The New Zealand Dance Firm


The Geography of an Archipelago, In Transit, Sigan

Reviewed October 8, 2019

Babs Asper Theatre, Ottawa

(Repeat efficiency October 9, 7:30 p.m.)

For the primary time ever, Ottawa audiences have the privilege of witnessing a small and spirited rising 21st century dance firm out of New Zealand, that includes Māori dancers and choreographers.

Of explicit word is In Transit, a captivating multi-dimensional work of dance, mild, sound and pictures projected onto the again of the stage in addition to on movable screens. Created by Māori multidisciplinary artist Louise Potiki Bryant, In Transit is predominantly darkish, with flashes of scarlet and plum lighting, suggesting different worlds. There’s a sense of being in a pure world of chook and creature sounds, in addition to a way of the weather of air, earth and wind, implied by means of the bizarre soundscape created by Bryant’s husband musician Paddy Free (who’s the audio visible designer for this piece) and the exhalations and staccato actions of the six dancers. The projections of human and pure pictures add a fourth dimension to the dance.

The hypnotic mixture of music contains an extract from the sound rating for The Mild Dances, that includes Reo, and the respected Māori singer Moana Maniapoto. A ravishing distinction is ready up in a protracted phrase of deep persistent drumming towards a delicate lilting voice.

There appears to be a narrative being informed, nevertheless it’s very summary and indeterminate. It might be mythological, or one thing being remembered. All through, some dancers carry lengthy sticks, that seem like symbolic or gadgets of connection, and are generally balanced on the top or different components of the physique.

In Transit is assuredly the gem of this system, however the opening work, The Geography of an Archipelago by Stephen Shropshire, is a becoming introduction. From the start, we really feel aware about a personal ritual as a trio of dancers, wearing black and below dim lighting, carry out gradual, synchronized actions, whereas musician Rob Thorne faucets out pure sounds on a standard Māori instrument known as a taonga pūoro.

The dance is exclusive, with an emphasis on patterns created by naked arms, calves and ft, in juxtaposition with grey-toned shapes fashioned on the ground by sharp floodlights. Typically loud percussive rhythm drives the motion, whereas at different instances, a droning sound weighs down the performers as they trudge below the beam of a handheld mild.

The work takes a sudden flip when a warbled model of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor) accompanies the dancers, one after the other, remodeling a ritualistic efficiency that appears to hold the load of historical past right into a self-reflective enactment. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a dance carried out to the Moonlight Sonata, one of the vital highly effective, mournful, mysterious compositions – phenomenal actually, nonetheless 200 years after its creation –finest absorbed with one’s eyes closed.

Ending this system is a piece for 4 dancers by Korean choreographer and composer KIM Jae Duk, who’s at present a resident choreographer at T.H.E Dance Firm in Singapore and creative director of Trendy Desk Dance Firm. He prefers to name himself an “expresser” fairly than a choreographer, within the concord between dance and music.

Sigan, nevertheless, doesn’t current as a peaceable marriage between motion and sound, however fairly as a combative conflict amongst performers. The dancers, in black, have interaction on a white ground, below the halo of a giant white disc, or within the stark beams of harsh lighting. Typically the dancers “struggle” in a hoop of sunshine or pose immobile in single poses.

The disturbing sound of a horn, rising ever louder like an unheeded automotive alarm, dominates the atmosphere for a really very long time originally, adopted by knocking, hammering, lengthy blasts of brass devices, persistent tapping, scraping steel, banging, loud drumming, a single string word, a high-pitched whine or a collection of repetitive gong resonances and even sudden breaks within the accompaniment all collectively. The extreme soundscape, which options conventional Korean devices, really interferes with the efficiency as it’s exhausting to not separate audio from visible.

The New Zealand Dance Firm is a younger modern dance firm out of Auckland, solely in its eighth 12 months. With artist/dancer/arts enterprise developer Shona McCullagh at its helm, the corporate has been presenting excessive calibre programming within the South Pacific and Europe, drawing on choreographers not solely from Down Beneath, but in addition from South Korea and Holland. This 12 months marks their first foray into North America, acting on the Nationwide Arts Centre stage in Ottawa this week.

“Dance,” says McCullagh, chief government and creative director of NZDC, “is the fantastically truthful language of dwelling.” Co-founder of the corporate, McCullagh has labored as a choreographer for some 35 years, together with devising dance sequences for the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. She is acknowledged for her companies to bop and her movies, through which she integrates stay efficiency.

A production still from In Transit showing a dancer interacting with projected images.



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