NZ Dance Company a joy to watch
The thought of contemporary dance can conjure up some rather interesting images, either positive or negative. It has a language all of its own, often tied up with preconceptions that make it difficult to understand.
But the brains, and talent, behind the brand new New Zealand Dance Company are determined to break down those barriers. And if the company's glorious weekend debut at Auckland's ASB Theatre is an indicator, we will all be singing from the same songbook in no time.
With five works created, more often than not, by the dancers involved, the first outing for the company was deeply personal - that was clear. It was also a prime example of why this often undervalued art form needs time in the spotlight.
The combination of movement, sounds, lighting and graphics made an absolute impact, and the crowd was certainly swept away by the lush performances.
From the strange fluidity displayed by a cacophony of territorial native birds - perfectly mirroring the often messy communication between us humans - in Trees, Birds Then People by Shona McCullagh, the company's artistic director, through to Justin Haiu's easy-to-adore Release Your Robot, the NZDC covered all the bases.
The stand out though was Sarah Foster-Sproull's work, Human Human God. The longest of the pieces, and featuring all eight dancers, it was a clever look at spirituality and modern society.
With each of the five pieces complimented by a unique soundtrack - including works by the NZTrio, Eden Mulholland and a liver performance by The Electric Boutique, it was a wonderful marriage between art forms.
Along with creating a home for Kiwi talents to stay and work permanently, the NZDC combines some of the most experienced contemporary dancers in the country, like Sproull, with new graduates including the mesmerising Hannah Tasker-Poland, and that freshness seems contagious.
Whether the aim was to give a taster of what this beast called contemporary dance can be, or if it was just to showcase the vast talents within their ranks, the result was a joy to watch. The journey to understanding is well on its way.
- © Fairfax NZ News