When I speak with dancer Georgie Goater she's walking a white staffy called Manawa up what's left of the Three Kings volcanoes. "She's a big softy," says Goater, of the beast who belongs to one of her flatmates. They're all dancers.
"The reality is we talk a lot about what we're making, about how to stay fit and healthy. There's a lot of support, so it's both inspiring and comfortable."
The performing dancer has a shorter lifespan than other artists. "That was something that did cross my mind when I chose this path in the first place," reflects Goater, a dancer adventurous enough to put her name in the Vitamin S draw, a notorious collection of mostly musicians who bend tempo and tone during their monthly "pool nights" at The Wine Cellar. It's not often the hastily constructed Vitamin S trios include a dancer.
"A few times I've been the physical component. It's beyond music, it's about sound and atmosphere," says Goater, also a fan of James Risby's band Ao Olm. "He's a composer and he works a lot with percussion. He's really good at interpreting the themes of the work while leaving his stamp."
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Today Goater is rehearsing for five hours at the Pitt Street Church Hall for a piece featuring in the Tempo Dance Festival that runs for three weeks from September 30. Her collaborators - fellow Vitamin S pool member, pianist and violinist Hermione Johnson, and choreographer Zahra Killeen-Chance, daughter of well-known painter Richard Killeen - are working on a piece called The Fallen Mystery inspired by film noir.
"Zahra draws on the clear mood, atmosphere and theatricality of those noir actors. We're really trying to capture that on stage along with the absurd, by today's standards, behaviours of the actors."
The Fallen Mystery will be performed at Q Loft on October 10-11.
"The dance audience grows as more people start dancing," says Goater, who thinks the appetite for contemporary dance is increasing. "You see all comers dancing in the dark at No Lights No Lycra events, or people going to the gym for an African dancing class."
She is convinced that participation is driving interest in the art form, despite our inclination to cling to the wall. "You wouldn't want to stand out, would you!" she laughs.
You'll also find Goater performing with the blue-eyed, 1.8m tall Kristian Larsen in Good Evening, Vietnam as part of the PRIME series showcasing new work by experienced choreographers as part of Tempo.
After her rehearsal today you're likely to find Goater checking out up and coming talent performing CoLAB Three at Unitec Dance Studios before she hurriedly packs to perform the premiere of The Fallen Mystery in Christchurch as part of the annual Body Festival of dance and physical theatre. It's a wonder she has the time to walk the dog.