Fringe dance offerings delicate, fierce and funny

By Raewyn Whyte

Week two of the Auckland Fringe Festival for dance lovers opened at the Basement with Wellington-based Jen McArthur's insightful and exquisite Echolalia, a beautifully crafted, sensitively delivered presentation of a day in the life of Echo, a young woman on the autism spectrum. When the challenges of the day overwhelm her and when her irrepressible spirit breaks out, Echo dances through her bedsit, with leaps and turns and sheer delight - so inspiring to behold.

Wellington-based Rifleman Productions have brought two separate works to Q Loft in their double bill, which comes to a close tonight. At 7pm is the now decade-old award-winning Terrain, a boutique-scaled work featuring segments of densely crafted, intricate and awesome choreographic manoeuvres in tiny spaces.

Developed by Malia Johnston and Guy Ryan and toured extensively by them in New Zealand and Australia, it has now been passed on to Anita Hunziker and Luke Hanna.

Terrain gently and deftly explores the relationships between a man and a woman and their interactions with a continuously transforming environment, reflecting some themes from Gulliver's Travels in its use of miniature objects that contrast with the apparently huge humans.

Beautifully presented by Hanna and Hunziker, the dancing is set against an eclectic collection of tracks played on vinyl records, many of them ballads.

Amanimal at 9pm is a feral, fierce and surprisingly funny investigation of some of the deeper aspects of human nature, structured as a series of interactions that eventually turn full circle. Dancers Paul Young and Ross McCormack are riveting to watch (and listen to), performing an astonishing array and sequencing of movements and vocal effects against live music (bass and lead guitar, loops, effects and vocals) created by Eden Mulholland. Their various guises bury them in fake fur coats and wreathe them in sheets and they're also responsible for a live sound score and cleverly timed effects with projected film by Rowan Pierce.

With overall design by John Verryt, Amanimal is the first version of what will become a larger work in the Rifleman repertoire in due course.

The dance programme continues with six more premieres yet to come.

What: Auckland Fringe Festival dance programme, week two

Where: The Basement and Q Loft

- NZ Herald

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