Weird dude energy aplenty

22:47, Feb 15 2012

It was a blog named Weird Dude Energy that inspired Auckland dancer Josh Rutter to create his latest production that is part of the New Performance Festival starting tomorrow.

The piece titled Dance Like A Butterfly Dream Boy takes place inside a giant, plastic dodecahedron inflated by fans and references everything from commune-living to skiing.

"I just want to get a bit of weird dude energy out there, but it's kind of like an extended initiation ritual," Rutter says.

"First we have to find our totem animal, then we have to do some training and then after that, well I don't want to give too much away, but there is some fighting and some drinking."

It was after he started boxing training a few years ago that Rutter started thinking about the mindset involved with picking up a new skill.

"I find the social situations within the training really interesting, all the unspoken rules about how you have to behave. And it's the same for any kind of training system, which led me into thinking about any sort of situation where you have someone giving knowledge to a group of people teaching them a system like pilates or yoga or Zumba or skiing.


"People put a lot of time into bettering themselves, and sometimes you have to wonder what for? When you are training, what are you training for? So I'm trying to make these situations that reference a lot of different, strange things that people do.

"I got interested in mixing up lots of stuff to try and make a body unrecognisable. Part of what I do with my work is exposing the body by confusing it a lot."

He describes the bubble the work is performed in as a sculptor that helps reinforce these themes with its nod to sweat lodges and "alternative living situations".

Rutter started his career at circus school in Christchurch, but soon realised his heart wasn't in it and enrolled in a dance course at Unitec.

"I didn't like the idea of doing a repetitive act a lot of times; I was more interested in exploring different things."

Since then, he has created works with Cat Ruka, Tokyo-based artist Yuki Maruyama and Dave Hall and has recently toured New York, Berlin, France and the Netherlands.

He says the goal is to take this latest work to Wellington and Christchurch, but says since this is the production's third incarnation, it might change its form along the way.

The New Performance Festival is just that - Auckland's newest festival featuring 19 acts. It celebrates artists who mix genres and mediums - non-conformists who often work outside of mainstream theatres - and encourages audiences to re-evaluate their perfections of theatre.

New Performance Festival   

Aotea Centre venues, February 17-25

Dance Like A Butterfly Dream Boy

Rooftop, Level 5, Aotea Centre, February 22 and 23

Tickets from The Edge.

Auckland Now