Triple Bill Season
28/07/2012 - 29/07/2012
A promising debut
Review by Jacqui Cesan 04th Aug 2012
This was the first public performance for a newly formed company of young dancers.
Director of Auckland Youth dance company Liz Harvey, gave us insight to her motivation for establishing this company, as she fondly remembered the opportunities she had been given as a teenager by Russell Kerr, who saw an integral part of dance education was the “stage experience”. Through shows of this kind, young dancers learn about the choreographic demands of public performance , including how technologies are used to to enhance performance and most importantly they get experience in establishing that vital connection between performer and audience.
The inaugural programme was a triple bill, presenting three works choreographed by company tutors and the director.
The first piece “Mergence “ saw the dancers simply clad performing a contemporary ballet choreographed by Geordan Wilcox to music by Tiki Taane and Rhian Sheehan. The young dancers performed the dance with commitment in a work that explored a number of connections between dancers .I particularly liked the later part of this piece where the young dancers expertly wove them selves into complicated patterns and then seamlessly untangled themselves.
This piece referenced NZ in its content with some parts incorporating the use of movement and patterning referencing Maori culture.
The second piece a ballet en pointe was choreographed by company director Liz Harvey to a haunting selection of piano music by David Liburn, This was beautifully costumed in colours that truly reflected the title “Tide” and the dancers again performed with commitment and feeling as they pirouetted, leaped and corrued across the stage a in a variety of groupings .There are some promising young dancers among the company and dancers Rachael Williamson and Victoria Wong were particularly charming In this piece.
The dancers were all quite proficient en pointe however I did find the clack of the toe shoes a little distracting given the lyrical quality of the work.
After the intermission the dancers performed a final work “WOW” choreographed by Ichiro Harada. This was a series of dance vignettes that were seemingly (to me anyway) unrelated and were one moment quite contemporary and then almost Jazzy . The dancers again performed with proficiency in each piece, however I did not really understand the “audience participation” part that occurred in the middle of these, and this really made it hard to understand the connection between the series of short dances.
I think perhaps had there been some programme notes about each of the works it may have given those in the audience a chance to gain a little more understanding of what the choreographic intention was for each, as the titles gave little away on their own.
This is a company of enthusiastic and promising young dancers who clearly love what they are doing, and demonstrated this on the night. It is heartening that the directors and tutors of these young people are committed to providing them with opportunities beyond just classes and encouraging them to take on more technically challenging choreography. I was however surprised at the choice of items for a debut concert, and felt that as this is a youth company they might consider having themes more relevant to the age group and present work that focused on ideas developed by the dancers in collaboration with their mentors.
Director Elizabeth Harvey spoke at the end of the evening, stressing her pride in this young company and I was particularly impressed that she has a commitment to using music that is written and performed by NZ artists.
I look forward to seeing future work from this company and am sure that with the dedication shown by the dancers and most certainly their teachers that they will be able find their own unique voice in the dance community
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