past is an exuberant, funny and unique collage of life’s moments; one that has me smiling for the hour duration. 

Read the review

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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Like, lack, lick!

Review by Chris Jannides 08th Jun 2017

Nancy Wijohn and Kelly Nash perform beautifully together. These mature dancers exude experience and class. Lick My Past, the performance they have created together, is a cheeky title. It’s rude. Is it a tasty past we’re being offered? Some bits are. The tastiest bit for me is a gentle duet towards the end of the piece that starts with each of them lying on their back, side by side. First one then the other uses brushing hand actions to create beautiful circular shifts and changes in the torso and movements of the other. I feel myself being moved by the hand motions and subtle angles of physical movement. I am reeled in as a viewer round the outside and then through the side of the action into its core. Choreographically, this is one of the more structurally intricate moments. But quite short. More like this is something I miss elsewhere in the work. The show in general makes its efforts to reel me in too obvious, and so it doesn’t, but here it does without even trying. They’re always the best kind!

Other elements that interest me are theatrical. Although these two performers are contemporary dancers, both with illustrious backgrounds and careers in that art form, and the work uses dance as its primary language, videos, props, costumes and a crescent-shaped headdress create bizarre surreal effects that tip the work into the realm of theatre of the absurd (ably assisted by videographer Rowan Pierce). Although most of the show is music-driven, a vocal section breaks the muteness of their dance personas. The dialogue here makes the theme of history the most apparent through direct reference to events in each of their pasts that they attach to specific areas of the body. I appreciate the invitation to consider the body as a living storage unit of our personal history. A kind of bio-physical Akashic record where everything that’s ever happened to us is locked away in a cellular memory bank.

For visual stimulation, I also enjoy the work with mirrors held in front of the body that do weird things with the performers’ legs and hands. I can play in my mind with a multitude of intriguing interpretations. A torso replaced by what it faces. Depth that’s surface deep. An emptiness to replace solidity. The framing of perception. You think you see me but you’re really seeing yourself. Dance and movement-related theories associated with so-called ‘mirror neurons’. Etc., etc. This is a fun concept, conceptually and visually.

What interests me less, in terms of personal taste, is the front-on delivery of most of the performance. One designed, I might think, to create relationship and impact. But a form of impact that undercuts itself, which is a statement they make quite clearly with a series of comical poses and lifts that have all the lead-up and ta-da but none of the pay-off. This is the show stamping itself with a kind of ‘this is what I am’ statement. We are invited to think and interpret its offerings metaphorically. It is tricky territory when performers want us to interpret physical metaphor. The ambiguity of how to read what is being delivered in this show for me hovers around the question, does it have substance or is it an empty facade? Wijohn does a solo that finishes with the shock of falling on a belly made pregnant with a balloon whose popping sound and implied foetal brutality sends an instant gasp through the audience, most particularly in the body of the woman sitting next to me. Yes, perhaps this is a facade masquerading as substance designed mostly for impact! Or perhaps it isn’t!

Lick My Past uses an ironical form of humour and a tongue-in-cheek delivery that relies too heavily on flattening themselves in a mirror-like configuration on a side-to-side Egyptian plane, this then flattens the work and deprives it of depth. We are being controlled too much by this face-to-face mode and being made to look at only what is given us. Are they frightened to make us look obliquely, to gaze round the corner of an idea to see not only shades of meaning, but what might be being concealed? This question is echoed by a very brief revealing of a backdrop of naked breasts that then quickly gets hidden again. Tantalising – yes, promising – yes, succulent – yes, but are we, like good little piglets, to get a good stomach guzzling fill of performance quenching satisfaction?  -no. Little tastes and tidbits is all this litter is getting. 

The format of a smorgasbord of ideas loosely strung together to create scenes and vignettes is a common practice in dance. What is stopping choreographers from taking one of their seeds and expanding it into a fuller work? The smorgasbord approach to me is holding the art form back. 

Dance theatre, which is what these two artists are working in, has the capacity to unpack its themes in ways that go beyond simply showing off complex, athletic or virtuosic movements and patterns. The depth of experience and intelligence of mature dancers can lead the way here, simply because they’ve outgrown the body-centered, energy-driven, narcissistic phase of younger dancers and what is left, once that is put aside, are all the other ways dance can move us. Wijohn and Nash to my mind have not sufficiently used their experiential maturity, their dramaturg or their choreographic support personnel to push them strongly enough into the more visceral territory that a title like Lick My Past suggests or promises. They stay coy. They stay nice. They stay removed. At no point do I feel the kind of intimacy associated with the licking of private parts exposed and laid bare as personal history. But they have lots of great ideas.


nothing June 9th, 2017


Kelly Nash June 9th, 2017

Thanks for your review Chris. It's the big picture stuff which gets me with this kind of review and makes it more devastating. The fact we received no funding, even though we religiously followed the track of creative new Zealand's objectives.  The fact that men dominate most top positions in dance, the fact we perform for free and pay everyone else, raise children, nurse a dying parent, have no money to employ an outside eye and try to push through and do it on our own impacts us greatly. It's really a mind fuck. I have to say your review sparked a depression in me about the futility of even trying to do this thing and present work because in this current climate it's shit for us. We can't make a work to the level we want in these conditions.

We use all the strategies we can to engage audiences and one way was through the name but it is the conditions that limited our depth, not our capability. We pushed boundaries best we could, failing to meet your 'expectations' as we had no time to put energy into the 'dancey' aspects of the show overrun by the administration, recovery from debt and life overload. I really don't think your review encourages us to continue nor does it provide us with any viable contrustive insight to apply to the work.  We are not in your position and have not had the opportunities you have had as a person nor as a man.

I really thinkreviewers should be more accountable for there contribution to the continuing dimsmanteling of peoples earnest efforts to contrubute in the arts community with such limited resources. Lets lift each other up so we can get out of this self sacrificing bottom heavy scene and appreciate those people who have the mana and manakitanga to get behind people and support with their generosity.  Thanks to Kia Mau festival, Te pou Theatre, Daniel Cooper and our friends and family for creating creative platforms to present our work, rehearsal spaces, dramaturgical support, love, effort and energy! 

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