Far South expedition turned into dance

17:00, May 09 2014
red dancer
INTERPRETIVE DANCE: Java Dance Company performer Emma Coppersmith at Trevor Daly Music Works in Dee St as part of the Southland Festival of the Arts.

It will probably come as quite a shock to discover that Gareth Morgan has inspired a dance, but Java Dance Company artistic director Sascha Copland says it is true.

Down Beneath Below, choreographed by Copland and on tomorrow afternoon at the SIT Centrestage Theatre, was inspired by a Morgan Foundation 2012 Our Far South expedition, which resulted in a group of New Zealanders exploring the area south of Stewart Island: The Sub-antarctic Islands all the way to the great white waste itself.

Copland says Java Dance was given all the notes and footage from the trip, and from there Down Beneath Below was born, a show aimed at 4- to 14-year-olds but with truly something for everyone - not just the kids.

"We had to make it work on a few different levels," she said.

Two penguins, a sea lion and an albatross rap, battle and dance their way through a playful, physical hour. Mikey Gudgeon plays Squeak the penguin, a real attention seeker. Emma Coppersmith plays Albie the Albatross, who hasn't yet gotten to grips with flying. Sarah Gatzonis plays Penny the Penguin, Squeak's sister, who is full of crazy ideas.

The show is performed in and around the audience, who almost form a sea around the dancers.


"People respond so well to dance if it invites them in," Copland said.

"It won't be like anything you've seen before."

Java Dance is also performing 1000 Smiles - The Window Series with dancers from city dance school La Muse, at Trevor Daly Music Works today from 10.30am to 1.30pm.


When: Tomorrow at 4pm

Where: SIT Centrestage Theatre, Don St

Tickets: $26, $20 and $10.

Book at Ticketdirect.

The Southland Times