Sculpture Meets Dance

Hamilton Gardens, English Flower Garden, Hamilton

24/02/2024 - 03/03/2024

Hamilton Arts Festival Toi Ora ki Kirikiriroa 2024

Production Details

Created by Helene Burgstaller, Veronica Butturini and Margaret Dewes


Encounter a contemporary dance troupe on a tour around the Boon Sculpture Trail in Garden Place and Civic Square (in front of the Hamilton City Council building).

The architecture of the city comes to life as the dancers sculpt their moving bodies around multidimensional structures. The performers’ dialogue brings breath and movement, adding another element to this equation of art.
These performances are suitable for all ages. Bring along your whanau for a unique adventure in the Hamilton CBD.
Koha welcomed.
Sculpture Meets Dance is a collaboration between the Waikato Contemporary Dance Project Trust, Boon Sculpture Trail and the Hamilton Arts Festival Toi Ora ki Kirikiriroa and is only possible thanks to the incredible support of the Hamilton Central Business Association.
Garden Place, Hamilton, Waikato

Sunday 3 March 2024 12:00pm and 3:00pm

Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust dancers Helene Burgstaller, Veronica Butturini and Margaret Dewes

Dance , Contemporary dance , Site-specific/site-sympathetic ,

60 mins

Interacting with the environment as they go

Review by Sue Cheesman 26th Feb 2024

Billed as Sculpture meets Contemporary Dance on tour around the Boom Sculpture trail, beginning in Civic Square and ending in the adjacent Garden Place for the Hamilton Arts Festival. Presented by Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust dancers Helene Burgstaller, Veronica Butturini and Margaret Dewes embody the contemporised movement vocabulary extremely well as the meld and morph across the spaces interacting with the environment as they go. Complementing their movements in several sections of their journey is an earthy, ambient music score created by Skye Colonna. Speaker buddy half dressed in yellow PVC followed us everywhere providing the sound score loud and clear.

The performance begins in a tableau with three dancers on a bench playing with each other’s long hair while snippets of chat and giggles drift across to us and reminded me of friends/siblings hanging out.

The dancers part and we notice that two of them have their hair plated together – no escape, a tussle of wills takes place as they repel, yield, connect, manipulate each other, dancing back and forth across the courtyard.

The dancers migrate to three large red hued palm bark pieces placed one on top of another in an arty sculpture formation. Using each piece as a dance partner they rotated them through the space over, under and past creating a mesmerising effect.  At one point they slowly move forward evoking an image of tree goddesses as the palm is held directly over the face towering upward.

Moving up and down with the palm they appear to sail across the space to the next site – a water feature.

On arrival there is a sense of stillness created as they drape backwards long hair in the water, and we are left to contemplate this stunning image which at one point transformed into the ritual of hair washing. We change pace as they evoke the fascination of water through the usual dynamic antics seen in the form of splashing, twisting, leaping, turning through the water in unison. The palms are attached to the fountain and water pours down each one, reminiscent of the Cuba Mall buckets. The audience are also invited to feel the water.

On to a wide expanse of grass with a giant tree in the middle and book ended by two boom sculptures. The dancers play and romp in the space lusciously rolling, cascading in and out of the ground and one dancer to another. 

Relationships between these three dancers and the environment – sculptures, grass/earth, tree and palm bark constantly change as they perform on different levels, in unison, as a trio, one versus two and as solos, sinuously transforming from one to the next as they journey across the site. 
The liquid fluidity of the moves is seamless as they change levels, meet and part, lift and fall, creating different patterns and relationships to the urban space particularly the Boom sculptures. The second to last sculpture is a giant abacus and many hands make for quick addition.

I found the last section incongruence with what I had seen previously. The pop-disco moves with dancers dressed in a wacky array of bright colours and prints seemed very much at odds with the previous moods and quality. Although there was a connection to the bright colours on the last sculpture danced around.

The weather stayed dry, and the seamless transitions between areas coupled with the vibrancy and possibilities of the varying features of the site made this piece interesting.


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