A merry whirl

Auckland Arts Festival dance programme: Virtuosi. Photo / Supplied
Auckland Arts Festival dance programme: Virtuosi. Photo / Supplied

For dance aficionados, the European award-winning Babel (Words) will be a must-see. But Sue Healey's dance film Virtuosi, a feature-length documentary that examines the special nature of virtuosity in dance, should not be missed. Eight New Zealand dancers who all left early in their careers to further their art, and who reached the top echelons of the international dance scene, tell their intimate stories, in movement and words.

In a huge undertaking that was three years in the making, against landmark backdrops in Berlin, London, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville and Brussels, Healey sets out to reveal not just a portrait of the Kiwi dance diaspora but how location, both old and new, shapes the individuals' identity and their work.

Though their adopted cultures make a significant mark, Healey speaks also of the similarities in their movement, the "New Zealandness in their bodies" and the groundedness that many trace back to a barefooted childhood in New Zealand.

The featured dancers are Mark Baldwin, Craig Bary, Lisa Densem, Raewyn Hill, Sarah-Jayne Howard, Jeremy Nelson, Ross McCormack and Claire O'Neil.

Atamira Dance Company also comes to the party with Hou 2013, presenting new works by Jack Grey, Nancy Wijohn and Cathy Livermore, and the latest completed section of artistic director Moss Patterson's Moko, which is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Gray's work Tu Moana, based on his ancestral connections with Mitimiti, is a song to the land in duet form.

Wijohn explores the competitive nature of Maori, in both historical warfare and contemporary sport, and Cathy Livermore takes a political stand in her exploration of the effect of the Government's planned asset sales on urban Maori. Moko is also presented separately in fuller form, followed by a discussion with Patterson and ta moko artist Derek Lardelli in Moko - In Rehearsal.


Auckland Arts Festival

What: Babel (Words)

Where and when: The Civic, March 21-23

What: Virtuosi

Where and when: Loft, Q Theatre, March 20-22

What: Hou 2013

Where and when: Shed 1, Corban Estate Arts Centre, March 8-9

What: Moko - In Rehearsal

Where and when: Loft, Q Theatre, March 23Sue Healey's Virtuosi reveals a portrait of the Kiwi dance diaspora.

- NZ Herald

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