Maidment Theatre, Auckland

01/07/2015 - 02/07/2015

Production Details

With two fantastic nights of fresh and inspiring work, YouDance showcases the tremendous depth of talent in secondary schools and youth dance companies. Let our young choreographers and dancers show you what they’re capable of!  Each programme is different – come both nights!

YouDance provides a non-competitive, collegial, positive environment for youth in dance, valuing excellence, learning through sharing, and diversity.

Presented by the Northern Dance Network – all kinds of dance for all kinds of people.

Artistic Director: Jacqui Cesan
Project Manager: Melanie Turner
Chair: Patrice O’Brien

Venue: Maidment Theatre – 7.30pm start each night

Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes, including interval, each night

Telephone bookings and enquiries: (09) 308 2383

Wednesday 1 July Thursday 2 July
Rutherford College Western Springs College
Mt Albert Grammar One Step Beyond
Takapuna Grammar Botany Senior Secondary College
Rangitoto College Pointy Dog Dance Company
Boyzdance Ormiston Senior College
Howick College Glendowie College
Mt Roskill Grammar Onehunga High School
Pakuranga College Tauranga Girls College

Youth , Dance-theatre , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

90 minutes each programme

Entertaining, energetic and able

Review by Briar Wilson 03rd Jul 2015

An hour and a half of entertaining, at times energetic, able dance from 8 groups or schools makes up the second night’s programme at You Dance 2015. Some schools provide two or three pieces, often with different dancers.  Perhaps they are from the same year or class, or perhaps they are not?  I’m inclined to think that more information here would have been interesting as the level of dance was impressive, seeming to get better every year.

Ormiston’s piece entitled Creation, is choreographed for 7 by Barbara Ngawati, based on Maori myth in relation to the sea.  Starting with a blob-like huddle, the group expands to undulate and weave, sometimes with haka movements, to bring to mind fish, seaweed, going well with their music – Tangaroa – God of the Sea.

Western Springs College show three pieces, two being choreographed by student dancers, the third being an excerpt from the New Zealand Dance Company’s Rotunda, that being well and movingly performed.  Two smaller groups who performtheir own pieces are to be congratulated for both their inventiveness and their technical ability.

More traditional fare comes from students at Botany Downs Secondary College, three of whom put together a mix of ballet/jazz moves (pirouettes and turns), with some more physical stuff (e.g. backward rolls) for 13 dancers.  Two of the three choreographers were not in the piece so could keep things organised and see what they’d created – jobs well done!

When young dancers choreograph their own work, it means that they have reached a good level of sophistication and technical ability – also that they can work together – although presumably needing some oversight.  Again I would welcome knowing who had that responsibility – as they should also be acknowledged and congratulated. Thus I commend Jessie McCall’s work overseeing Pointy Dog Youth Dance Company a group stemming from classes at TAPAC.  13 dancers are spread over three pieces, each being choreographed by its dancers, that being a feat in itself.  They use a good range of movement, sometimes individual, other times in unison, and in Pendulum convey connection and disconnection with aplomb.

Similarly Grace Woollett is a good teacher for One Step Beyond Youth Dance Company.  Each of their three pieces are the work of either a student (who did or did not dance in the piece) or of the dancers themselves (as in Rise).  They show impressive ability by producing a whole that was expressive even while integrating different interesting shapes from the dancers as individuals.

Auckland welcomes an out of towner – Tauranga Girls College  bringing a handful of dancers to perform in two pieces, each with a non-dancing student choreographer.  Each piece has a serious message.  Torn starts with Dr Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream…”, the sound of shots coming towards the end, but the theme of martyrdom requires more time than five minutes for proper development.  Gute Seele (translation Good Soul) is also sombre, set to  Requiemish, a mass(?) with choir and strings, ending the piece with each dancer taking an introspective look at herself in a hand mirror.

Glendowie College’s first piece is a duet with dancer/choreographers who work tightly and with success on their theme – A bird in the Hand – to show the two sides of experience – what you have, as against what you think you’re missing – one dancer having a band over the eyes that is finally taken away.  The second piece, Fanaticism, choreographed by Lydia Rasmussen for 14 dancers, has interesting shapes and lines, contrast and interdependency.

Onehunga High School is bursting with energy in Nafanui suggesting Pacifika with flower anklets for the girls, choreographed by Teuila Hughes to drum beats.  She does a really good job of mixing cultural and European movements – which I think is not easy as such a mix often seems to go wrong. This is vibrantly danced, as is the final dance in the show – Mana.  This is just for the guys – 10 of them – choreographed by Richie Cesan in a collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet – to “explore what it means to be male”!


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Large ensemble works particularly impressive

Review by Raewyn Whyte 02nd Jul 2015

Performances by teenagers from seven Auckland high schools and a youth dance company set the audience on fire with enthusiasm in night one of You Dance 2015, the annual Auckland region youth dance festival. Now in its fourth year, You Dance brings the dancers together to perform and celebrate dances they have made at school in course work alongside those made in after school hours – letting them find out how they measure up beside their peers.

The 14 dance works of the first night programme make it easy to see that high school dance in the region has jumped up several notches technically and creatively in the past year, with choreography showing increased structural complexity and a willingness to try some new things, movement derived from a huge variety of sources, and performances in general displaying more polished technical execution. While the general theme of most dances is the exploration of issues to do with identity and relationships, as you would expect, there is a specific focus on stretching limits, anticipating changes ahead, and questioning what it is to be yourself.

Larger scale group works are a real feature this year.

Howick College’s complexly structured En Route is particularly impressive. Choreographed by teachers Nita Latu and Santana Schmidt in collaboration with 12 dancers, the dance has seven clearly delineated sections which explore decision and indecision, the up and downs and lack of clarity that is part of the decision-making process, and the way chance encounters can influence the route to the final choice. Wearing loose white shirts which flow like liquid over black tights and sneakers, this is set to Remember You by Wiz Khalifa, closing with spoken text by one of the dancers. The dancers are terrific, dealing well with the work’s complex demands.

18 dancers from Takapuna Grammar School’s Cactus Dance Company present a polished façade in Glitch by teacher Juliet Cryns. Dressed in black with silver panelling, they are clearly robots, and they are a disciplined squad, moving in impeccably crisp unison whether en masse  or in smaller groups. Eden Mulholland’s Beside Itself, however, seems a very odd choice of music as its lyrics (featuring sonorous repetitions of the phrase Gloria in excelsis dei) are completely ignored. Music would seem to be similarly maltreated, acting as a more or less random aural wallpaper, in the continuously moving and carefully structured Brought is to Bring, collaboratively developed by Takapuna Grammar’s TGS Integrated Dance Group with Touch Compass dancers Georgie Goater and Alisha McLennan. In this dance, the music bubbles along beside light-hearted and obviously enjoyed interactions amongst shifting groups of dancers.

Two very passionate dances absolutely bring down the house with prolonged applause and cheers.

Under the Influence is a trio choreographed by dancer Gabriel Sutton for himself and two mates from the Boyzdance company who really love to dance. They wear shirts and jeans, and they each have an armchair where they pause for thought.  Set to The Friends are Knocking by Hopsin, and with a theme of individual passions shared, this is an utter charmer, winning us over with the confidence and charisma of the performers as much as by the beautifully crafted choreography and the casual interjection of hiphop tricks just when you least expect them.  

Also a charmer is the final dance of the evening, Autele, choreographed by teacher Samantha French for 10 male and 7 female dancers from Mt Albert Grammar School. A vibrant and dynamically driven dance based in Samoan traditions, this requires precision in rhythm and spatial patterns arising from the constant re-positioning of groups on the stage. There’s no doubting the passion and commitment of the performers to be the best they can be, and they perform with passion, pride and verve to Maori Beat by Highlight Tribe.

Pakuranga College, Rangitoto College, Mt Albert Grammar School, Mt Roskill Grammar School and Rutherford College also contributed works to this programme. Works from 6 more schools and 2 further youth companies will be presented in programme 2 .


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