UNDERCURRENT

Te Raukura ki Kāpiti Theatre, Coastlands, 32 Raumati Rd, Paraparaumu

24/10/2020 - 24/10/2020

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

29/10/2020 - 29/10/2020

ASB Waterfront Theatre, 138 Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland

31/10/2020 - 31/10/2020

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

05/11/2020 - 05/11/2020

Aurora Centre, Burnside, Christchurch

10/11/2020 - 10/11/2020

Opera House, Wellington

12/11/2020 - 12/11/2020

Production Details


Artist: Kota Yamazaki
Choreographer: Rose Philpott
Sound designer:s Jesse Austin-Stewart, Eden Mulholland


Dive in and be swept into worlds created by Japanese artist Kota Yamazaki and New Zealand choreographer Rose Philpott, Anchored by the intensity and skill of the Footnote New Zealand Dance company members.

US based Japanese artist Kota Yamazaki shares a reflective mosaic of visual delight in his work Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello (echoes). Mysterious, surprising and beautiful, this work is the result of working across continents in a changed world. Inspired by the landscape of Wellington and the unpredictability of human behaviour, this work is buoyed by hypnotic sound design by Jesse Austin-Stewart and intricate, sculptural set design by his Tokyo-based collaborators.

Dry Spell, choreographed by stellar New Zealand choreographer Rose Philpott, is a telling of one night. A whirlpool of frenzied hedonism set to an original composition by superstar sound designer Eden Mulholland. Saturated in colour and energy, Dry Spell sinks to intriguing depths in a strange collection of equally murky and razor-sharp encounters.

SAT 31 OCT  8:00 PM
Bookings: https://nz.patronbase.com/_ATC2/Productions/20UN/Performances


Dancers: 




Nadiyah Akbar, Oliver Carruthers, Sebastian Geilings, Rosie Tapsell, Cheyanne Teka




Multi-discipline , Dance , Contemporary dance ,


80 mins

Blistering new dance works

Review by Amit Noy 13th Nov 2020

“I don’t really exist. But I try really hard.”

These words float ‘like water bubbles’ from Rosie Tapsell’s lips halfway into “Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes]” by Kota Yamazaki, in the first of two blistering new dance works presented by Footnote New Zealand Dance. “Undercurrent” features the aforementioned work by Yamazaki (with assistance from Anita Hunziker) alongside “Dry Spell”, choreographed by Aotearoa’s own Rose Philpott. Yes, “Undercurrent” is a gentle eddy, but at times it is also a riptide, or a meteor strike. Live performance scorches you, especially in the hands of performers as subtle and ferocious as the current Footnote five.

Nadiyah Akbar, Cheyanne Teka, Oliver Carruthers, Rosie Tapsell, and Sebastian Geilings (the dancers) all astound in their focus and commitment. Their deep-seated embodiment is as precise and impacting as a pressure point.

“Undercurrent” opens with Yamazaki’s “Fogs, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes]”. Kiuchi Toshikatsu and Kei Machidai have created a floating sculpture which is both spider and cumulonimbus, and covered the stage in reflective flooring. The dancers enter this space like limpid scraps of cloth, and begin the “process of becoming, without becoming something”. They spew forth movement obsessively, sucked into Yamazaki’s rigorous choreographic riptide. I remember centipede fingers, scuttles like emaciated beetles, and a visceral Butoh-esque body vibration/roar/groan. It was like watching an earthquake. I was reminded that, oh yes! I am nothing more or less than the sum of fifty billion cells.

Jesse Austin-Stewart’s sound design deviantly repeated the background sounds of life, revealing them as their own thing: a continuous tumble of small waves, a high-pitched electronic beep, and a ground-shuddering drone. I imagined the creation of new bodies of land, and the shifting oftectonic plates. And the costumes, also by Yamazaki, were queer assemblages that paid homage to Junya Watanabe and Rei Kawakubo’s delicate abnormalities. Lisa Maule lit the space with a broad, expansive subtlety. It is always a delight to see familiar spaces in new ways, and I’ll be thinking about the ocean of dancing light on the ceiling of the Opera House, beamed into space by the reflective floor, for weeks to come.

But it is the dancers who stunned. Rosie Tapsell’s leg extensions were vicious cuts of matter, and Oliver Carruthers, during the aforementioned body-vibration, throttled the air using only his tongue.

One more note, scrawled during the performance: body amazement.

We returned from interval to Rose Philpott’s “Dry Spell”, which depicts the depraved intestines of contemporary capitalism. Dressed in costumes that spit obscene wealth, by Hannah-Lee Jade, the dancers leered and gyrated to Eden Mulholland’s propulsive rhythms. “Dry Spell” deconstructs the terrifying vapidity of our botoxed life, where even the way we breathe is a plastic, self-commodifying practice.

It all takes place at a party — at Malibu, perhaps, hosted by a would-be Kardashian, or a TikTok star. Nadiyah Akbar and Cheyenne Teka are gleaming, magnetic — the force of their eye-gaze penetrates far into the Opera House stalls. As the night progresses, the guests’ decorum slowly unravels. They fall into the delirious underbelly of the AM. The climax of “Dry Spell” is an intoxicating solo by Sebastian Geilings, who burns through space in a beautiful study of delusion — the internet’s favourite gasoline.

Congratulations to Footnote, and all of those involved in the making of “Undercurrent”. Thank youfor a heady, exhilarating night.

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Wariness, disconnection, and partying with careless abandon

Review by Dr Ian Lochhead 11th Nov 2020

The return of live dance to our stages, as theatres in the northern hemisphere are once again closing their doors, is a further reminder of how lucky New Zealand has been in its effective national response to Covid 19.  It was thus somewhat surprising to find that the Aurora Centre was less than half full for Footnote New Zealand Dance’s very welcome Christchurch performance of its latest programme, Undercurrent, as part of its national tour. Was this a product of residual nervousness about venturing out, the use of a suburban venue, or the fact that dance audiences have yet to regain the habit of attending live shows? With little prospect of tours by international performers for the foreseeable future, and with national companies restricted in their ability to travel abroad, now is surely the ideal time to rediscover our local dance companies and to give them our support.

Footnote offered a contrasting programme of two works, Japanese choreographer Kota Yamazaki’s Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes] and Dry Spell by Rose Philpott.  Both, in their very different ways, can be seen as a response to our current condition.  We have certainly been suffering from a ‘dry spell’ where live dance is concerned and the seemingly random collection of nouns that make up Yamazaki’s title speaks to the disorientation we have all experienced in 2020.  Nevertheless, both works have wider concerns than our immediate situation.

Yamazaki’s work opens with a darkened stage, bare apart from lamps placed on the floor towards the back of the stage, and a jagged, cloud-like form hovering above.  From the start the presence of the sea, signalled by the title, is suggested through Lisa Maule’s clever lighting that suggests an aqueous sheen across the dance floor.  This theme is also present in Jesse Austin-Stewart’s sound design, which evolves over the course of the work from the actual sounds of waves to an ever increasing electronic roar.  Within this framework the five dancers move in fragmented patterns, maintaining distance as if wary of physical and emotional contact.  The costumes, designed by Yamazaki himself, employ layers of slashed material that suggest contemporary fashion but also no specific time.  Their monochrome palette has four of the five dancers dressed in black, with the fifth in white.  The reason for this disparity is hard to detect from a single viewing, since the disconnection between all five dancers seems to be the dominant theme.  Yamazaki also introduces spoken text throughout the performance, always a tricky element to pull off successfully.  Like the movement vocabulary, the spoken words seem to provide little connection between one performer and another; they range from self-reflexive commentary about the dance itself to mundane descriptions of unrelated activities.  The work as a whole has a neo-dada like quality, a reflection, perhaps of a world that has been shaken up and in which we are yet to find a new equilibrium, much like the situation following the last global pandemic of a century ago when Dada first flourished. 

In the work’s final moments a mysterious coil of luminous rope is dragged onto the stage and a dancer presses her body into the floor seeking to find a connection between her own self and the world around her.  Has anything changed? Have we felt it?  Indeed, we are left wondering, what is our capacity as individuals to bring about change at all?

If the unifying element for Yamazaki’s work is water, that for Philpott’s is fire. The curtain opens on a stage framed by rooms formed from hanging orange drops. These act as screens from within and between which the dancers emerge.  The darkened, monochrome world of Yamazaki’s work is replaced by the hot colours of Hannah-Lee Jade Turner’s costumes and Philpott’s setting, through which the company moves with careless abandon.  Eden Mulholand’s driving score propels the movement relentlessly forward, although it also changes gear for moments of sultry abandon.  There is a parallel here with Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, a feeling of vacuous and careless good times as the world around sizzles towards destruction.  A flight of steps is used to suggest the excesses of high fashion and conspicuous consumption, but is also used as an effective prop for entrances and exits.  The party carries on, but at what cost?

In their very different ways both works suggest that now is a time to take stock and rethink our direction if we are to avoid cataclysm.  Footnote’s dancers bring their usual energy and commitment to both works in a way that shows their total engagement with these themes. At a time when escapism might have seemed the order of the day we are reminded that the clock is ticking and that it may even be too late.

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Pandemic and uncertainty fuel choreography

Review by Raewyn Whyte 11th Nov 2020

Two boldly contrasting dance works premiere in UNDERCURRENT by Footnote NZ Dance, currently on a national tour which celebrates the company’s 35th year of performing.

Choreographed by US-based Japanese artist Kota Yamazaki and Aucklander Rose Philpott these dances were rapturously received by a full house ASB Waterfront Theatre. Yamazaki’s absorbingly zen Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello (echoes) is inspired by Wellington landscapes and the unpredictability of human nature.

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Being, becoming...

Review by Jo Thorpe 02nd Nov 2020

There is a buzz of anticipation in Tauranga’s Baycourt Theatre foyer before the opening of Footnote’s second performance in its seven-city national tour.  Dance-lovers from near and far are relishing finally being able to come together to experience their first live theatrical dance performance since March. 

Undercurrent. What lies below the surface?  What suppressed emotions or submerged forces are strong enough to make waves?  Footnote’s evocatively titled new programme of two works explores two very different aspects of human behaviour which come under scrutiny and have particular relevance in our new Covid 19 world.    

Entering the auditorium we are greeted by a stage dimly lit with pinpoints of light reflecting on a watery-looking surface. A Len Lye-ish cloud hovers above right and a pure, high female voice – a kind of 21st century ululation – lures the audience into a sense of security and calm.   

But the first work, Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes] is anything but serene.  Choreographed by US-based Japanese artist Kota Yamazuki and assisted by Anita Hunziker, it is a visceral manifestation of neurotic uncertainty.  Yamazuki trained as Butoh practitioner from the age of 18, and has training in music and fashion design.  All is in black and white – the sculptural costumes (Yamazuki) and the atmospheric set design (Kuichi Tashikatsu). 

As the lights grow even dimmer, the dancers enter one by one – three female and two male dancers, all new to the company this year and all with impressive performance experience to date. They lurch and slide, hesitant and insecure. There are staccato movements of arms and legs.  At times they resemble birds from a Bill Hammond painting, high stepping, as if testing the water.  At other times they seem to be communicating through Perspex screens, separated from each other.  When they do occasionally connect, it is to oh-so-briefly ricochet off in another direction.  

This sense of tactile disjunction is felt even down to the sound of the dancers’ feet squeaking on the surface of the floor.  And the dim lighting means they remain deliberately anonymous.  By turns sinuous and angular, hesitant and aggressive, the dancers perform with artistry and commitment, skilfully translating Jesse Austin-Stewart’s vibrating, haunting soundscape.  When human noises begin to take over, there are gasps, screams, groans, screeches.  Words are added, spoken by the dancers (though often indecipherable). Those I do discern – ‘ two ships’, ‘time is random, empty’, ‘memory is thick’ – suggest the ‘Fog’ in the title. As the sense of confusion builds, so too, the electronic percussive soundscape. All is out-of-kilter, off-balance. 

A welcome change is heralded by the sound of small waves lapping a shore.   Again, spoken words swim in and out of earshot – ‘tender light’, ‘my body is an empty vessel’, ‘the underside of leaves.’  But the reprieve is brief. Snatches of seemingly unrelated phrases build, along with a crescendo of screeching sound like that of a huge jet airplane taking off from a runway.  The cumulative effect is one of nonstop agitation, even aggression. And a profound sense of dys/function. When an illuminated white rope is finally uncoiled onto a corner of the stage, I feel that something hopeful and coherent may now offer itself.  But what that might be, we are left to wonder.  

The second work, Dry Spell, choreographed by NZ Unitec graduate, choreographer, university lecturer and costume designer, Rose Philpott, is the perfect foil to the first.  Gone the dimly lit, black and white set design of ocean and a single hovering cloud.  Instead, brazenly-lit floor-to-ceiling scarlet curtains wrap around the wings and form the backdrop. At various times during the piece, these are drawn open and closed to great effect, to reveal a flight of 5 white stairs, a party, a couple, a solo or a threesome.   

Gone too, the mood of edgy caution and anxious anonymity.  Bright lighting and a swelling score by Eden Mulholland allow the dancers to abandon themselves, revealing individual characters and personalities. One seduces in her slinky, emerald green dress.  Another delivers a soliloquy in crimson as she draws long blood-red gloves up and over her hands, her wrists, her elbows.  A third slowly takes off a long-sleeved white shirt to reveal a skimpy red leotard. Untying and stepping out of loose white trousers, the dancer becomes a flying red dart, claiming the stage in a series of tumbles and rolls, extensions and dynamic spins.  It is an electrifying tour de force.

Dry Spell is a vibrant, devil-may-care fantasy.  Sensuous and sexy, it plays with the sense of abandonment born out of a desire to live in-the-moment. And there is some fabulous unison dancing.

But it is Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes] which stays with me days later. Something about the uncertainty and tension, the separated-ness and sense of angst, lingers in the psyche. As does the question hinted at by one of the dancers towards the end of the piece (and possibly asked by many of us during lockdown): Maybe it is enough to simply be/come, without necessarily becoming some/thing

Undercurrent now tours to New Plymouth, Nelson, Christchurch and Wellington, continuing to do what Footnote has done for 35 years – bring original, stimulating, professional contemporary dance to regional New Zealand.  (Next time, Tairawhiti please.) A special congratulations goes to all the dancers – Sebastian Geilings, Rosie Tapsell, Cheyanne Teka, Nadiyah  Akbar and Oliver Carruthers – for realising these two works so beautifully.  

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Double bill offers contrasting dance experiences

Review by Nicole Wilkie 01st Nov 2020

Undercurrent, a double bill offering from Footnote New Zealand Dance, showcases Kiwi and international choreographic talent. At a time where much of the world is still under heavy restriction and isolation, I am delighted to see live dance making a resurgence in New Zealand.

Kota Yamazaki’s Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello (echoes) begins the show in an ethereal dream-like state, which quickly descends into an examination of personal neuroses, and individual idiosyncrasies. Each dancer portrays unique characteristics that become increasingly frantic as the music builds to a loud, anxiety-inducing drone. The performers are very much in their own worlds for the majority of the work, making the rare moments of contact between people more special. The dancers are skilled at balancing a sense of chaos and franticness with expert control over their bodies and movement simultaneously.

Rose Philpott’s Dry Spell begins with vivid sounds and colour, in contrast to Yamazaki’s piece. The dancers emerge with palpable energy, emerging from orange drapes and grooving about the stage with a distinct disco influence. Although the mood fluctuates throughout the work, at every instance the musicality between the sound and the movement is satisfying. This piece makes use of clever partnering and group choreography, the interactions between dancers are refreshingly human and provide a divergence from the heavy individualism of Yamazaki’s work. The dancers compete with each other in a flurry of trios and duets spiralling the stage, in movement that is quirky yet sure of itself.

Undercurrent is a wonderful pairing of two stylistically different dance works, and the Footnote dancers show their expertise and versatility as they flow from the first piece into the second. I commend the choreography of Philpott and Yamazaki, both works are thoughtful and engaging from start to finish.

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Where or when?

Review by Donna Banicevich Gera 25th Oct 2020

‘Undercurrent’ presented by Footnote New Zealand Dance at Coastlands Theatre; Kapiti Coast is a splendid return to the world of live performance. Nothing beats sitting in an inspiring new venue, watching a cast and crew give their all. Haven’t we missed this?

When we’re back in our seats, and we start looking at a performance our attention moves from detail to detail as we build our first impressions and enter the undiscovered world presented before us. This production invites our response to two works. Both ask us to question our reality. Both are beautifully detailed, emotionally charged works. Both tell the tales of loves and losses in ordinary people’s lives.

Both are serious, polished, and unrelenting. Both make you connect – but you find yourself asking where or when?

The first performance ‘Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes]’ choreographed by Kota Yamazaki (in collaboration with the dancers) portrays the universe of nature and unpredictable human behaviours. It opens with light shining on the dark water of a shifting night, lulling us into a false sense of security before we enter the disconnect. It is sometimes static, always compelling, and relentless in its pursuit of life force.

I hear a person behind me whisper ‘The individual choreography is beautiful.’ Yes – it is.

The second piece, ‘Dry Spell’ choreographed by Rose Philpott explores fantasy and reality colliding with each other. You are asked what it means when the world burns and you still have a drink in hand. Bright light and upbeat tempo contrast like a seductive tango.

When will this dry spell end? Where or when?

The dancers — Sebastian Geilings, Rosie Tapsell, Cheyanne Teka, Nadiyah Akbar, and Oliver Carruthers — all deliver skilled, committed performances. There is strength in their individual pieces, and when they mingle, and merge, they mount fine coherent contributions.

My impressions are memorable. Both pieces are sources of pleasure. Stories are imbedded within the choreography and created by the dancers. There is a point of view that each dancer adopts, each different. The way each piece is organised and laid bare on the stage is compelling. Shapes, lines, colours, and emotion become woven together into the imagery that is ‘Undercurrent’.

Music, lighting, set? A minimalist wonderland.

You leave the theatre thinking, focusing on small details, wondering about the more exploratory ‘open’ invitation to entertain your own personal response.

I started with where, I thought about when, why don’t you?

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Scintillating dance, strongly contrasting double bill

Review by Tania Kopytko 25th Oct 2020

What a pleasure and privilege it is to watch live New Zealand dance in a theatre! Footnote New Zealand Dance premiered their season Undercurrent tonight at the beautiful new Te Raukura ki Kāpiti Theatre in Raumati, to a good and enthusiastic audience. This really was also to be a world premiere, as the intention was to tour this work internationally, but due to Covid restrictions that is not currently possible.

Footnote give us an evening of scintillating dance showing again the skill of their company. This is a new company of five dancers, featuring Nadiyah Akbar, Oliver Carruthers, Sebastian Geilings, Rosie Tapsell and Cheyanne Teka. Geilings, Teka and Akbar trained at the NZ School of Dance and Tapsell and Carruthers at Unitec. All already have impressive dance career histories.

Undercurrent comprises of two works, the first is Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes] and the second work is Dry Spell.  The two works contrast well, giving us a diverse and interesting programme.

Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes], the first work, is choreographed by Kota Yamazaki, who hails from Niigata, Japan. It is certainly a work of our strange times, as due to Covid restrictions, Yamazaki remarkably created the work remotely with the dancers and assistant choreographer Anita Hunziker.

It is a very abstract piece with a relationship to Butoh-type movement philosophy, which Yamazaki studied. It is also strong in design and sculptural qualities, as Yamazaki also trained in fashion design and music conducting.

The programme notes say this work “attempts to reveal another dimension of reality through the ever transforming state in the bodies and words of interruption, oblivion, repetition and silence, which float in space like water bubbles”.

Yes it is abstract and is like watching the giant cosmos moving around; each planet, asteroid or piece of junk exuding its own innate nature, or perhaps the haphazard but fascinating “symphonic” behaviour of amoebic life under a microscope, or looking at society from above as crowds, birds, jetsam and flotsam randomly interact in a time-lapse film.

The dancers move around the set in fragments of individually characteristic movement phrases which we see repeated in different circumstances, adding phrase layers to the work. At times these meld together in pleasing non-contact clusters or duets, then they break out into big strong ensemble movements, or quiet contemplation or some contact phrases and duets. At times they utter fragments of dialogue, like you might hear as people walk past you. These were not always clear to hear. Then, to a sound rather like an aeroplane taking off, the dancers are disturbed, and tremble and shake. To me they looked like poor birds being affected by the sonic sound waves of the violent engine. But it could be anything you wish to see. The abstract nature of the work means the audience can read what they like into the episodes. Combined with the abstract, stylish set and the sound score, there is ample opportunity for this.

The striking set design by Kiuchi Toshikatsu has a hovering plastic cloud, a flock of lights which look like birds and a shiny floor. I did find the dancers’ feet squeaking on the floor distracting but as the sound grew, it became less noticeable. The costumes, designed by Kota Yamazaki, are also stylish and add to the individualism of the entities. The sound design by Jesse Austin-Stewart is integral to the performance. Movement, costume, set and sound are the integrated cosmos.  It is a challenging work for an audience if they are not familiar with a Butoh-style movement work, but the different “scenes” shift at a reasonable pace, to enable a sustained interest.

Dry Spell, the second work, is by New Zealand choreographer Rose Philpott, also a graduate of UNITEC. Currently a lecturer at the University of Auckland she has been working widely in the NZ contemporary dance scene, e.g. with Okareka Dance Company, the Foster Group, Footnote Dance and many others.

Dry Spell contrasts beautifully with the first work, as Dry Spell is full of wry social comment, is upbeat, stylish and out there. Once again the company of five show their fine dance skills. Supported by striking set (Rose Philpott) and costumes (Hannah-Lee Jade Turner) with a belting, throbbing score by Eden Mulholland, Philpott takes you to the world of high class social parties and the in-crowd, with all their intrigues and foibles, nastiness and vulnerability. Here the dancers have found different theatrical, high camp characterisations to develop and embody, and Philpott has used a wonderful movement vocabulary, fusing jazz, model-like prancing and contemporary dance vocabulary to create the hedonistic party world.  The orange curtains are pulled shut or opened to reveal intrigues and the white stairs allow some clever episodes. Dry Spell received a strong, warm audience reaction, as did Footnote New Zealand Dance on their opening night of a NZ tour. 

Prior to the season opening Footnote have been posting some interesting statements by the dancers during the process of the works’ development. It gives us an insight into the dancers reaction to the works, which is important as they are the interpreters/expressors. In the case of Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello [echoes] I think this is useful, as like abstract painting if you know more about the generation of the work, you will get more out of it.

“What excites me most about this season is the rich and unique approaches to two very contrasting, yet complementary, worlds in both works. As a performer, it is a thrill to be pulled and pushed within a vast spectrum of embodiments, and discoveries of self and caricature.” Sebastian Geilings.

From Kāpiti, Footnote tour to Tauranga, Auckland, New Plymouth, Nelson, Christchurch and then their home Wellington. Have a wonderful tour Footnote New Zealand Dance in our new Covid-affected theatrical frontier world – go well, be safe, be successful and be happy!!

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