It was October, 2012 and behind-the-scenes at the now-closed Musgrove Studio, dancer and choreographer Lara Fischel-Chisholm and playwright/actor Tom Sainsbury were wondering what they were playing at.

They'd made a show - as they do - and were introducing Auckland to their comedy dance troupe Dynamotion and "dacting". Definition? A show with a clear narrative told through dance.

As they waited to go on stage, Fischel-Chisholm and Sainsbury wondered would anyone turn up and, if they did, would they get it? Would it be funny, as they intended? Would Auckland's dance community be offended and think they were taking the mickey?

Questions, questions, questions and four years on, some definitive answers. Dynamotion now calls itself Auckland's favourite comedy dance troupe and, with glowing reviews and sell-out seasons of four full-length shows, can rightly lay claim to the title - even if they are, more or less, the only comic dance troupe to date (it's possible no one has been brave enough to try to take them on).

Last year, Dynamotion was included in the Tempo Dance Festival, but Fischel-Chisholm admits she still worries about whether "the establishment" frowns on what they're doing.

"It's like you have your most off-the-wall idea - the one that, out of all of them, you think will never, ever work - and it turns out to be your most successful," she says. "No one is telling us if they do frown upon it but if they did feel like we were taking the piss, I would feel a bit worried."

Sainsbury, lolling on a chaise lounge before a rehearsal begins, reassures her you simply have to have a sense of humour about these things and try not to worry.

Having completed a trilogy of works that began with Terror Island, they're now putting the boogie into our nights with Mia Blonde in Ice Dagger. They've got 12 dancers - a mix of troupe regulars and newcomers - paying homage to James Bond films, but bringing a feminist twist by making the lead character a woman.

Olivia Tennet, once Tuesday Warner on Shortland Street and now one of our most-sought after "dactors", plays Mia Blonde who'll toy with a range of - to use Sainsbury's words - beefcake men.

Not only are there more dancers - some numbers have had to be re-worked so everyone fits on the Basement stage - but better costumes and more elaborate locations.

They'll dance their way around the world, including the Swiss Alps because Bond always seems to end up somewhere alpine which requires him to ski like an Olympic champion.

"But it's an ice skating scene instead which will be interesting because there's no ice and no skates," says Fischel-Chisholm, adding that it will be imbued with the spirit of Torvill and Dean's 1984 Bolero performance which remains possibly the most fondly remembered moment of a winter Olympics.

While they're more attuned to what they're now creating, the process remains the same. It always starts with a name and a film genre they want to honour. With the Terror series, it was 1970s B grade horror, 90s sci-fi films and road-trip thrillers; Bond, they say, is an obvious one to lovingly parody.


Because a number of troupe regulars have had no formal dance training, Fischel-Chisholm reckons the shows appeal to dancers and non-dancers alike especially those who are too shy to strut their stuff in public.

"The number of people who have said to me that they dance all the time at home but never in public, not even on a Saturday night at the pub, because they don't think they're good enough is really tragic," she says. "Hopefully seeing us will make them think twice about that, that dance should be a fun thing to do and it doesn't matter what you look like."

What: Dynamotion - Mia Blonde in Ice Dagger
Where & when: Basement Theatre, August 2 - 13