Short + Sweet Dance 2014 - Programme 2

TAPAC - The Auckland Performing Arts Centre, Auckland

19/09/2014 - 20/09/2014

Production Details

Short+Sweet Dance 2014 Opens Next Week
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Opening Next Week
Short+Sweet Dance offers full flavoured works in bite-sized time slots

Short+Sweet Dance swings into Auckland this month with 27 bite-size performances across the weeklong festival.

Running from 16-21 September at The Performing Arts Centre of Auckland (TAPAC), Short+Sweet Dance features works from more than 30 different choreographers, and with each piece lasting up to 10 minutes, each night audiences see up to 14 unique dance works in 90 minutes.

Short+Sweet Dance is part of Short+Sweet Festival Auckland and follows a fortnight of theatre and a week of music performances. Festival Director Sums Selvarajan says Short+Sweet Dance is a feast of styles – including ballet, hip-hop, R&B, jazz and more – and the next performance is only ever 10 minutes away! At the end of each night, the audience votes for their favourites to go forward to the gala final.

Short+Sweet Dance Artistic Coordinator Jessie McCall says the event offers audiences a truly rewarding artistic experience.

“Not only does the variety of entries provide an exciting range of content, but the viewer plays an active role in selecting our finalists – we want to know what you think! Each item has been hand-picked for originality, performer skill level and choreographic potential and so the gala final line-up is a great taster of some of the best new dance works that Auckland has to offer,” she says.

“I love hearing about each choreographer’s unique vision – be it serene, zany, challenging, humorous or sombre, and being able to help bring this to life on stage.”

In its entirety, Auckland’s Short+Sweet Festival boasts an incredible 35 plays, 27 dance performances and nine short music performances over four weeks and involves 50 directors, 40 playwrights, 30 choreographers, nine composers and close to 300 performers.

Short+Sweet Dance is at TAPAC, 100 Motions Rd, Western Springs in Auckland from 16-21 September.

Programme Information |
Buy Tickets Here |
About The Venue |

Ticket Prices
$25.00 | General Admittance
$20.00 | Concession (Child, Student with ID, Goldcard)
$35.00 | Gala Final & Award

About Short+Sweet

This simple format, started in Sydney in 2002 and Melbourne at the Arts Centre in 2006 (after a Shorter+Sweeter season in 2005) with text-based theatre seasons, has spread throughout Australia and now has migrated to New Zealand and South East Asia. It has also been successfully adapted to other performing arts in festival formats which are similarly being replicated in other countries.

The first Short+Sweet Theatre festival in New Zealand was presented in January of 2010 and has become an annual fixture in Auckland’s performing arts calendar.

Choreographers – Short+Sweet Dance 2014 | GROUP 2

Sophie Follett (People’s Choice 2013)
Shreya Gejji (of Prayas Youth Theatre – Highly Commended 2013)
Jahra Wasasala + Grace Woollett
Kura Te Ua
Rose Philpott
Aruna Po-Ching
Virginia Kennard
Philippa Pidgeon
Autumn Marie Dones
Jess Quaid
Jennifer de Leon
Tracy Templeton with Masha Johnson (Latinissimo)
Jeremy Haxton
Eve Veglio-White + Helene Burgstaller

S+S Dance 2014 | Group 2
Fri 19 Sep 7.30PM
Sat 20 Sep 7.30PM

Going through from Programme 2: 


An Ocean Within
Choreographer/DancerAutumn Marie Dones,Cathy Livemore & TBC

Dancers Kura Te UaSophie WilliamsBeez Ngarino Watt & Karena Koria

Choreographer Jahra Rager
Dancers Grace WoollettJahra RagerMattie Hamuera & Alisha Anderson


Speaking Tubes
Choreographer Elle Farrar
Dancers Reece Adams,Lydia Connolly-Hiatt & Ben Mitchell

numero numero
Choreographer/DancerRose Philpott & Sofia McIntyre
Music Touch the Leather – Fat White Family

Choreographer/DancerShreya GejjiNatasha Trilokekar & Parvathy Krishna

1 hour

More than one potential winner

Review by Briar Wilson 22nd Sep 2014

There is more than one potential winner in this show of showrt works competing for awards.  

Three dancers, heads masked, all in a row, each bent at the waist over the back of the one in front, waddle onto the stage in Speaking Tubes (choreographed by Elle Farrar).  They are accompanied by muffled words – as if spoken through speaking tubes?  They include “National”, “Labour”, and then “mine” from each of two as they tussle over the third guy.  The group has a pretend fight, then “hello” as they fall across the floor still in a group.  A fun entertaining piece with interesting well developed movement.

Jess Quaid starts Combdrums in a duet with a chair, accompanied by ticks from a clock.  Despite wearing a playsuit, her movement shows struggle, particularly after dramatic music takes over, when perhaps her well trained body displays “the oddities” of the programme notes.  Quaid articulates an extensive range of strong movement.

An Ocean Within draws soft swaying movement from three liquid dancers, Autumn Marie Dones, Cathy Livermore and another, who enter in a bluish light to the sound of heavy rain.  They alternate unison with solos as they exchange places in the spotlights and then depart in a fading light to the sound of crashing waves.  A lyrical piece.

Jeremy Haxton’s piece, A Measure of success for a measure of freedom, starts with him lying face down side to the audience with a small model of a house on his back.  It turns out that the house is chained to him, which is what his movements grapple with.  He has a patch over his mouth so his words are unclear as he speaks of wanting to feel free, and wishing he could pray.  Not much freedom there?

Body Talks, a duet from Helene Burgstaller and Eve Veglio-White, is about a person’s physical attributes and over preoccupation with these, and opens with a dancer, her bare back to the audience, using her shoulder blades to make amazing shapes and shadows.  Clad and reunited with her mate in flashy high heels, they gradually drop the sexy stuff, and adorn themselves with black furry beards which eventually they pass on to members of the audience.

The one and only Jennifer de Leon in My Son lies face to the floor, head to the audience, where she extends sinewy arms, then legs, with absolute control.  Her back bend, with one straight leg raised, makes a lovely line from toe to hands on the floor.  She personifies effort and heartache, reaching out with strong extensions, but continues to survive loss, ending with a balance on just her forearms, looking at the audience. 

Rongo (who is the Maori God of Agriculture) is described as a short Haka Theatre (Dance) work.  It is performed with one of the group tapping rhythms and shouting calls to the other three.  A strong guy has the active role, supported by two women moving in more traditional ways, but for me, it’s all overdone, and when western music is used, it doesn’t fit.  However when they retreat into the dark to sounds of thunder and rain, the audience squeals with delight – the strongest response of the night.

Again a piece, numero numero, opens with dancers lying face down on the floor.  Rose Philpott and Sophia McIntyre lie side by side, stretching out their arms with sparkles on the fingers, lit from a light in the wings.  The music has a strong beat (and is credited for once).  They move well, happy in a relaxed way, but not so as to shock or surprise.  Perhaps the piece is about enjoying glitter. 

Maya is a story about an Indian girl who finds a book that inspires her just for a moment to see herself as a successful student graduating with a diploma – but just for a moment.  Three dancers tell the story, carrying beer crates to indicate their lowly work, their movements based in classical Indian dance.  Their message is quite clear and tells a poignant tale.

A tall cheval mirror faces the audience mid stage and Virginia Kennard enters (in heels and a short cream draped costume) to look in the mirror – back to the audience.  And there she stays, on her knees, moving up and down, with slow small movements to end face down on the floor.  Is she pleading, has she given up?  For me, Notes on Looking, despite its Butoh inspired attribution, does not ring true.

Philippa Pidgeon choreographed Come Walk With Me for four dancers using a mix of ballet and contemporary dance.  The girls look as if they are playing and having fun and the dance relates to the song with the same title. As an exercise in movement patterns and grouping, it works well, but it is another one that doesn’t really move the audience.

Aruna Po-Ching dances Bended – referring to the reality of a 1970’s P.I woman with bipolar disease, and in my view succeeds wonderfully.  She uses Pacific cultural dance (Hawaiian) to show us the ups and downs of a sufferer, struggling with fright, extrovert interludes, anger and hopelessness.  However she can also enjoy flirting.  The theme is so well depicted using her own dance vocabulary that I voted this piece to go through to the final night.


Four dancers in an excerpt from Mother/Jaw (choreographers Jahra Rager and Grace Woollett) use music and voice in a piece with dark overtones. “We say sorry” is heard more than once, and loss of control, with the need to protect one’s self, are part of the theme.  The dancing is amongst the strongest  in the evening, with striking choreography and the piece draws a strong response from the audience.


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