Moving experience for students

00:00, Jul 31 2014

UCOL performing arts students are taking their lead from the Greek prophet Orpheus and creating a movement-based performance piece centred on mythology.

The students have worked with Auckland choreographer Matt Gibbons, giving them new tools to use movement to tell the story.

UCOL performing arts tutor Suzy Hawes said the performance was the students' biggest dance assessment of the year and the time frame, of just under three weeks, was a challenge. "The performance is a collaboration between the students, Matt and Jaime [Dorner, programme leader].

"The loose idea and outline came from us but the students are filling in the gaps."

Hawes is creating the music for the piece with singers from Viva Choir, led by Mary Flemmer, lending the voice. Hawes said the music was based on four-part harmonies.

"I have plundered from my archives of music with this one, pulling things from past work and fitting it together with the choir, it is progressing as we go along.


"We have a soprano, alto, tenor and bass/baritone."

Dorner said the point of this performance and working with a choreographer was to work from an exploratory approach and story-telling through movement.

"The students were given a collection of moments and they are working with that to bring it all together."

Performing arts student Aaron McLean said working with Gibbons was a great experience. "It gave us a different perspective and it has been a good learning curve.

"We have been doing new things that we are definitely not used to, a lot of rolling and lifting, that kind of thing."

Working alongside McLean, performing arts student Kelly Nixey agreed that Gibbons' classes were very physical.

"I really enjoyed it and I learnt so much. We had to think about what we wanted to say and how to translate that into movement on stage."

Orpheus and Euridice will be staged at the UCOL Performing Arts Studio from August 6 to 9.

Manawatu Standard