WHAT: Undercurrent, Footnote New Zealand Dance
WHERE/WHEN: ASB Waterfront Theatre October 31. The tour continues in Christchurch (November 10) and Wellington (November 12).
REVIEWER: Raewyn White
Two boldly contrasting dance works premiere in UNDERCURRENT by Footnote NZ Dance, currently on a national tour which celebrates the company's 35th year of performing.
Choreographed by US-based Japanese artist Kota Yamazaki and Aucklander Rose Philpott these dances were rapturously received by a full house ASB Waterfront Theatre. Yamazaki's absorbingly zen Fog, Nerves, Future, Ocean, Hello (echoes) is inspired by Wellington landscapes and the unpredictability of human nature. There's much to watch and be absorbed by as the five dancers come and go in solos, duets and group sequences. Each has their own distinct movement and characteristics which at times are exchanged with another dancer or morph into unison patterns across the stage. Every now and then, a dancer reveals an aspect of their life – standing on a wharf in the rain, soaked to the skin, or the process of merging your body with the floor to become an object to see how that changes your sense of the world.
The abstract set recalls Wellington harbour on a moonless night, with tiny lights marking the curve of the foreshore, and the hills floating above. Jesse Austin Stewart's multi-layered sound score creates an environment which is echoed in the dancing, with sections that recall earthquakes, skateboards in Cuba Mall, and watching the fireworks over the harbour.
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Rose Philpott's Dry Spell bursts onto the stage and quickly builds multi-layered images of a hedonistically driven dress-up party night for a bunch of 20-somethings. With mostly loud, driving music from Eden Mulholland, extravagant celebration is the order of the night. There's wild dancing, self-indulgent solos, constant switching of partners, gossip, speculation and paranoia. The extreme characters embodied by the dancers are perfect for the occasion.
The Footnote five, Rosie Tapsell, Oliver Carruthers, Sebatian Geilings, Cheyanne Teka and Nadiyah Akbar, received a standing ovation for their spirited performance of two challenging works which reflect our collective experience of pandemic and uncertainty.