Wisdom of Waters

BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

02/02/2021 - 06/02/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Speaking Spines

This is a serene, ethereal and surreal exploration; a movement meditation on what weaves women together.

This powerful work somatically explores ancient and modern feminine figures and ideologies, weaving together a new choreographic and serpent-like movement language inspired from visual art, rituals, the texture of clay, mythology and snakes.

Here, in this place, time warps and dreams blend into beautiful reality. In a rolling series of ritual-like scenes, symbolic objects appear, evolve, dissolve and morph. This is a dance between worlds.


The work has been collaboratively created by the collective Speaking Spines, an all-female group of artists based in Pōneke/ Wellington;

Choreographer - Georgia Beechey
Lighting Designer - Elekis Poblete-Teirney
Sound Designer - Emma Bernard// Ludus
Performers - Ella Carling, Tui Hofmann, Haze Caudwell, Gabbi Mersi, Amelia Grey, Milo Meldrum

Contemporary dance , Dance ,

60 mins

Rituals and symbolism feature in subtle and overt ways.

Review by Helen Balfour 03rd Mar 2021

Side lighting beautifully enhances the delineation of feminine torsos as the drone-like watery sounds and haze fill the air and establish a mood of creation. The contours of divinely curved backs and muscular definition feature in the opening of Wisdom of Water, created by the collective, Speaking Spines. The clever set design provides a sense of receding and revealing, always at a low level as though the performers are being consumed, building stillness and anticipation. 

Rituals and symbolism feature in subtle and overt ways. Costuming in red, a cloth woven screen growing as the performance develops, red apples and serpent like hand gestures allude to the creation story. The association between femininity, love and the links that bind all women are evident through aspects of the choreography.  Notably, the serpent-like ‘shedding of skin duo’ whereby the performers maintain contact at their heads and a transformation occurs, perhaps an acknowledgement to the vulnerability of humans. The lively celtic music section creates a sense of joy, reciprocity and celebration, giving the performers the opportunity to finally dance in unison. More of this interconnected dynamic play between the performers may have emphasized the bonds they have.

The lighting and effects by Elekis Poblete-Teirney provides the ethereal atmosphere and time warp links most successfully. Emma Bernard/Ludus’ sound design strongly combines the work’s intentions and gathers the whole piece together.

I commend Speaking Spines for taking risks, proclaiming women for who they are and taking us into their journey.


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