THE REBEL PINK
01/04/2017 - 01/04/2017
28/03/2017 - 28/03/2017
04/04/2017 - 04/04/2017
03/04/2017 - 03/04/2017
25/03/2017 - 26/03/2017
07/04/2017 - 08/04/2017
Presented by Footnote Dance
The Rebel Pink
Curation by MALIA JOHNSTON
The Rebel Pink celebrates fresh choreography by three female choreographers from across New Zealand.
From inspirations as broad as K-Pop, aliens, superstition, relationships and sound morphing, the choreographers in Footnote’s NOW 2017 season are bringing their bright ideas to the stage.
The colour pink was chosen whilst I was witnessing the women’s’ marches at the beginning of the year. With what was happening in the world at the time, I felt that an injection of positive energy and colour was required. I did a little research on the effects that bright pink has on us – one of these effects is an increased heart rate. I liked this idea – a quickening of pace that is reflected in these three emerging choreographic voices.
Whilst the choreographers were free to choose their own content and ideas, they were also charged with conditions that bring the programme together as a whole. This includes collaboration with live musician Tom Scrase, working on a bright pink floor with specific proportions, and lighting design by Marcus McShane.
Footnote’s new company members were also heavily involved in developing the materials, which has made an exciting start to the new year.
Making new work on a company is a precious, vulnerable, but exciting proposition. All three choreographers, Holly Newsome, Eliza Sanders, and Nancy Wijohn, have found material that represents their interests and enquiries as choreographers: a snapshot of work that we look forward to seeing develop in the future. The Rebel Pink is a celebration of energy, live music and dance presented in an informal setting –allowing you to enjoy the movement of each piece from every angle.
Designer extraordinaire Marcus McShane and world class drummer/musician Tom Scrase (ex-Strike) provide the environment for the performance.
Expect to have a blast.
28 March 2017
Papa Hou YMCA
New Plymouth Girls High School
Dancers: Tyler Carney, Joshua Faleatua, Adam Naughton, Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Anu Khapung
Dances: Sweet Salt by Holly Newsome // Not all who launder are washed by Eliza Sanders // The Silent Partner by Nancy Wijohn
Music - Original composition BY TOM SCRASE
Tom Scrase is an award-winning drummer and proud Wellingtonian. Having been a professional musician since 2001 he has toured throughout New Zealand and internationally. With The Thomas Oliver Band, Tom released a #1 album on iTunes both in
NZ and Australia and toured with the likes of Joe Cocker, Cold Chisel, Jimmy Barnes, James Reyne and Fat Freddy’s Drop.
As a member of Strike Percussion, Tom was involved in the development of John Psathas’ work Between Zero And One which played sold out shows in the Christchurch and Nelson Arts festivals and New Zealand Festival in 2014. Tom was also instrumental in developing the performance of the Big Bang – the opening ceremony of the New Zealand Festival 2014. Tom has also toured China (2013, 2015) and South Korea (2012) with Strike’s critically acclaimed show – Elemental.
Creating original and commissioned works, Tom is busy in the Wellington scene with several bands and a successful teaching studio: he is excited to be working with Footnote for the first time in 2017’s NOW Season.
Set and lighting design by MARCUS MCSHANE
Marcus McShane is one of New Zealand’s most prolific lighting designers, having produced over three hundred designs. In 2010 he worked with Peter Stenhouse to create a commissioned work to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the New York Metropolitan Opera. He then designed Heat, a theatre piece lit by custom-built LEDs which toured it’s own wind and solar power system and became the world’s first self-powered and emission-neutral professional theatre piece. He has five fringe awards for design and visual art, two DINZ Best awards, his work has featured in two NZ Architecture Awards, and he has five Chapmann Tripp awards, including lighting designer of the year for 2011 and 2013. In 2015 four of his works were installed as a part of the NZ New Performance Festival at La Mama in New York, and he was chosen to represent New Zealand at the Prague Quadrennial. In 2016 he was commissioned to create
He has five fringe awards for design and visual art, two DINZ Best awards, his work has featured in two NZ Architecture Awards, and he has five Chapmann Tripp awards, including lighting designer of the year for 2011 and 2013. In 2015 four of his works were installed as a part of the NZ New Performance Festival at La Mama in New York, and he was chosen to represent New Zealand at the Prague Quadrennial. In 2016 he was commissioned to create Four Nests by the New Zealand Arts Festival as a part of For The Birds, and he is currently working on a permanent installation Wash for the Tauranga Waterfront. This is Marcus’s third design for Footnote in the past three years.
Review by Raewyn Whyte 11th Apr 2017
Holly Newsome’s trio Sweet Salt starts simply and builds to a climax. The dancers (Adam Naughton, Tyler Carney and Georgia Beechey-Gradwell) make a million unpredictable movements while their faces rapidly morph through an astonishing array of expressions. There’s a strange fragmentary tale about desiccated coconut, a needle in the back of the head, balls in the stomach and earrings in the saucepan. This gives way to dramatic drumming which builds the tensions and an emerging pulse which sweeps everyone into syncopated action. The energy spills over, and before long the audience is grinning and laughing and cheering.
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Review by Chloe Klein 10th Apr 2017
The Rebel Pink, curated by Malia Johnston and presented by Footnote, is striking from the moment I walk through Q’s Loft doors. A hot pink dance floor bordered with pink neon tubing sets an energised tone in the space. The audience is divided into three blocks siding the dance floor, and the fourth side promises with a drum kit set up partnered with a live-mixing desk.
I sit in the block perpendicular to what we could call the traditional ‘front’, I’m eager to see how the three works negotiate attending to the audience on almost every side. To the credit of the choreographers and performers, each of the three works excels in this challenge. The works are not bound by facing and the movements are interesting and complex from each perspective. I never once feel as though I am missing out, or feel frustrated by exclusive sight lines. In fact, the audience opposite me becomes part of the experience as I watch them react to their own perspectives.
The show opens with Holly Newsome’s Sweet Salt, a confusing yet satisfying adventure performed by three dancers wrapped in several tartan variations. Nonsensical explanations, disjointed emotions, and glitching in colour. Rinse and repeat. The dancers take us (the audience) head on – their piercing and over-emotive gazes determinedly seeking out eye contact. Their manufactured ecstasy morphs into excruciating pain and horror. Whilst staring at me, the extremity and sliding transiency of their facial expressions make this experience uncomfortable in an I-have-to-laugh-to-be-okay-with-this way, and I find my own gaze to be equally as transfixed on them.
Up next is Eliza Sanders’ Not All Who Launder Are Washed. Drawing and developing on the choreographic devices appearing in Sanders’ current work with House of Sand, the four dancers- clad in loose, white, amorphous pyjamas- play word games and experiment with distorting sounds and words to make new connections. The result is fun. Humorous sound battles complement creative partner work and virtuosic hyper-activity. All the while, Khapung cycles a range of emotions through her face as she walks from one corner of the floor to the opposite. Her journey is undetectably slow, the crossing takes her the full 20 minutes. Pit against the wild and bouncy movements of the others, some exciting moments of risk and contrast emerge.
The Silent Partner by Nancy Wijohn closes the evening with a visceral and emotionally charged duet exploring superstitious behaviours and their effect in relationships. Khapung and Faleatua emerge in black, distrustful and suspicious yet curious about each other. As the piece develops, their relationship learns and becomes intimately connected, they meld into one through complex and smooth contact partnering mirrored by a cascading sound score. Faleatua glides with weightlessness still maintaining precision and attention. Khapung is committed, elegant and strong – their partnership is bound by an invisible pressure that springs and caves, they are in submission to it and it is mesmerising to watch.
Particularly worth mentioning is the original composition and performance throughout the three works by Tom Scrase. In addition to facilitating seamless transitions between works, the works are framed and contextualised within his rhythms, and the play between his live drumming performance and the performers adds to the energy and playfulness of the evening. We witness Scrase building a sound score in The Silent Partner as he records chimes, rolling whistles, and voice distortion, layering and looping them to create an emotive and evocative sound score.
The Rebel Pink is an excellently crafted and strikingly vigorous show. So many ideas, so may colours, and so much sensory information is woven together harmoniously and playfully. Each of the performers gives immense character and commitment. The Rebel Pink is a refreshing addition to Footnote’s history.
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Inspired set of parameters for new choreographers
Review by Holly Shanahan 05th Apr 2017
Footnote’s The Rebel Pink is a showcase of three fresh female choreographers, curated by Malia Johnston. The three choreographers – Holly Newsome, Eliza Sanders and Nancy Wijohn – were given free reign as to the content and ideas, within certain design parameters.
Filing into my old school hall, I was pleasantly surprised to find that these parameters included ditching the proscenium staging arrangement in favour of an “in the round” configuration: a small – bright pink – dance floor, minimal floor and standing lighting design, and a drumkit and music gear for live music by Tom Scrase. This immediacy is rare in dance and adds a great sense of thrill to the work. Being so close to the dancers’ bodies gives everything a heightened sense of tension, and even danger at times. It was an inspired set of parameters for these new choreographers to create within.
The choice of the colour pink as a springboard – inspired by recent world events surrounding women’s rights and marches across the world – complimented the fresh, lively new voices being presented. Pink feels youthful, energetic, frenetic and borders at times on manic – all of which I felt within each of the works.
The first piece, Sweet Salt by Holly Newsome, presents a trio of dancers in tartan shirts and skirts/shorts (teen school kids of the future?) going through the ritual motions of learning, interacting, and somehow attempting to ‘be’ within an over-stimulating futuristic environment. Footnote’s new company dancers are all glorious to watch, but Tyler Carney is a certain standout in this piece. I love seeing dancers who are at one with the choreography so completely and bring not only the physical skill but a level of theatrical performance to their work. It is hard not to bring your attention back to Carney, even when she is not the distinct focus. The sequence about the ‘dessicated coconut’ – a collage of recorded instructional voice and soundscape set to frenetic, robotic desperate-housewife-esque choreography – is a particular highlight for me. Also the rituals of getting out of bed / getting up, which remind me of rousing teenagers for school in the morning.
In Eliza Sanders’ Not All Who Launder are Washed, a silent figure navigates her way in minute slow motion through a cacophony of movement and nonsense-speak, cycles of fear and joy on her face. The facial expressiveness and physical control of dancer Anu Khapung is mesmerising. Much of this work involves the other four dancers working delicately around her, presenting a wild ‘monkey mind’ of thought perhaps. The final image of the four (all dressed in an effective pure white) looking blankly at Khapung as she finally breaks her slow progress to shake her hair savagely, is a strong image.
Finally ‘The Silent Partner’ by Nancy Wijohn is a duet between a man and a woman, dressed wholly in black, and performed by Anu Khapung and Joshua Faleatua. To begin with, I feel the connection between the dancers lacking, as the pair presents a ritualised sequence of ‘courting’, using a series of game-based moves. However, when the two lovers finally come together as ‘one,’ a real beauty to the piece emerges– I feel the nuances and issues of co-dependency, individual behaviours vs togetherness, and the way we navigate each other within our own stuck rituals or ways of being. There are several incredibly touching sequences, and the two perforners move with a beautiful flowing ease through the work. Joshua Faleatua is not only a formidable physical presence due to his height, but manages a lightness which almost catches you by surprise. He is great to watch.
The live music and sound by Tom Scrase is another great addition. A live pounding drum makes such a difference to the physical effect of sound in a work, and I enjoy the looping soundscapes, in particular the alien-sounding final piece.
Overall, I feel the show is a little short, and I wanted another piece to finish the evening. All three new choreographers certainly have a bright future, and Footnote have an exceptional company this year. While I prefer to see their full length work, and often enjoy their inventive use of technology, this is a great showcase of the choreographers of the future in an exciting presentation.
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Dynamic and wonderful dance and music from Footnote
Review by Tania Kopytko 05th Apr 2017
Footnote New Zealand Dance’s The Rebel Pink is wonderful and dynamic. The show comprises three complementary works by NZ female choreographers set on a wonderful pink stage, atmospherically lit by Marcus McShane. The three dance works are linked through music composed and performed by the talented Tom Scrase. Each work is quite different but they sit together well, providing different energies and perspectives on life, love and relationships. It has been curated by Footnote choreographic-alumnus Malia Johnston, who chose pink as the unifying colour when she saw the women’s marches at the beginning of the year. “With what was happening in the world at the time, I felt that an injection of positive energy and colour was required.”
The first work, Sweet Salt, choreographed by Holly Newsome, performed by Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Tyler Carney and Adam Naughton, all dressed in tartan, is humorous. A crazy dialogue punctuates movement. But it is the interchange of the movement and the music, with clever rhythmic and visual coincidences and juxtapositions that is so exciting and pleasing as the music surges on.
The second work, Not All Who Launder Are Washed, choreographed by Eliza Sanders and performed by Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Tyler Carney, Adam Naughton, Joshua Faleatua and Anu Khapung is an intriguing piece. People appear to care about themselves, perhaps Gen Y or Millennials, while a lone character (Khapung) slowly makes her Butohesque way diagonally to the front of the stage. The contrast is striking. For me, it has strong reminiscence to the famous photograph taken by Nick Ut of the napalm-burnt girl running from the South Vietnamese attack. Or perhaps it is The Scream by Edvard Munch. An iconic statement, while the world just simply carries on. The dramatic tension set up by these performance juxtapositions is very strong and provides plenty of societal material to reflect on.
The third work “The Silent Partner” by Nancy Wijohn is the perfect complement to the earlier works. This beautiful piece has flow and harmony but also a strong energy. Performed sensitively by Joshua Faleatua and Anu Khapung, the complicated relationship of two (people, ideas) is cleverly explored. The doubts, misunderstandings, uncertainty, interdependence and independence, are all shown through beautiful duet work. Once again the music provides another complementary and exciting dimension.
The dancers find the different essence of each work and perform strongly and boldly. They are a pleasure to watch. In the course of the evening, Scrase takes us through percussive and atmospheric sounds, with glimpses of rock or jazz – clever music and interesting to watch him prepare different effects and perform. It is so wonderful to see the musician performing on stage as part of the show.
As Johnston says, “pink has the effect of an increased heart rate.” Certainly, this programme provides the audience with a quickening heart pace and full mental and kinaesthetic absorption. Have a successful tour!
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A shade rebellious
Review by Julia Harvie 03rd Apr 2017
NOW 2017: The Rebel Pink is a triple bill of works by a full female choreographic line-up with Holly Newsome, Eliza Sanders and Nancy Wijohn.
After being handed a candy coloured straw in lieu of a ticket, we encounter Marcus Mcshane’s set design as we enter the theatre and discover the preset – a floor the size of a breakdancing floor but in a rebellious shade of pink. Just upstage is a drum kit and various pieces of equipment at the ready for composer Tom Scarse’s live musical accompaniment. This street culture-influenced design sits well in Papa Hou, the newly repurposed theatre at the YMCA with the remnants of Spectrum’s street art covered walls.
This year Footnote has an entirely new fresh-faced ensemble of dancers and, for the first time in this annual programme, they have employed Malia Johnston in a curatorial role to oversee the production.
Johnson has taken a no-frills approach by streamlining production elements with a single composer for all three works and one set design. There are no additional objects in the works themselves and the lighting rig is also very minimal. Beyond this, the artists have brought their own concepts and approaches.
The Now Programme is for artists in the early stages of their careers. Reading the programme notes, although relatively young, they have accomplished a great deal. Sanders graduated three years ago and has created four full-length works. Since graduating in 2007, Wijohn has made her mark as a dance artist in her own right with a distinctly unique style. Newsome is the greenest, having graduated just last year, but she has already worked with an impressive list of internationally recognised artists.
It is Newsome’s work, Sweet Salt that is first in the programme with a clashing tartan-clad trio. Adam Naughton, Tyler Carney and Georgia Beechy-Gradwell are commanding and unpretentious as performers. The opening images endure most strongly in my mind’s eye. Three figures lying face down, we see their pelvises lurching upwards in a bony battle with gravity. Then the legs take over the initiation, surprisingly into a singular form that reminded me of a sea anenome, heads grounded, legs floating upwards. Newsome employs recorded spoken word to achieve a syncopated lip and body sync. There is popping and warped facial expressions that pass randomly across the faces of the performers as though they are some kind of dance-bots short-circuiting. The work is fast-paced but I feel the material was derivative of a style that has become very influential in recent years. It draws on breakdancing, hip hop and dance theatre but I’m sure in time this will evolve as she continues to develop as an artist.
Not All Who Launder are Washed by Eliza Sanders utilises the full company ensemble. Sanders takes language and plays with it in a way dancemakers often play with movement, letting it evolve and morph through repetition. This could teeter towards the cringe-worthy territory of dancers speaking but she manages to avoid this with clever wordplay well spoken by the dancers and some smart spatial composition. I really appreciated the pushing, the mining, the risk she was taking in, excuse the pun, claiming her own choreographic voice and movement language.
The use of voice also heightened the moments of mute movement to nice effect. Sometimes watching dance can feel that you are being bombarded with movement – bodies talking without taking time to pause. In this work, when the dancers stopped talking, the movement became the breath and this gave the audience the sense they were speaking with the dancers, rather than being spoken at by them. A nice through-line was achieved with Khapung in that for the majority of the work she cuts a diagonal line through the action with a silent scream. She ends the piece with a restrained explosion – a silently initiated rocking from her contracted spine in a wide second plie. I could have watched this for quite some time. A satisfying ending that left me wanting more.
For a fleeting moment between Sanders and Nancy Wijohn’s works, our focus is brought solely to composer and musician Tom Scarse. Given his careful and considered actions it felt that we were watching a little quiet dance composition rather than a musician setting up loops for the next dance piece.
The Silent Partner by Nancy Wijohn held the most appeal for the audience from what I could gather through post-show discussions. Anu Khapung and Joshua Faleatua have a delicate introversion as a duo. The work evolves from the use of pedestrian and naturalistic body language to a raw and playful movement language with a gentle inward focus. The viewer felt invited into something private and personal without feeling voyeuristic.
The Rebel Pink is a cool title. It implies women challenging social norms and expectations, politics, something new or maybe even shocking. While each of the works in this triple bill are palatable and well performed none are shocking and I am not sure they lived up to their title’s promise of some kind of feminist discourse, rebellion, more courage and less derivative material. This is probably less of a criticism of the artists, than a criticism of the commodity-driven here and NOW itself, it seems artists and companies are under increasing pressure to deliver “easy-to-swallow” work.
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Bathed in pink
Review by Janet Whittington 30th Mar 2017
Fairfield’s Victorian bricked courtyard transforms at night into a grotto of bushes and trees around the perimeter, with fairy lights in the arches and fluttering white flags overhead. With a 7.30pm start, mothers are happy to escort their eager aspiring young dancers. Little pink-clad girls fling their legs back and forth impatiently under their seats, eyes transfixed on the bright pink dance floor, bathed in pink lighting. The feminine ambience and infectious enthusiasm is delicious.
Rebel Pink morphs this scene again once on stage. Marcus McShane bravely leaves the lighting harsh pink for the first set.
The Rebel Pink is avant garde in music as well as movement. Tom Scrase is the solo musician throughout, surrounded by a full drum kit with a mixer off to one side, supported by electronic compositions he has made. In his first commission for dance, he plays continuously for 40 minutes, with some sampled text inserts in the first work by Holly Newsome.
Newsome’s “Sweet Salt” is a refreshing take on dance. The music is mostly percussive, demanding attention, spoken rhymes that don’t make immediate sense intermittently overlay the drums and fill the space, while the dancers dressed in tartan mime, mouth and move in different ways to the same sounds, sometimes in unison, sometimes humourously, sad, angry or just energetically. My eyes constantly flicker between Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Tyler Carney and Adam Naughton, in order not to miss anything. I confess the powerful energy stirs my soul to watch, but my eyeballs are not as fit as their bodies. This dance is just the right length for me.
In “Not all who launder are washed”, by Eliza Sanders, dancers dressed in white dance from their strengths and their passions.
The final piece “The Silent Partner”, choreographed by Nancy Wijohn leaves us aching for more. Softer fluid body forms mimicking, and moulding into and away from each other alongside a more traditional romantic choice of music. So beautiful are the tiny, myriad changes of movement and expression within the piece I want to ‘push the slow button’ to admire each pose individually. Joshua Faleatua and Anu Khapung capture the strength and grace of the human body and our ability to emote, beautifully.
As we leave, a group of laughing, energetic children and a couple of teenagers are floundering about on stage, attempting to mimic the last sequence. All bathed in pink lighting, of course.
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