Wellington Waterfront, Wellington

01/03/2019 - 03/03/2019

New Athenaeum Theatre, 24 The Octagon, Dunedin

16/03/2018 - 17/03/2018

The Performance Arcade 2019

Dunedin Fringe 2018

Production Details


‘Saudade’ is a movement and sound exploration of emptiness, absence and loneliness. An abstract portrayal of emotional storm, tracked in a physical body and manifested through all aspects of space (physical, psychological, metaphorical). It is an ongoing research of locating certain emotional states in the minded body through passing of time, and its transformation and response to different performative spaces. ‘Saudade’ is the longing for a long gone sensation, experience, state of being and space. It is loneliness and all the emptiness. A nostalgic feeling of absence. It is everything and nothing.

Supported by Wellington City Council Public Art Fund

1 – 3 Mar, 2.30 – 3.30PM/7- 8PM in The Body Box, Wellington Waterfront

Neža Jamnikar is a Slovenian contemporary dance artist who currently lives and creates in Auckland, NZ. She holds a BA (Slovenia) and MA (Ireland) in Contemporary Dance Performance. Since 2012 she has (co)created several full length performances and dance films, and performed extensively in Slovenia and at festivals abroad. She choreographed for Shawbrook Youth Dance Company (Ireland), Brookdance ’14, and was an Artist in Residence at TRY! Tipperary Residency (Ireland), Lake Studios Berlin, Oddstream Festival (Netherlands), HKICAROS (Hong Kong). She is a co-founder of a ‘Collective Frankies’ (Slovenia), which mainly creates site-specific work, and is an author of site-specific dance video series called ‘Moving Spaces’. She is currently performing her first full length solo ‘Saudade’ around NZ (‘Best Dance Performance’ at Dunedin Fringe Festival 2018) and is a part of different projects by independent artists coming from NZ and abroad.

Choreography and Dance: Neža Jamnikar

Original Sound Score: David Kocmur

Performance installation , Performance Art , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

45 minutes

The challenge of sharing

Review by Deirdre Tarrant 02nd Mar 2019

Saudade is performed in the aptly named BodyBox – a container on the wharf with a half-closed door and a rather makeshift light shade hanging from a wire across the ceiling. Enclosed and restricted in every way, a solo and very introverted figure moves to remove what are both physical and emotional restrictions. She exits the box but finds herself compelled to return.

Watching is interesting but not arresting and the guessing game ultimately loses its intrigue for me.

A fluid and committed performer sets herself a challenge to share with us but, as in life, so much is locked out – or in? I enjoyed the questions but did not feel compelled to care – maybe that is the point? These glimpses of other worlds in containers are all too easy to walk past and choosing to engage on a beautiful sunshine afternoon was not happening. Saudade is a Brazilian expression for profound longing, melancholy – a love lost –  perhaps night time and darkness would draw more audience?

Does this matter? She dances anyway.


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stream of consciousness expressed through movement.

Review by Hannah Molloy 17th Mar 2018

Saudade is an exploration of loneliness and absence. Neža Jamnikar explains in her synopsis that it evolved out of a personal experience and it feels like a stream of consciousness expressed through movement.

My guest and I talked a lot afterwards about what it might have been about – our thoughts ranged from living with an autism spectrum disorder to anorexia to a successful struggle with heroin addiction to the cycle from birth to death. The common thread was struggle.

The audience entered to find Jamnikar on stage with her head inside a lampshade suspended from the ceiling. She performed a large part of the show inside the shade and with her back to the audience. It felt alien and separate and I found myself, in the absence of facial expression and eye contact, distracted by other details – Jamnikar’s expressive feet, the way the light played across her back muscles outlined under her t-shirt. The choreography felt like an experiment with what her body can do and her control and the shapes she made were beautiful.

It’s an interesting piece of choreography because I couldn’t stop watching it but I also couldn’t see a story arc or how it might finish. I’ve often explained to friends that they don’t have to ‘understand’ what a contemporary dance work is ‘about’ and suggested they rather take the experience as it comes to them and analyse their reaction to it instead. I had to remind myself of this as I watched Saudade. I missed the sense of a journey through the work but I understand the importance of the expression of a personal journey and that my process isn’t the same as others and I accept that this was a complete story. I also found myself wondering what my reaction would be if I was watching the same work performed by an established company rather than a relatively recent graduate – this gave me some pause as I dissected the gravitas we give to work by ‘people we know’ or who have a ‘track record’ versus those who are at the beginning of their creative journey.

Watching Saudade made me think. 


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