SHORT + SWEET DANCE 2017 Season 1

TAPAC - The Auckland Performing Arts Centre, Auckland

05/09/2017 - 06/09/2017

Production Details


Dance ,

90 mins

Thirteen short dances seize the day

Review by Brigitte Knight 06th Sep 2017

Short + Sweet has established itself as a familiar face in the Auckland dance industry. The ten-minute parameter gives choreographers enough space to establish a point of view, or enough rope to hang themselves (depending on your level of cynicism). Season 1 has thirteen works, which feels just right, given the one act format.

First up, XYUS by Gemma-Jayde Naidoo is an energetic and interesting choreography, with flashes of cultural references and electro-pop ensemble work. The choreography is very promising, and while the dancers have brilliant attack, technical clarity needs strengthening.

Endure provides a well-programmed contrast to the vibrancy of the opening work. Choreographed and performed by Emma Cosgrave, Endure’s most effective moments are in the opening, as an androgynous, hunched, distorted figure creeps onto the stage.

The Tiare Nui Dance Collective perform Blue Bayou, choreographed by Lulu French. Perhaps borrowing from a range of Pasifika dance traditions, the work is decontextualised by the musical accompaniment of a 70’s pop song.

We are Y. I am not I. is another solo, choreographed and danced by Jerrika Samuel. The opening moments are effectively illuminated by the light of a blank projector on the cyclorama, which later shows the dancer in silhouette, her movements retrograded. A range of props feels unnecessary here, and the work may benefit from an external editor’s eye.

The STORM ensemble has the audience with them from their first sassy lip-sync. With origins in the 80s Ballroom scene, voguing has been absent from New Zealand theatre dance for some time. Choreography by Tekeepa Aria blends all the elements of Vogue Fem we love – with plenty of shade thrown in. Dancers need more rehearsal with lights and eyeline to smooth the transition from street dance to stage, but this performance is honest and definitely NSFW.

Eight women in kimono-inspired costumes make an effective image in Le De’but (sic) choreographed by Al-Gervahn (Jay) Richmond. Lovely ensemble work, energy and attack from the dancers could be strengthened by technical control.

I Have to do this choreographed by Jenny de Leon and performed by two members of Poyema Dance is a calm display of acro-circus partnering. The opening lift is beautifully quiet, but the programming of this piece in Short + Sweet Dance doesn’t feel quite right.

Traces is another work leaning towards cultural/contemporary fusion, this time Taiwanese. Choreographer Yin-chi Lee makes clever use of the sole male dancer’s elevation, and the piece moves with energy and attack.

& She Is? Is lit thoughtfully, and choreographed on and beside a large, orange cube. Choreographers Jess Crompton and Cat Ruka explore isolation, subtlety and strength successfully in one of the most assured performances of the night.

Choreographer Susan Jordan has an ace up her sleeve with the charismatic performers of the Seniors DANCE Company. Her work Jumping to Conclusions has a powerful message, however, it is unfortunately interpreted as comedy, and needs more rehearsal and tighter unison to really hit home.

W(hole) by Odessa Grayson has a rock-solid concept, inventive physical interpretation of ideas, and a sophisticated aesthetic. A contemporary pas de deux, the work presents two dancers in control of their technique and assured in a beautiful choreography. Grayson’s eye for detail and construction makes this performance one of the most satisfying of the night. She presents her dancers as two parts of a once-whole, separated by Zeus as a punishment for the human lust for power.

Xavier Breed returns to Short + Sweet Dance with World Wide Web. A young choreographer to watch, Breed is developing a unique identity and perspective, and he presents work with a sense of forward momentum – building from and improving on the past. World Wide Web features two young dancers to watch, Oli Carruthers and Fenjay Sapon. They move with speed, precision and fluidity, in equal measure, and have developed the dancer’s art of grace, where everything appears effortless, appears easy.

Ma | Ma by Vivian Hosking-Aue is a theatrical movement tribute to a late relative, combining music, live voice, song and a small amount of cultural dance and movement. The work is beautifully costumed, and charismatically performed, and would’ve sat comfortably in the Theatre programme.

Short + Sweet Dance is a great platform for tertiary students and emerging choreographers alike, and this style of programming provides plenty of variety. The most successful works were the ones with a simple, original perspective, performed by dancers with technical clarity and control.


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