RUSHES

is the perfect festival event, leaving audience members smiling, energised and comparing the highlights of an hour or so of an immersion into live art.

Dreamed up by choreographer/director Malia Johnston, RUSHES is a collaboration with Eden Mullholland (music), John Verryt (scenic design), Rowan Pierce (AV design) and Jo Kilgour (lighting design) hosted by Auckland Live.

The result is the transformation of the Aotea Centre's Lower NZI convention centre into a temporary "art gallery" of 11 living artworks in separate spaces featuring a rich hybrid of live dance and music, sculpture and projected imagery.

None of the installations remain the same for more than a few seconds. You can linger and absorb, move on slowly or rapidly, take a quick tour to find the most entrancing room and settle in there, or keep on circling until the last minutes when the (temporary) walls threaten to come down.

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There are amazing things to see including a whirling holographic vortex which hangs in mid-air, a room full of teetering bodies who seem to be sharing a spiritual state, a peep show wall which provides tantalising glimpses of mysteriously writhing surfaces, and a steady stream of solos, duets and trios from some of the country's best dancers.

It's simultaneously relaxing, energising, entrancing, playful, immersive, fanciful, inspiring and entirely delightful.

Mulholland's deliciously variegated live music, with cameo insets, is the unifying thread for RUSHES which draws to a close with his haunting yet driving, I can taste the virus. It brings all the performers and audience into the same space at last and is a stirring and perfect finale.

What: Auckland Fringe Festival - Rushes
Where & when: Lower NZI, Aotea Centre; until February 25
Reviewed by Raewyn Whyte