This second season of NOW - New Original Works - truly reflects its name, with four confidently emerging new choreographers, expressing some very original concepts, beautifully performed by the talented and extremely hard-working team of five dancers.
Add original musical scores and soundscapes and some excellent and imaginative lighting, for a sparkling, innovative and totally satisfying programme of contemporary dance.
First up is Natalie Maria Clark's Revilery with an ominous score by James Risbey and the dancers clad in tights and T-shirts. This simplicity of costume allows the bodily ticks and kicks and sometimes violent flexibility of the work to show in full. And wearing the dancers' universal uniform gives ownership of the introspective torment and self-consciousness of the piece to the performers themselves. There is no place to hide in the writhing and almost masochistic display, with the sing-song repetition of familiar nursery rhymes adding to its sense of fragile, ecstatic madness.
The second work, choreographed by Jared Hemopo, with music by KOAN Sound, is titled 5IVE. Hemopo's background in hip hop and its street cousins is only subtly visible in this beautifully crafted dance for two men. Kosta Bogoievski and Jeremy Beck tread the delicate path of masculine co-dependancy with exquisite physicality and gentleness, even in the section when one of them appears to sprout a third arm. The lighting by Marcus McShane is very much a third partner here.
Anna Bate's OOMPH gives full reign to the choreographed vocalisation that emerges as something of a theme in the total programme. Her four dancers, clad in customised plastic raincoats, do not just emit, but totally become their characterised sounds, as mouths stretch, tongues dance and breath sounds shake ribcages, spines and limbs. It is no silly chicken dance but does raise the question of what came first, the chicken or the squawk? Expect more from Bate on the use of non-languaged sound as an adjunt to communication.
Gins and Nets by Katharina Waldner, a New Zealand choreographer now based in Britain, completes the programme with a comic view of the great migration from Europe to downunder. It features bunting spelling out useful clues, in case the yodelling doesn't already conjure up the idea of European motherland and cute vintage tableaux, one with a glittery Southern Star on a pole. Great fun!
What: NOW 2015, with Footnote New Zealand Dance
Where and when: Maidment Theatre, July 16-17; The Meteor, Hamilton, Sunday July 19