Dunedin-based choreographer/film maker Daniel Belton has received a string of international awards for his avant-garde short films. His most recent release, Time Dance, a feature of Tempo Dance Festival, shows why he has been winning those accolades.

The first figure we see on the big screen is apparently comprised of tubes and has courtly bearing. He bows and greets invisible others with a grand flourish, apparently at home in inky black space overlaid with heavenly constellations comprised of traceries of dots interconnected by fine lines. By the end of this extraordinary work, 38 minutes later, we have seen many variations on the human form. These range from real dancers performing in real time in the studio and among the strange rock formations at Castle Hill, to their movement sequences treated via 3D animation, edited, abstracted, layered, and intercut into impossible formations.

The most compelling sequences are the "real" ones dancers Alex Leonhartsberger and Verity Jacobsen in an extended Sarabande, and Mathew Roffe and Andrew Miller engaging in martial moves with brandished staves.

The film is beautifully accompanied by the Stroma ensemble, conducted by Hamish McKeich.


The score by Michael Norris shimmers in much the same way as the film, and is derived from a Baroque dance suite by Bach. At times the musicians take your eye away from the film, as they are fascinating to watch.

A live AV presentation of a much more abstract Belton film, Soma Songs, follows after a short break.

The Prime Cuts Showcase presents five works exploring themes as diverse as shaman ceremonial (Geoff Gilson), liquid perception (Christina Houghton), the boundary between life and death (Janine Parkes), and the impact of oceanic rhythms and characteristics on the people of Guahan/Guam (Ojeya Cruz Banks). Clear audience favourite is Meme (Skin) by Kelly Nash, exploring the eccentricities of five charismatic local dancers as they interact under the influence of diverse musical tracks.

Prime Cuts is performed again tonight at 8pm.

What: Time Dance/Soma Songs, with Good Company Arts and Stroma, Tempo Dance Festival
Where: Q Theatre

What: Prime Cuts Showcase, Tempo Dance Festival
Where: Q Theatre