Short+Sweet Dance 2013 Week 2

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

04/06/2013 - 08/06/2013

Short + Sweet Dance 2013

Production Details

Choreography Tessa Martin
Dancers: Georgia Giesen, Jeremy Haxton, Sarah Elsworth, Tessa Martin
Music: Sam Cooke, The Three Degrees, The Sapphires, New Holidays, Betty Everett, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Nun DJ with compulsions to collect rare 60′s soul.  Father left priesthood for mother.  Mother dreamt of nunnery before having 6 kids.  Grandmother dreamt of nunnery, refused due to an illness that killed her.  Sisterhood, Humanity, Desire, & inevitably MOTOWN.

Daylight come and we want to go home
Choreographer: Boyzcouch collaboration
Performers: Kosta Bogoievski, Adam Naughton, Aloalii Tapu, Christopher Ofanoa
Music: original score and samples of eve de Castro-Robinson and various African tribal percussion

Work all night till’ the morning come! Daylight come and we want to go home

Elegant Error
Choreographers: Cat Ruka and Duncan Armstrong
Dancer: Duncan Armstrong
Music: Everyone Alive Wants Answers by Colleen

Elegant Error is a movement study and quiet subversion of the pursuit toward becoming an elite professional dancer. We hope to share with you the inner world of the dance athlete, the delicacy and power of their bodies, and the spiritual fragility that sits beneath their physical strength and disciplined determination.

Performed and Choreographed by Kate Bartlett and Christina Houghton
Music: Mixed by Kate and Christina – How the Kiwi Lost it’s Wings (by Alwyn Owen told by Peter Gywnne), Fever (Peggy Lee     and Jack Marshall), Fashion (David Bowie), Girl You’ll be a Woman Soon (Neil Diamond), Codex (Radiohead).

BE-SIDES reveals that there are two sides to every album through the relational narrative of an aging record collection. Performed by two women under the influence of the imposing forces of nature and 20th Century culture.

Untitled Drag performance, with ghosts.
Choreographer and performer: samiam
Music: “possible tracks for private iii” by de novo, “the curse of sensitivity” by fat transfer

Same/same, Different/different/Same. Head-tail willy-nilly false-foot-Structure. Function/Sponge, Star-fish/Jelly-being. Facing/World-view/moving Forwards?

Reference: The body of life: creating new pathways for sensory awareness and fluid movement. By Thomas Hanna (1993).

The Crocodile and Monkey
by Prayas Youth Theatre

Presented by Prayas Youth Theatre, this 10 minute dance-drama is a modern day interpretation on an Indian fable that chronicles the friendship between a crocodile and a monkey. Told through a combination of dance and narration, this drama juxtaposes two distinct styles – Contemporary and Bharatnatyam (an ancient Indian classical dance form).

Choreographer: Jeremy Haxton
Dancers: Kerry Wallis and Phoebe Heyhoe of Seekers dance collective:
Music: Happy Together – The Turtles

“Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed.” – Oscar Wilde

Mating Rituals of the 21st Century
Choreographers: Etched Dance Productions and Co.
Music: Amy Mauvan, ‘I Fink U Freeky’ Die Antwoord, Slavoj Zizek

3am. Still dancing.

Whose Dance is it anyway?
Dancers: Ellen Chitty, Jeremy Haxton, Chris Ofanoa, Marisol Pengelley, Amanda Tito and Kerry Wallis of Seekers Dance Collective:
Music: Various Artists including Beirut, Of Montreal, Múm, Daft Punk and Eden Mullholland
Choreographer: Phoebe Heyhoe

Dance Doco: A day in the life of two puppets, an Oscar winning moment for the Emo duo…what a story, story, DIE!

90 mins

Surprisingly bewildering

Review by Dr Linda Ashley 05th Jun 2013

As this the second week programme of Short+Sweet progresses, it leads the audience into an ever increasing spiral of perplexity, incompleteness and obscurity. Questions are often left hanging in the air like forgotten, overlooked, sad inklings of what could be. I did not see the Wild Card programme but this evening’s show has a certain rough desolation about it – not so much fierce or rowdy, although perhaps it would like to be.

There is often a sense of inquisitorial rebellion against institutionalized Foucauldian stereotypes and being haunted by the nightmare of being a cog in a system, oppressed, for instance by the subversion of classical ballet training (Elegant Error, choreography Cat Ruka) danced by a suitably sylphlike male (Duncan Armstrong). There is a fine line to be tip-toed, however, between critique and a list of clichés such as unhealthy eating, a conflicted relationship with the barre, being weighed down by the need to defy gravity, and soon and so forth.

Haunting continues as some sort of primordial, hirsute, animist creature appears to be trapped in a black and white silent movie set – a desolate beach somewhere. The castaway’s struggle for identity between animal, human and mythical creature is resolved by an enigmatic wandering off through the audience to exit. This Untitled Drag Performance with Ghosts (Samiam) is referenced to a Thomas Hanna text in which somatic awareness creates new pathways for sensory awareness.

Bringing another, if different, animistic allegory, Prayas Youth Theatre present The Crocodile and Monkey Choreographer. This modern interpretation of an Indian fable brings together a crocodile and a monkey, as well as contemporary dance interculturally fused with Bharatha Natyam. Articulating the story with the honed exactness and technical proclivity, the Bharatha Natyam dancing comes across as a far more sophisticated way to tell stories than the contemporary vocabulary; the comparatively ancient dance language and its dancers emerging as exuding physical intellect and impact.

Whilst in the world of anthropomorphic metaphor, planet of the apes meets the nightshift working in the dance industry. Four male dancers seem puzzled by their tribal conflicts juxtaposed with African percussive isolations and con-tem-por-ary technique. Then blackout. Sorry guys, but Daylight come and we want to go home (Boyzcouch) left me as bemused as you seemed to be.

In a more conventional contemporary dance tradition, Allegations (Jeremy Haxton), danced sincerely by Kerry Wallis and Phoebe Heyhoe, explores the phenomenon of marriage once the idyllic romance has worn off, with some effective imagery of reliance, imposition, burden and control. Changes of pace, unison, conflict and so forth, however, could have more impact by consideration of how changing mood exactly when the music does could be just one option of many.

A certain curious intrigue creeps up on me as I watch some technically proficient dancers perform a varied vocabulary of signature dance floor moves in Mating Rituals of the 21st Century (Etched Dance Productions & Co.). This sparse exploration of the dance vernacular of the ‘now’ has a certain subversive political toxicity, a freshness and inclination to embody the syncopation of jazz.

There also seems to be a shared sense of retro infused into the dances – longing for what has been or what was, what could have been or is, and why we dance anyway. Be-Sides (Kate Bartlett and Christina Houghton) indulges in reminiscences about classic 20th century popular music, revealing some of the personal back stories that lurk between the grooves of the vinyl. There is a keen sense of absurdity at play as an old record player, the records, wigs, feather boas and other assorted props are woven into a nostalgic and cryptic feminist review.

Mixing of music from decades gone by is prevalent in Collage (Tessa Martin) as Detroit’s Motown, nuns, familial histories, desire and the Sound of Music take to the stage. ‘You got soul!’, I guess, is where I find my way into and out of this covenant of the convent.

In this show I come to slowly feel that mixing music technology is a great thing in the ease of editing these days, but sometimes the temptation to chop and change doesn’t add to the choreography – quite the opposite in fact and accompaniment can become like a playlist.

Whose Dance is it anyway? (Phoebe Heyhoe & dancers) is the most engaging piece of the evening. The audience is invited to interact with a series of Dance Sport sketches by a compellingly comedic host who rises to the challenges of certain demanding individuals with good humour and quickfire wit. Fearless! We are allowed to bestow Oscars and kill the dancers whenever we please- it is fun on a stick and without apology. The dancers too improvise generously meeting all the obstacles put in their way – delightful connoisseurship of the mundane.

Post show in the foyer: As people complete their voting slips, there is a certain frisson quivering through the conversations of how surprisingly bewildering dance theatre can be. I reflect that sometimes dance’s reputation for being an evanescent art form is a blessing.



gelyte June 7th, 2013


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