A short work by one of the country's most revered dancer/choreographers is a surprise addition to this year's Tempo Dance Festival programme.

Arts Laureate Douglas Wright, whose last full-length dance work was seen two years ago at the New Zealand Festival in Wellington, announced in 2016 that he planned to retire. However, Wright was persuaded by his friend and gallerist Michael Lett to make a dance to be performed in Lett's eponymous art gallery.

"I said no initially but then I had an idea for the piece about 18 months ago so I changed my mind and said yes," says Wright.

"I don't like to talk about what a work is about because it's not about something; it is some-thing but it comprises elements of James Joyce's reading from Finnegans Wake, Tuvan throat singing and some dialogue."


M-Nod features dancer Sean MacDonald and was seen by Tempo's artistic director Carrie Rae Cunningham at a private rehearsal before its recent performance at Michael Lett Gallery.

Cunningham says she knew the work had to have a longer life and sought Wright's consent to include it in this year's annual dance festival. Wright says he's happy to have the 14-minute dance as part of a double-bill, called Between Two, which also includes a piece by choreographer Kelly Nash.

The patron of the 15-year-old Tempo Festival, he says he's not had a dance — apart from dances he made long ago for Limbs Dance Company — on the programme.

"I feel really thrilled that it's going to be there."

Announcing on Wednesday evening the full Tempo programme, Cunningham noted the number of artists and companies coming from outside Auckland to take part in some 60 events.

Visiting artists include LA Contemporary Dance Company, who make their New Zealand debut with a show called Adaptation, and the predominantly Wellington-based Muscle Mouth led by choreographer Ross McCormack while two dancers from Australia's Bangarra Dance Theatre join local company Atamira for its show, Kotahi. The JDK (Just Dance Krazy) and Barbarian Productions also travel from Wellington.

Tempo will also include a celebration of BoyzDance2, the Sandringham-based dance studio that turns 20 this year and, in those two decades, has produced some of our leading contemporary and hip hop male dancers.

What: Tempo Dance Festival
Where & when: Q Theatre, October 4 — 14