Ten years ago Footnote, the little company that could - and had already served us up great indigenous contemporary dance for 20 years - instigated its Forte Season. Every year an outstanding New Zealand dance artist, living and working abroad, was brought home to make a new work for the company.
The results were memorable, and it is from these cutting-edge performances that the indomitable Deirdre Tarrant, company founder, has made a personal selection entitled Footnote Fragmented to fill the first half of this programme, celebrating Footnote's 30-year anniversary.
First up, in gothic black, pale faces and limbs marvellously illuminated, comes a still powerfully dark and lyrical snippet from Raewyn Hill's In Time of Flight (2002.) From there it is a wonderful tumble through the years: Malia Johnston's boxed up Miniatures (2004), shouted shenanigans from Claire O'Neil's MYTland (2008), the hilariously hooded minions of Hullapolloi (2010) by Kate McIntosh and Jo Randerson, and on through Lisa Densem's We have been there (2013), Sarah Foster-Sproull's frisky Colt (2013) and The Status of Being, by Alexa Wilson (2014).
It is a tumultuous journey through time, space and artistic vision which the current company's six young dancers take in their fabulous stride, magnificently inhabiting each of the works, body, mind and soul.
Then comes the second half. In her new work Flip Pivot Boom, with music by Bevan Smith and an almost hallucinogenic AV design by Rowan Pierce, Johnston unleashes a fury of movement, passionate, polished and riveting. Tendrils from the past seed a possible preview of the future.
The message is cheering. Contemporary dance has often, in recent times, lingered in the deep and meaningful realms of "physical theatre", where technique, talent and the fine art of dance has played second fiddle. Some have even proclaimed the end for dance as it is increasingly performed by those who can't.
Flip Pivot Boom is a clear vote for technique, talent and a recognisable art. And the vision is not Johnston's alone.
Programme notes emphasise the level of collaboration in making this work by crediting the choreography to the skilled and beautiful dancers Jeremy Beck, Kosta Bogoievski, Brydie Colquhoun, Emma Dellabarca, Adam Naughton and Lana Phillips.
For this, for an evening of exceptional dance, and for the potential they portend for another fabulous 30 years for Footnote, they can take a deep bow.
30 Forward, Footnote New Zealand Dance
Where and when:
Q Theatre, ends tonight, 8.30pm