Super Moon

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

09/10/2019 - 10/10/2019

Tempo Dance Festival 2019

Production Details

Super Moon

You must be at least 18 years old to attend this performance.
Evolving. Adapting. Dark. Charming. Julia Harvie (Movement Art Practice) and Sofia McIntyre (In Flagrante) collide in Super Moon, double-bill that is both electrifying feminist memoir and biological morphing allusion.

KILLJOY is a contradiction of terms. It is both fact and fiction, it is fearless and terrified, it stares down the barrel of the gun with eyes wide shut, it is the power of vulnerability, it is a muscular strength and a fragile ego. It is an angry beast dying to be stroked. It is how all the messy personal stuff is inextricably linked to that messy political stuff. A moving and electrifying memoir that is both provocative and beguiling, using charm and wit and a fistful of courage, it states: This is what a feminist looks like right now.

Faceless Hair Cry is a romantic duet danced solo. A transformation between temporary bodies using images of female biology, fertility, pollination and the act of ritual. Unusually shaped to attract pollinators. A cyclical journey from flora to fauna, to female form, in an artificial setting. Real and fake, nature and the artificial, and illusion versus allusion. Faceless Hair Cry is a redeveloped contemporary dance work created by Sofia McIntyre with compelling soundscape created by Paloma Schneideman.

R18 – Contains course language, distressing content, and full nudity.

Post-show Discussion // There will be a post-show discussion following the Thursday 10 October performance facilitated by a leader in the arts sector.

Show is at 8.30pm

Ticket pricing for this event (all prices include GST)
Full Price $34.90
Senior Citizen $19.90
Child $19.90
Student $19.90
Unwaged $19.90

Dance , Contemporary dance , [R18] ,

60 mins

SUPER MOON: the body, the woman, the darkness, the longing

Review by Paea Leach 16th Oct 2019

A cat, a pulsing flower, a pulsing vagina.

A body stocking, a pink puff, a creature with a sense of something.

A faceless woman creature beast primordial something – someone?

A Korean horror film, a yogi-not yogi, a faceless needy woman body.

The pelvis, the vagina, the pulsing: the pelvis, the opening, the flourishing: what do you want from us or why are you here oh faceless beast?

Thus, the things that ratchet through my mind, with a slow cadence, as Faceless Hair Cry begins; a work created and performed by Sofia McIntyre, presented in the double bill Super Moon at The Loft, Q Theatre, as part of Tempo dance festival. Described as a ‘redeveloped contemporary dance work’ and ‘duet danced solo’, the work does not involve much movement I would identify as dance; it meanders along and I am not sure how to meet it. The content is sexually charged and virile – but to what end and what interest I wonder? How do I understand the ‘duet’ in the solo here – what or where or who is the ‘other’?

The work opens with a single light focused on a monolithic box – black, imposing, large, isolated. From its edge emerges Sofia McIntyre, slowly edging out on the side of her body, appearing, legs first, as a body clad in a stocking and, finally, a stocking body with a pink fluffy ball for a head. It is like a brilliant pink kiwi-bird wrapped around her head and decided to stay. It is an interesting image this faceless pink-headed woman; I wonder though how difficult it is to breathe and see from inside that globe.

McIntyre slowly moves through a series of quasi-asanas (yoga-like posturings) that are impressive but not so far contorted or ‘super human’ as to be odd and discomfitting. The sound composed by Paloma Schneideman is atmospheric, sparse, electric, crackling. At times, in her transitions or shifts from place to physical place, McIntyre seems to have a sensitivity akin to a deep-sea creature; she reaches, postures, recoils, rearranges. She opens and closes like a sexual flower – always symmetrical are the responses and recoils through her fingers.  I experience her state as unchanging for the duration of the 25 minute or so work. She is aware of a front, which is a curious status for someone without a face – buried as it is in her giant pink behemoth head.

The work has very little choreographic structure; instead McIntyre moves through her positions and postures, sometimes with inklings toward a creature feeding on carrion, a woman dispersed, a lost beacon, a sexual primal being. There are occasional moments after mounting the large box when the image, composed as it is of body, flesh, pink head and giant black box – has promise of being something odd and surprising, and in these moments, there is potential. McIntyre eventually ‘does away’ with the pink head and is now woman; her own hair becoming the matter covering her face, and I begin to have brief glimmers which recall for me Belgian choreographer Damien Jalet and his attempts at headless bodies, carnal arrangements and an  odd kinetic fallout of limbs.

Faceless Hair Cry is quite perplexing; I was not sure what, as an audience member I need to do to receive this work? What is being proposed and what questioned? What does a faceless woman creature want to reveal to us and why? Further internet investigation leadsme to understanding McIntyre’s (other) job is related to burlesque performance. This work is perhaps influenced by that world, its overt relationship to female bodies, sexuality, body on display, to make personal political points. The images in Faceless Hair Cry had potent potential, but the work was not realised into an arc of revelation; it felt (or I assume), McIntyre set out to make comment on so many things, but the work did not resonate or arrive at anything particularly strong.

Killjoy is the second work in the programme. The monolith box was hoisted on its side and for the first moment I was excited; it was to be used again but by someone else. Like all the shows in Tempo I was not sure what was happening as there is no programme notes – online or otherwise – available. Enter Julia Harvie, Christchurch-based dance artist, centre stage: microphone, shopping basket, nice outfit.

She begins by establishing our contract as audience and performer with a sweet and direct question, “how do I look?”. She speaks a little, undresses, asks a few more chit chatty questions and the arc begins to open and develop. Fairly-quickly she is out of the conservative neat outfit she arrived in and is in something that reminds me of a business suit gone awry; part straightjacket, part artistic rearranging of an outfit I recognise and do not. Harvie evolves toward a repeating movement phrase, a loop of easy post-modern catching and falling of limbs occurring, as too, her pre-recorded voice is looped: “my name is Julia and this is what a feminist looks like”.

We laugh and thus, we are launched in: this work is motherhood, body politic, personal as political, parental struggles (she is the mother of two children), it questions her own parents’ feminist values, a confession of terminal patience and an endless capacity to apologise. I laugh, I empathise, I understand the complexity and stupidity of her content and her urgency to make a loud point about it. Humour is a good way to launch in with a light togetherness. But, as with much humour, the inference of the very unfunny state of feminism as a movement, history and embodied reality for Harvie acts as a temporary gauze. For the point, revealed in the title, is about the reality of the killjoy nature of what feminism really means and how discomfitting the fact of feminism and its insistencies still are in contemporary society.

Harvie eats some fruit, asks someone to join in (I was warned about ‘potential participation’), sucks the juice from lemons, sucks and crunches (smashes) what seems to be a gobstopper – slowly, oh so slowly – placing the microphone to her mouth. She reminds me of feminist standup comedians, German dance theatre works from the 1990’s, a fairy tale gone (happily) awry. But her self-commentary on her body and its ineptitudes begin to lead us somewhere else. Of course, to the witness here, Harvie does not seem inept at all; she is muscular, lithe, fit and powerful. She is the mother of two children with an incredible physique. In her eyes though, her bodily-ness has been judged as lacking – and, I think, as are we are all. Later I consider the question of nudity in performance; when a woman with such an incredible physique is naked on stage is it vulnerability or is it a form of empowerment? What is really on the line in this context – a safe space, a controlled environment?

We have progressed and she is naked apart from a pair of underpants; a song “I am being demonised” (PJ Harvey? I cannot check as there is no programme) begins and she is blindly feeling into the space – hands out, eyes closed, literally feeling into the space. The dance that unfolds reminds me again of dance theatre, a singular woman thrashing it out in a lounge room; here there is anger, remorse, fear, vulnerability, ferocity, defiance, rupture. Here there is maybe a fragmentary falling out of all that women try to keep in neat tidy piles as Harvie tries to frame at the beginning.

I write in the dark:

Body as armour, body as home, body as entrapment.

Don’t control me: she walks around, throws herself into catches of movement, paces, screeches bodily.

“My heart is empty but the songs I sing are filled with love for you”.

Blind and naked: is this how women feel? Exposed, forced upon, non-directional?

(Do I really need to ask this question?).

What we witness is an arc of revelation and destruction, a becoming and an undoing.

Killjoy has power in its seams; it is a thinking-through of being woman, it is seeking to voice from the pit of the body, and through its title it links to feminist academic Sarah Ahmed’s blog site feminist killjoys. For me the strongest aspect of the work is almost when it is done. Post the ‘dance’ to the PJ Harvey-like song, Harvie is entirely naked and she is cawing, making animal like sounds into the microphone. In this moment of reduction to a point, I am reminded of my own experience of giving birth, for inside this growl feels to be the crux of the work: despair and anger felt bodily, a woman’s frustration and deep animal longing to be witnessed. The deep pit of the body being brought forth felt to be the (or a) sound that could speak to the complexity of everything that was earlier expressed through language. What would happen from this point – I was piqued with curiosity – in an embodied, de-languaged atmosphere? The choices up to this point, eating a banana, being the charming well-dressed white woman, seemed obvious – funny, but obvious. A struggle indeed but one that is held by a none-too threatening world. The image of Harvie naked and sounding from the deep body pit was something other. It was at this point she gathered her laurels and redressed, put herself back together as it were, and ended. It was at this point I wished she would continue.


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