Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

18/03/2010 - 20/03/2010


Production Details

Pro-Posing is a show of change. It is a layered theatrical performance that directly references industries of posing. Both serious and satirical, the work is focused on exterior human constructions that symbolize ‘progress and prosperity’.

Anna most recently presented ‘Score’ in Auckland’s Tempo Festival, as a part of Prime Cuts. This work was nominated for Most Innovative Choreography.

"This piece had me on the edge of my seat, and really made me want to DANCE in salutation of the anti-social, the imperfect, the radiant strangeness of negotiating interactions with others" –
Alys Longley,

"Always unpredictable with quick-fire changes of mood and performer audience relationship… very much feels like a celebration of the wonderfully matched intensity and vitality of the dancers" – Raewyn Whyte,

The Basement
18-20 March at 7pm    
as part of the Fresh Produce season.   

Tuesday 16th – Sunday 28th March
The Basement , Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD

Tues 16 – Weds 17 March: Battered 7pm 
Thurs 18 – Sat 20 March: Pro-Posing7pm
Tues 16 – Sat 20 March: Green Room 8pm
Tues 23 – Sat 27 March: Wallflower & Shafted 7pm
Tues 23 – Sat 27 March: The Idea of America 8:30pm & Sun 28 March 2:00pm.

Door sales are available at The Basement Box Office one hour prior to the start of each show.

Anna Bate, Mariana Rinaldi and Kerryn McMurdo
Original Sound:
Sally Nicholas and Josh Tilsley

Dazzling detail

Review by Raewyn Whyte 19th Mar 2010

The extraordinarily detailed competition routines of bodybuilders, the well-rehearsed interchanges of WWE wrestlers, and the enthusiastic contortions of cheerleaders provide rich sources for Anna Bate’s Pro-Posing, a richly entertaining, thoughtfully considered and rigorously choreographed new dance work created in collaboration with dancers Mariana Rinaldi and Kerryn McMurdo.

Every aspect of muscular contortion, facial expression, body positioning and interaction sequence from the original source is closely scrutinized and faithfully replicated. You quickly come to appreciate the aesthetics of the well-turned ankle, the planar expanse of back and thigh revealed by a small twist of the torso, the delight of a full length limb flung out into the air.

The audience sits very close to the performers along what is normally a side wall of the Basement space, creating an even more intimate setting which changes the tiniest flicker of an eye into something of great significance.

The nuances of display intended for the championship podium read differently in the context of the art event: their transposition from muscle-bound strongmen to strong, lithe female dancing bodies warps things even further. The often grotesque detailing of every sinew one sees when bodybuilders strut their stuff is hinted at rather than being revealed. But another kind of grotesque takes its place as the straightforward pride in showing off one’s taut muscularity goes through a progression of flickering emotional states, slowly becoming combative, feral, paranoid.

At times a posing sequence is extended and intensified way beyond the limits of the original, or one element is overemphasised to transform the banal into something larger than life, or the timing of a sequence is manipulated to reveal what is normally hidden. By use of such compositional strategies, slowed-down wrestling sequences are transformed into abstract choreography, cheerleader tinsel pompoms are swung so fast they blur into fireworks displays, and the over and over repetition of the flashing gestures of triumph from “the winners” become caricatures.

Costumes are constantly changing, with t-shirts or stretch pants and various other stretchy lycra garments layered on or removed throughout the work, Always there remains a base layer of pantyhose over undies to cover all the bare skin, implying the sleekness of the oiled competitors without making it literal.

There is a heightened tension to proceedings, made explicit initially through the extraordinary and ever increasing gripping of muscles in the poses presented. In the bodybuilder sequences earlier in the show, this tension progresses from fists to biceps to torso and legs to collarbone and face – until there is a palpable sense of the body’s muscles quivering under the strain, and you almost fear someone will snap.

Later in proceedings, a similar intensity is transferred from bodies to garments as cardigans are swung in wide arcs and slapped onto the floor, over and over, whipping up dust and tinsel fragments in the whirlwind created by the speed of the whirl and the repetition of the movement.

Never in the least predictable, the work flows through a series of ever-changing trios, duets and solos seeded with iconic moments. The pace is measured, never rushed, and the sheer detail of movement delivered in the course of the work is dazzling. The performers have impeccable timing and make expressive use of their faces as well as their bodies throughout the show, delivering comedic sequences and moments of sheer hilarity with panache.  


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