The Seeds of Love

BATS Theatre, Wellington

05/09/2006 - 09/09/2006

Dance Your Socks Off

Production Details

Choreography/Performance: Juliet Shelley & Annabel Reader

Lighting Design/Operation: Glenn Ashworth

Presented by Pineapple Productions: MMMDANCE

Where there is love there is life. ~ Gandhi

The Seeds of Love is about life, love and loss. Loving and being loved is what is fundamental to us all, without it, what is there? We have to find our ways of loving and what makes us feel most alive in this world, sometimes against all odds.  

Juliet Shelley and Annabel Reader are two of an increasingly rare breed of Kiwi freelance dancer/choreographers currently resident in Wellington. The duo has been working together over the past year, developing a specific and cohesive dance practise that embraces being fully present and sentient in the act of dancing and performing, both in choreographed and improvised pieces.

The Seeds of Love showcases five new pieces all of which are premiered at the DYSO festival season at Bats.  ‘Duet’ is a sublime, uplifting and spacious opening piece to music by Par Lammers Trio,’ Hide and Seek ‘  to music of the same title by Imogen Heap is a searing tribute to the innocent mothers, babies and children killed in the recent Israeli/Lebanon atrocities. Robin Love, a Wellington based musician, plays raw live acoustic and electric guitar in a musical interlude. ‘Waterfall’ to music by The Stone Roses, is a strong, tongue in cheek, intimate duet. ‘A Life Lived in Skin’ by Annabel Reader speaks of her recent experiences in Bhutan and Delhi. ‘In a woman there is an old woman, a young mother, silent meditations, a nun, a traveller, there is grief and the need to carry on… And all the time we travel through ourselves or through the world.’  This is the journey of soul making.

publicity: Brianne Kerr

Dance , Contemporary dance ,

55 minutes, no interval

Depths and heights

Review by Deirdre Tarrant 20th Sep 2006

Seeds of Love was a series of dances starting with a languid duet between Juliet Shelly and Annabel Reader that set the space for a fluid and introspective programme. Personal solos made by the two dancers had complex programme information to give the context of their choreography.

Hide and Seek by Juliet Shelly started as a pure movement exploration that ultimately was influenced by the current Israeli/Lebanon crisis but the gestural vocabulary somehow belied the seriousness and tragedy of these events? Disconnected and often one-dimensional, the dance asked us to share a sensation, but Shelly retained control of the images and the movement carried her comment and seemed removed from the audience other than as an observer. The two smoking barrels action at the end of the work seemed to trivialise the intent. Or perhaps the insignificance of each of us in the big order of things is what Shelley wanted to emphasise.

It was the other way round in Annabel Reader’s A Life Lived in Skin where her own words and sound informed a journey both literally and emotionally that was real for both Reader and for us as she commented on a range of time wrapped experiences in her own travels to Bhutan and Delhi. There were powerful sections and the weight of the world resonated as she danced with a strong stick with many prongs providing both burden and support.

The lighting by Glenn Ashworth provided another dimension for both choreographers and Reader’s lone walk up the Himalayas was particularly lovely.


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All senses engaged

Review by John Smythe 05th Sep 2006

An eloquent start to BATS’ contributions to the September-long Dance Your Socks Off season, The Seeds of Love by MmmDance, comprises four dance works and one guitar solo, all being premiered in this programme.

The work of Juliet Shelley and Annabel Reader is as much about where they are and what all their senses are experiencing as what they are physically doing – a process Shelley (director of MmmDance) describes as "coming to my senses … out of my head." The ease with which they inhabit their space as well as their bodies offers a gently compelling invitation to share their experiences.

Blue Duet, choreographed by Juliet Shelley, and performed by her and Annabel Reader to the Par Lammers Trio, warms them and us up, orientating us to their receptive / responsive / sensate style.

I find it difficult to reconcile Shelly’s programme note about her solo piece, Hide and Seek, to her choreography (music by Imogen Heap). Dedicated to a Lebanese woman who lost both parents and two daughters to Israeli bombs, and a couple and three children who all lost their lives to Palestinian bombs, it promises much. My problem is that despite the engaging physicality, and a strong sense of her working through her senses, I can’t quite locate her within, or in relation to, the subject matter. The final image, of blowing at the barrels of two smoking hand guns, therefore seems trite rather than shocking.

Robin Love’s unnamed guitar solo is rich and absorbing, if a little squeaky on the fretting fingers (the method of amplification may have over-emphasised that). Waterfall I and II, choreographed, danced and improvised by Reader and Shelley to the Stone Roses from the Remix Album, is fun with fairy frocks. My concern about publicly performed improvisation remains, however: the audience has to be in on the game to enjoy it (as with theatre sports), otherwise it remains a privately understood hit-or-miss process that has more value in the development workshop room.

The final piece works a treat. Choreographed and performed by Annabel Reader to her own recorded text, and sound score sample and mix, it almost subliminally shares the experience of travel to Bhutan, Delhi and up the Himalayas in the wake of "a recent death in my heart". Starting and ending with an aged woman supported by a dead tree branch, it tracks a young woman’s progress from alienation and grief through recovery and discovery to a whole new beginning.

Glenn Ashworth’s selective lighting design and sensitive operation illuminates and enhances a very rewarding 55 minutes.


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