Renowned New Zealand artist Richard Killeen is teaming up with the country's longest-running contemporary dance company — but the 72-year-old is quick to reassure he won't take to the stage.

Instead, Killeen will leave the dancing to Footnote's Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Tyler Carney, Joshua Faleatua, Anu Khapung and Adam Naughton, who appear in a work choreographed by his own daughter, Zahra Killeen-Chance.

It is the first time father and daughter have collaborated, but Killeen-Chance says growing up in a household where she was surrounded by art-making taught her to look at the world in ways that have influenced the way she makes dance.

"Dance was always my thing and I always thought I would be a dancer, make clothing or do sculpting," she says. "But the art around me provided a way of looking at the world, and at objects, and that has shaped the way I like to make dance. It's quite specific…"


She's created Elliptical Fictions for Footnote's dance double bill, Balancing Point. It includes movements often found in martial arts that she learned during a three-month residency at the Taipei Artist Village in Taiwan and uses music by Wellington composer Emi Pogoni.

Because Killeen-Chance wanted the dance to have strong visual impact, she asked her artist father to supply images that could be used as a backdrop. Killeen was only too happy to oblige, but says that's pretty much where his input ends.

"Let's just say I'm happy to help in the ways that I can but dance has a completely different aesthetic and Zahra is very movement orientated and I'm not," he says.

Elliptical Fictions, described as highlighting continual shifts between the forces of mind and body, is one of two works on Footnote's dance double bill. The other is by Australian choreographer James O'Hara and Eliza Sanders and uses music by Kiwi songstress Nadia Reid. Having settled on the Wellington's south coast, O'Hara and Sanders wanted to create an "ode to home" looking at the elation and comfort having a sense of home can bring.

Footnote general manager Richard Aindow says the collaborations are exactly what the dance company wants to encourage.

"The company attracts top local and international choreographers to give their dancers innovative and exciting pieces to work with, and draws upon other artistic talent to give deep textural layers to their performances," he says. "We've been successfully experimenting with new forms of collaboration this year in our Search Engine season, so for Balancing Point we wanted to keep pushing and see how far we could go."

Started in Wellington in 1985, Footnote tours dance works around New Zealand and internationally, having performed in the United States, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland and France in recent years.

What: Footnote Dance Company — Balancing Point
Where & when: Rangatira at Q Theatre, Tuesday, August 28 and Wednesday, August 29